The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reaffirmed its plans to strengthen partnership and boost assistance to Bangladesh, said the Manila-based lender yesterday.
Shixin Chen, vice-president of the ADB, reaffirmed the lender's commitment for Bangladesh during a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office on Tuesday.
Chen came to Dhaka on February 11 for a three-day visit. He interacted with the people sheltered in the Rohingya camps, visited project sites and the site office under the ADB's emergency assistance project in Cox's Bazar.
Chen held discussions with Mashiur Rahman, economic affairs adviser to the prime minister, and Monowar Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Relations Division and ADB's alternate governor. Bangladesh has made huge strides in reducing poverty and sustained average growth of more than 6.5 percent over the last decade, achieving a record 7.9 percent GDP growth last year, Chen said in a statement.
“The main challenges ahead are to increase investments—both public and private—to close infrastructure gaps and to invest in human capital with a focus on boosting skills of the labour force.”
Chen assured officials of ADB's commitment to remain a dependable partner of Bangladesh, responding flexibly to the country's evolving needs.
ADB's current country partnership strategy for 2016–2020 aims at a programme of more than $8 billion, compared with $5 billion during 2011–2015. The ADB's operations will address infrastructure development, rural infrastructure, skills development, and climate and disaster resilience.
The lender said it would continue to support Bangladesh's regional cooperation and integration efforts, particularly in electricity-sharing with neighbours and developing regional transport corridors.
In 2018, the ADB committed a record $2.15 billion in assistance to the country. This included a grant of $100 million as the first phase of a projected $200 million support for the immediate needs of people sheltered in the camps in Cox's Bazar.
The project is supporting the improvement of water supply and sanitation, disaster risk management, sustainable energy supply, and access roads. Chen also visited the National Load Dispatch Center under the Southwest Transmission Expansion Project and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services under the Skills for Employment Investment Programme.