South Korea will provide $700 million loan to Bangladesh under Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) in next five years to implement a series of development projects.
More than a dozen projects in health, infrastructure, digital investigation, highway safety and counter trafficking sectors will be implemented with the fund from 2021 to 2025.Korean Ambassador in Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun and Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) of Bangladesh jointly announced the decision at the ODA Projects Review Meeting held virtually on Tuesday.
Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea have been discussing the plan since last year.
Upon the completion of necessary domestic procedures, the both nations will sign a Framework Agreement which contains detailed conditions and the list of potential projects to be considered, said the Korean embassy.
At the meeting, the Korean embassy and ERD reviewed a number of other ongoing and new development assistance projects between the two governments, including those under implementation through Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Bangladesh is a priority development partner of South Korea and the second-largest recipient of Korea’s EDCF loans.
Korea has provided $1.24 billion EDCF loan and $172 million in grants through KOICA since 1991 in various sectors, including public administration, vocational training and education, transport, ICT-based communication, public administration, water management, and public health.At the meeting, the embassy also introduced Knowledge Sharing Programme (KSP), a platform for development cooperation.
This aims to share knowledge with development partners and develop a solid foundation for the expansion of economic and political cooperation.
Meanwhile, the embassy recommended the ERD to consider ways to improve the efficiency of development cooperation, including the facilitation of customs clearance and tax exemption on grant equipment and items in accordance with the Framework Agreement for grant aid between the two governments. The meeting was also attended officials from ERD, Korea EXIM Bank Bangladesh Office, KOICA Bangladesh Office, and KSP manager of Korea Development Institute. The major projects under EDCF and KOICA assistance include Establishment of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and Integrated Maritime Navigation System (IMNS), Bhandal Jhuri Water Supply Project, Establishment of a Multi-disciplinary and Super-Specialized Hospital at BSMMU and Procurement of 150 Nos.
They also include Meter Gauge Passenger Carriages, Procurement of 20 Nos. Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives, Procurement of 20 Nos. Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives, Establishment of Upazila ICT Training and Resource Centers for Education, COVID-19 Emergency Response Programme, Menstrual Health Management of Adolescent Girls and Women in Cox’s Bazar and Safer Cyberspace for Digital Bangladesh: Enhancing National & Regional Digital Investigation Capability of Bangladesh Police.
Besides, there are projects like Improving the Reliability and Safety in National Highway Corridors of Bangladesh by Introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems, Better Employment with competency-based Skills Training (BEST), Capacity Building of Universities in Bangladesh to promote youth entrepreneurship and Strengthening Ability of Fire Emergency Response.
The projects include Eye Health Promotion and Prevention of Blindness in Bangladesh and Comprehensive Counter Trafficking Programme to address Human Trafficking in Bangladesh.