The World Bank Vice-President for South Asia, Hartwig Schafer has reaffirmed the lender’s commitment to Bangladesh’s resilient and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his stay in Dhaka, Schafer met the finance minister and commended the government’s measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and its focus on an inclusive economic recovery.
“The resilience of Bangladesh’s people and the economy is striking. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the country hard, but the government’s proactive measures have largely contained the virus and the economy has started to turn around,” said Schafer.
“The World Bank is committed to helping Bangladesh remain on a sustainable growth path, which will require timely policy actions to build strong public institutions, a robust private sector and conducive business climate, and a skilled labor force, and at the same time focus on climate resilience,” he added.
During the visit, Schafer also met Salman F. Rahman, Advisor to the Prime Minister; Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank; Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, NBR Chairman; as well as senior government officials, representatives from the private sector, and development partners.
The World Bank Group is beginning the preparation of its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Bangladesh, which will guide its support to the country from 2023-2027.
This entails a robust consultation process with a broad range of stakeholders in government, the private sector, and civil society, and with development partners.
“Bangladesh is an inspiring development success story,” said Schafer. “As the country works to become an upper-middle-income country by 2031, the World Bank will be there every step of the way on a path to economic growth that is greener, more resilient, and more inclusive for the people of Bangladesh.”
Schafer also visited two World Bank-financed project sites. In Bhairab, he met micro-entrepreneurs who are using clean technologies in their shoe-making businesses.
They are among the 40,000 micro-enterprises who are gaining access to microfinance to grow their small business and boost their income while adopting greener and cleaner production practices. In Ashuganj, he visited a modern steel silo complex construction site. The WB is supporting the construction of eight modern steel silo complexes in Bangladesh. These silos can store 535,500 tonnes of rice and wheat for up to three years while retaining their nutritional quality.
Schafer also joined an event, jointly organised by the ministry of road transport and bridges, BRAC and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to promote road safety awareness and UN-standard helmets that are affordable and certified for motorized two-wheeler riders.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.
In this nearly 50-year partnership, the World Bank has committed more than $35 billion in Independent Development Association (IDA) financing in the form of grants and concessional credits to help the country tackle its development challenges.
With $13.8 billion in financing for 51 ongoing programs, Bangladesh is among the top recipients of IDA financing. The WB is also Bangladesh’s largest development partner.