Bangladesh signs $1.11bn financing deals with World Bank for resilient, inclusive growth

The agreements involve early childhood development, secondary education, riverbank protection, urban health and gas distribution

Published : 23 Nov 2023, 05:53 PM
Updated : 23 Nov 2023, 05:53 PM

The Bangladesh government and the World Bank have signed five financing agreements worth over $1.11 billion to help the country achieve resilient and inclusive growth through improving early childhood development, secondary education, riverbank protection, urban primary health and gas distribution efficiency.

Economic Relations Secretary Sharifa Khan and Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, signed the deals in Dhaka on Thursday, the global lender said in a  statement.

The projects are:

– The $210 million Bangladesh Enhancing Investments and Benefits for Early Years Project will help improve early childhood development by providing cash transfers and counselling services to about 1.7 million pregnant women and mothers of children under 4 years of age in vulnerable households.

– The $300 million Learning Acceleration in Secondary Education Operation Project will help strengthen secondary education by improving learning outcome and teaching quality.

The project will introduce complementary online learning blended with in-class education to help recover from learning losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve preparedness to future shocks.

The programme will also provide stipends to 8 million vulnerable students to reduce dropout rates and ensure 5,000 schools have active sexual harassment and prevention committees in place.

– The $102 million Jamuna River Sustainable Management Project 1 will help improve riverbank protection and navigability in the Jamuna River, protecting about 2,500 hectares of land from riverbank erosion and flooding.

It will save thousands of people from displacement and safeguard their livelihoods and assets. It will improve navigation channels with adequate depth that can accommodate large cargo vessels year-round and revive inland water transport and trade.

– The $200 million Urban Health, Nutrition and Population Project will improve primary healthcare services for treatment, prevention and referral for common illnesses including mosquito-borne diseases like dengue in Dhaka North and South City Corporations, Chattogram City Corporation, and Savar and Tarabo municipalities.

It will also support mosquito control, medical waste management, and behavioural change communication. It will also help improve antenatal services for women, with a target of over 250,000 women receiving at least four checkups during pregnancy. It will support hypertension screening and follow-up of about 1.3 million adults.

– The $300 million Gas Sector Efficiency Improvement and Carbon Abatement Project will help improve the efficiency of gas distribution and end-use through pre-paid metering systems and reduce methane emissions along the natural gas value chain.

It will install more than 1.2 million prepaid gas metres in Dhaka and Rajshahi Division. Prepaid gas metres and advanced monitoring systems will help optimise natural gas end-use, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and lower gas bills for households and industrial users.

These projects are aligned with the Eighth Five-Year Plan 2021-2025 and support the country’s graduation from least developed status in 2026 and the government’s vision of a developed Bangladesh by 2041, said Secretary Sharifa.

World Bank Country Director Seck said these projects will help prepare our children for a brighter future while improving resilience to climate change.

The credits are from the World Bank’s International Development Association, or IDA.

Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA programme totaling $16.46 billion in 57 projects.