ADB to Back Bangladesh Road Connectivity and Energy Trade
17 February 2017
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to assist Bangladesh in its efforts to improve transport and energy connectivity. Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB, affirmed that ADB is supporting Bangladesh in its goal of becoming a developed country by 2041.
Mr. Zhang was in Bangladesh to attend the Asia Pacific Business Forum and meet with government policymakers on 09 February 2017. He also visited Jessore and Iswardi to see ADB-funded projects. "ADB is expected to [commit] $1.8 billion to $2 billion worth of assistance [to Bangladesh],” he said. Bangladesh envisages loans of $8 billion over the next five years.
Mr. Zhang listed private sector investment, improving governance, easing the cost of doing business, boosting financing for small and medium enterprises, and improving the capital market as some of the challenges Bangladesh needs to address to spur investment and growth.
ADB supports cross-border and regional power connectivity under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program. It is set to approve a project to build transmission lines that will help Bangladesh trade hydropower with Bhutan and India.
ADB, under the SASEC program, is also supporting road connectivity in the region. It is helping Bangladesh improve infrastructure to boost connectivity within the region and with Southeast Asia, East Asia, and west Asia. SASEC supports the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger and Cargo Vehicular Traffic, an agreement that has been ratified in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The SASEC program is involved in customs modernization and other trade facilitation measures so that the time and cost of crossing spent borders is also cut.
Mr. Zhang also said that ADB will continue to support Bangladesh in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and minimizing climate change impact.