World Bank approves $292 mn for Bangladesh

World Bank approves $292 mn for Bangladesh

Washington: In order to improve infrastructure and education in Bangladesh, the World bank today approved an additional $292 million for the country.

While $257 million would provide long term finance for infrastructure through Investment Promotion and Financing Facility (IPFF) Project, another $35 million is for bringing disadvantaged and poor children back to school through the Reaching Out-of-School Children project (ROSC), a media statement said.

Noting that Bangladesh has an enormous investment need in infrastructure, Zafrul Islam, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh, said, “We expect this additional financing to boost infrastructure funding by over $400 million, leveraging about 100% private resources."

It will be used to increase infrastructure supply in the power sector - renewable energy and energy savings - as well as bridges, ports, container terminals, water treatment plants, waste disposal projects, and others, he said.

The additional financing to the IPFF project, amounting to about five times the original project that has been operating since 2006, will build and expand on the project’s successful experience in the power sector, the World Bank said.

It has helped boost the national electricity generation capacity by 5% by adding 178 MW electricity to the national grid and two special economic zones Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) and Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ).

The World Bank also extended more support to the ROSC, a project which since 2004 has helped enroll over 500,000 out-of-school children through more than 15,000 Ananda Schools (Learning Centers) in 60 upazilas with high incidence of poverty and low enrollment.

“Bangladesh has made significant progress in education over the past two decades," Islam said. “With nearly 18 million children enrolled in about 80,000 primary schools in the country, the primary gross enrollment rate is over 90%. Importantly, gender parity in primary education has been achieved," he said.

“Despite this impressive progress, considerable challenges remain, for example, high drop-out rates and limited access for the poorest children. That’s why this additional financing to ROSC is so important for the poorest children. It has already demonstrated that it can reduce the number of out-of-school children, especially disadvantaged children," Islam said.