Dhaka, Jan 24: World Bank (WB) managing director for Operations Axel van Trotsenburg on Tuesday reaffirmed the World Bank’s strong support for Bangladesh to help achieve its vision of upper-middle income status by 2031.
He came to Dhaka on Saturday on a three-day visit, marking the 50 years of partnership between the World Bank and Bangladesh.
He said that Bangladesh’s development and growth trajectory was an inspiration for many countries, according to a press release.
‘It has tackled many development challenges in remarkable ways. It has reduced poverty in record time and has played a leading and innovative role in disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change,’ said van Trotsenburg.
‘The World Bank has been a steadfast partner for the past five decades and remains committed to help Bangladesh achieve green and inclusive economic growth and development.’
On Monday, van Trotsenburg met prime minister Sheikh Hasina and commended Bangladesh’s role in climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness, and the Prime Minister’s strong leadership as the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum during 2020-2022.
‘Despite being severely affected by climate change, Bangladesh has emerged as a global leader in climate resilience and disaster preparedness by taking a bold and innovative approach reducing cyclone-related deaths more than 100-fold since 1971,’ he added.
The World Bank helped Bangladesh build and rehabilitate more than 700 km of coastal embankments, 1,000 cyclone shelters that also operate as schools, and 550 km of paved roads that improve access for surrounding villages.
On Tuesday, van Trotsenburg visited a World Bank-financed cyclone shelter that serves as a primary school during normal weather and met with the local communities.
He visited the Kutupalong Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and thanked Bangladesh for its generosity to provide shelter to about 1.1 million displaced Rohingya people. The World Bank has leveraged $590 million in grant financing to help Bangladesh meet to the basic needs of the Rohingya people and the host communities.
During the visit, he also met the finance minister, senior government officials, and development partners and discussed Bangladesh’s development priorities. He was accompanied by World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, Martin Raiser.
‘The World Bank is helping Bangladesh navigate through challenges of global shocks, including the impacts of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and address barriers to higher growth,’ Trotsenburg said.
‘We are committed to supporting Bangladesh in its goal to become an upper-middle income country by 2031. For this, we will help create more private sector jobs, improve social and economic inclusion, and reduce climate vulnerability.’
Over the 50-year partnership, the World Bank has committed about $39 billion in International Development Association financing in the form of grants, interest-free loans, and concessional credits to help the country.
Currently Bangladesh has the largest ongoing IDA program, and the World Bank is Bangladesh’s largest development partner.