WB finalises plans to lend $2.7b for investment in Bangladesh

The World Bank is finalising plans to lend Bangladesh a sum of $2.7 billion for investment purpose, its president Jim Young Kim said.

"...Through the (proposed) $2.7 billion of new lending, we hope to again, just engage very directly with the government and with all of the other players to take Bangladesh to even lower levels of poverty," Kim said.

"We had many other projects going with the government at the same time. We are now just finalising plans to sign agreements for $2.7 billion dollars' worth of new investments in Bangladesh," the World Bank president said.

"Our relationship with the government of Bangladesh has always been good, and will continue to be good. There was the one project where we had trouble with and where we disagreed. But that was just one project," he said.

Kim was speaking at a round-table with media representatives from eight countries -- India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Tunisia.

Describing Bangladesh as a "very important" partner for the World Bank, Kim said the World Bank has zero tolerance for corruption and its stance on this will always remain the same, irrespective of the nature of governments and countries.

"And, just like in the Bangladesh case, because there has been a problem with corruption, doesn't mean that we break off the relationship. We continue to work with Bangladesh very closely," he said.

Stating that Bangladesh has had some very, very impressive results, he said the poverty level has gone down dramatically from 1990 and even during 2000 to 2010.

"There's been significant reduction in levels of extreme poverty in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a lot of challenges, just like many other developing countries.

Bangladesh needs to improve power generation," he added.

"I think that again, Bangladesh is another country that has to make use of this democratic dividend, invest in the education of its young people and I think that we really have to face up to the enormity of the challenge of adaptation to climate change in Bangladesh that so much of the land area will be flooded if the seas continue to rise," he said.

Growth has been over 6 per cent for the last five years.

"So we think Bangladesh in many ways has done well. But it faces many of the same challenges that other developing economies face," he added.

The World Bank President expressed concern about adaptation to climate change.

"Some of the illustrations that you can see online about what will happen with very small even, changes in the sea level, could be really quite devastating. And so adaptation will be the key. We're also ready to work with Bangladesh on adaptation to climate change," Kim said.

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