March 5, 2024, 7:50 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-11-28 18:20:51 BdST

ADB to provide Bangladesh with over $1bn in loans for five projects

Bangladesh has inked loan agreements worth more than $1 billion with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund five initiatives focused on energy efficiency, vaccine production, clean water, sanitation services, and the enhancement of the Dhaka-Northwest International Road Corridor.

Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky, secretary of the Economic Relations Division, and the ADB's Country Director for Bangladesh Edimon Ginting signed the agreements in Dhaka on Tuesday.

As part of the agreements, the ADB has approved a credit package worth $200 million for energy efficiency through smart metering, as well as supporting the transition to clean energy solutions, according to the Manila-based lender.

“The Smart Metering Energy Efficiency Improvement Project will support the government’s efforts to reduce losses by installing 650,000 smart prepaid gas meters (SPGMs) for residential customers, primarily in South Dhaka and Narayanganj," the ADB said.

The project is expected to help Bangladesh meet its climate mitigation targets by reducing around 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Another $336.5 million will be used to bolster domestic vaccine production, therapeutics, and diagnostics manufacturing capacity. The fund will also help the national regulator shore up vaccine supplies in the country.

The third loan worth $90 million aims to develop infrastructure and systems that will provide clean drinking water and sanitation services in the Chattogram Hill Tracts.

“The improved services will reduce the risks of water-borne diseases, enhance health and economic opportunities, and benefit women who spend considerable productive time daily collecting water and managing wastes,” said Ginting.

The Chattogram Hill Tracts Inclusive and Resilient Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project will develop water treatment plants with a total capacity of 44 million litres per day in Bandarban, Lama, and Rangamati towns, as well as 24 km of transmission lines and a new water distribution network spanning 340 km.

The ADB will also provide $100 million in loans to improve computer science, software engineering, and information technology programmes at Bangladeshi three universities.

“This project will help accelerate fourth industrial revolution technology adoption, realise the vision of digital Bangladesh, and enable the country to reap the demographic dividend by creating digitally qualified young human resources and entrepreneurs,” Ginting said.

The final $300 million agreement aims to help upgrade the Dhaka-Northwest international trade corridor in Bangladesh.

The assistance forms the third tranche of a $1.2 billion loan for the Second South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Dhaka-Northwest Corridor Road Project, according to the ADB.

“The project will also help accelerate the economic development of the area along the corridor and facilitate subregional trade with Bhutan, Nepal, and India,” said Ginting.

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