July 24, 2024, 5:56 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-05-02 18:20:50 BdST

PM seeks WB support for smooth transition, future infrastructure development

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought enhanced World Bank (WB) cooperation for Bangladesh's smooth transition towards a developing nation, subsequent graduation as upper-middle income country and implementation of its Delta Plan-2100.

"Bangladesh is preparing for smooth and sustainable graduation from the UN LDC status in 2026. I request the World Bank to support our human capital and institutional capacity development programmes for a smooth transition. The critical IDA window needs to be preserved and continued," she said.

The Premier has placed five specific suggestions before the WB that need to be taken into consideration by the global lender considering upcoming development imperatives while addressing the plenary session on "Reflection on 50 years of World Bank-Bangladesh Partnership" held at the Preston Auditorium of the WB Headquarters here.

On the occasion, a deal of 2.5 billion dollars was signed between Bangladesh and the World Bank to implement five projects.

The premier also presented a picture of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge to the World Bank President at that time.

She said Bangladesh will continue to invest in infrastructure and logistics for realizing our vision to become a high-income economy by 2041.

"I would expect the World Bank to engage in both our physical and social mega-projects in the coming years," the Prime Minister said.

She said Bangladesh has aligned UN SDGs with its national aspiration to become an upper middle-income country by 2031.

"There is an urgent expectation that the World Bank and other development partners deliver increased, concessional and innovative financing for SDG implementation," Sheikh Hasina said.

The Premier mentioned that ongoing global multiple crises, caused by the pandemic, armed conflicts and climate emergency, have put most developing economies under serious stress.

Despite the multiple crises steamed from the pandemic and arms conflict, she said some of the development partners have chosen to increase their lending costs and interest rates, which detract from their core mandate.

"I call upon the World Bank and other development partners to find viable alternatives so that our economies can cope better with the emerging challenges," the Premier said.

Bangladesh hopes that the World Bank's enhanced engagement in climate action would help address the wide gaps in financing under the Paris Agreement, she said.

"We would stress the importance of equal distribution of financing between climate mitigation and adaptation," the Prime Minister said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has emerged as a global role-model in disaster management and preparedness and invested heavily in early warning systems, disaster-resilient infrastructure, and community-based interventions.

Describing Bangladesh as a living laboratory of climate adaptation, featuring a number of nature-based and technological solutions, she said. "I invite the World Bank and other development partners to join us in implementing the projects under our Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100."

On the Rohingya issue, the Prime Minister said they have been working with the UN and other international agencies to secure their safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation to Myanmar, but not a single person has returned till to-date.

"The situation is getting increasingly difficult for us, with growing security implications for the wider region. I thank the World Bank for joining us in our humanitarian endeavor and for the USD 590 million grants for the Rohingya and their impacted communities," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has offered shelter to the forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar over the last four decades and their number has reached 1.2 million since their expulsion following mass atrocity crimes in August 2017.

Sheikh Hasina said a false allegation of corruption was brought against them regarding construction of the Padma Bridge.

The Prime Minister said she assumed power to bring smiles on the faces of distressed people not to build own fate.

She greeted the countrymen for getting the people beside them as near and dear ones after losing everything that include parents and three brothers on August 15, 1975.

The Prime Minster said she had to face many risks on her life, but she never bow down her head. "I never want to dishonour the countrymen by bowing down my head," she said.

Reminding the countrymen that Bangalee nation is a victorious nation, she said, "We want to go ahead with keeping our heads high as a victorious nation".

She continued that the unprecedented development of Bangladesh has been possible as the people who were around her had worked with sincerity and dedication and gave her unwavering support.

PM's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Planning Minister MA Mannan, and PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, among others, were present.

The WB President David Malpass and its Former Chief Economist Kausik Basu, spoke at the programme while the global lenders VP Martin gave the closing remarks.

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