DHAKA (XINHUA) – The Bangladeshi government has made a plea to the development partners including the World Bank to continue their support to the country to attain its development goals.
Bangladeshi Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal made the call while addressing a function marking the celebration of 50 years of partnership between the Bangladeshi government and the World Bank in the capital Dhaka on Sunday.
“We seek all-out support from our development partners including the World Bank in this regard,” the minister was quoted as saying by Bangladesh’s official news agency BSS.
He said their next target is to turn Bangladesh into a higher mid-income country by 2031 and a smart development country by 2041.
Kamal said the gross domestic product (GDP) size of Bangladesh has increased by 74 times in the last 50 years to reach USD465 billion.
Bangladesh is now the world’s 35th largest economy with increased per capita income and life expectancy, he said.
Visiting World Bank Managing Director of Operations Axel van Trotsenburg reaffirmed the bank’s strong support for Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh has made tremendous strides, transforming from one of the world’s poorest countries at independence in 1971 to a lower middle-income country in 2015,” said van Trotsenburg.
He said the World Bank is proud to be part of this journey as one of Bangladesh’s first development partners, adding “We’ve learned a lot from each other about how development works”. The World Bank is committed to supporting Bangladesh through uncertainties and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine conflict, and increasing impacts of climate change as the country moves forward to achieve its development goals, he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Bangladesh’s External Relations Division Secretary under the Ministry of Finance Sharifa Khan said that over the last 50 years, the World Bank has committed over USD39 billion out of which over USD27 billion has so far been disbursed.
She said currently some 53 projects are going on with the World Bank finance while the current portfolio of the lending agency in Bangladesh is around USD15 billion, which is around 32 per cent of the total current foreign assistance to Bangladesh.
Citing that the cost of borrowings has increased abruptly to over four per cent which could hold back the country’s development trajectory, Sharifa also called upon the development partners to come up with pragmatic solutions.