Published in The Independent on Wednesday, 24 June 2015.
Country Partnership Framework for Bangladesh
WB to focus on connectivity
The World Bank (WB) is giving emphasis on regional connectivity issue in its next Country Partnership Framework (CPS) for Bangladesh.
The mission of the bank is now in the process of preparing a new CPF which will guide the Bank’s engagement in Bangladesh starting from Fiscal Year 2016. As part of the process, the global lender has been organising a series of consultations to prepare a systematic country diagnostic report as of part of CPF.
It was revealed from a summary report of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the Ministry of Finance regarding the upcoming CPF of the World Bank.
According to a WB spokesperson, Bangladesh may get support for power, energy, roads, port development during 2016 t0 2020 under new CPS.
The total support under new CPS is yet to be finalised, though the priority is almost ready, the spokesperson said.
Besides, a team of the global lender presented its detailed plan, to bankroll the connectivity projects, to Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the WB headquarters in Washington in April.
The summary said the mission may be requested to consider extended funding in the areas of infrastructure as well as water and railways transport. The bank’s financing can be increased in regional infrastructure projects including hydropower generation, cross border power transmission and distribution as well as regional level trade facilitation projects with India, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Meanwhile on June 15, the four South Asian nations -Bangladesh Bhutan, Indian and Nepal (BBIN) signed the BBIN Motors Vehicle Agreement in Thimpu, capital of the Himalayan kingdom Bhutan, to increase connectivity between four nations and expand trade and commerce.
About the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement, Centre for Policy Dialogue, a civil society think thank in Bangladesh, in its analysis said it would need USD 8 to 10 billion to be implemented. The proposed CPF will be for FY2016 -2020 in alignment with the seventh five-year plan of Bangladesh. The WB is expected to place the CPF before the board in January 2016.
The proposed CPF will be replacing earlier country assistance strategy (CAS) for Bangladesh. While the CAS was originally intended for the fiscal years 2011-14, it has been extended to cover the year 2014-15 as well, to march with the sixth five-year plan.
The bank’s assistance accounts for 29 per cent of all foreign aid to Bangladesh since independence.
There are 39 on going IDA financed and 19 trust fund projects in operation in Bangladesh. The Bank has financed USD 8.389 billion in these projects. Out of the amount, USD 2.81 billion has been disbursed up to May 2015. The CAS focuses on social service, growth vulnerability, adaptation and inclusion, and governance.