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WB chief assures support

$2b assistance for climate projects

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By Special Correspondent
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The World Bank (WB) on Tuesday assured Bangladesh of continuing its support to the development efforts of the country.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim came up with the assurance at a press briefing held at the WB's Dhaka office in the evening.  

Appreciating Bangladesh's recent socio-economic development, Kim said the bank will continue its support to further accelerate the country's economic growth and poverty reduction.

"I have been very impressed with the progresses that I have seen during my two-day trip to Bangladesh. There are many examples of innovation in fighting poverty, empowering women and battling climate change.

Today, on my first trip to Bangladesh, and the first WB Group President to be here in nearly a decade, I'm announcing a US$2 billion commitment for climate related projects in next three years," he added.

On Monday, Kim also announced to invest upto $1 billion to address malnourishment among children.

The WB Chief said, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and the WB support will help the government in its efforts to adapt to this growing threat. While Bangladesh has made great advances on many areas, the country still faces many obstacles to reach its goals to move from low-middle-income status to middle income status by 2021, and to end extreme poverty by 2030.

"The government should address three key areas to achieve the development goal. These are rapid improvement in business climate, institutional capacity building and strengthen governance," he noted.

The WB chief, however, said the government is pursuing various reforms agenda to improve business climate and capacity building in various government institutions including National Board of Revenue and Anti-Corruption Commission.

  "Once the reforms are completed, it would leave a positive impact on the country's socio-economic development," he said.

Responding to a question, Kim said, WB shared Bangladesh's zero tolerance for corruption. The bank will remain cautious about corruption that it showed in Padma bridge funding. The bank will take stringent measure if anomalies found in WB financing projects in Bangladesh.

  "Bangladesh and the WB shared a close bond. The country is the largest recipients of our IDA fund with more than $24 billion in financing over the past 45 years. And the World Bank Group is the largest development partner. Our relationship intertwined," said Kim.   
"Our engagements with Bangladesh have increased scientifically in the past five years. Total IDA commitment stands today at US$9.7 billion, up from US$4 billion at the end of the fiscal year 2012. Our financing in Bangladesh is expected to increase in the years to come," he said.

He believes that Bangladesh can reach its goals to become a middle-income country by 2021 and to end extreme poverty by 2030.

But for that, he had said the country must sustain its economic growth, create more and better jobs, focus on energy and transport infrastructure, make progress on improving the quality of health and education, and improving governance, including strengthening anti-corruption measures.

Sharing his experience in Bangladesh visit, Kim said, "I have greatly enjoyed my two days in Bangladesh, and I have learned many things about your history and your dreams for the future. My team at the World Bank Group and I look forward to doing all we can to support Bangladesh's development priorities, reducing poverty further, creating more and better jobs, and working to build a more vibrant private sector that invests in this country."

Kim on Tuesday concluded his two-day trip to Bangladesh

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