World Bank endorses news country assistance strategy for Bangladesh

11:05, July 11, 2010      

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The World Bank's Board of Directors Friday endorsed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Bangladesh proposing 6.1 billion U.S. dollars for the period 2011 to 2014 fiscal years.

A press release of the World Bank Saturday said the new strategy is aimed at supporting the Bangladeshi government's vision of rapid poverty reduction and middle income country status within the coming decade, as articulated in the Second National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction.

The World Bank Executive Directors commended Bangladesh for a strong track record of over 6 percent economic growth in recent years, as well as sustained poverty reduction and human development over the past two decades.

It said nonetheless, Bangladesh continues to face daunting development challenges, with around 55 million people below the poverty line and two out of five children suffering from chronic malnutrition.

The World Bank said to reduce the population share living in poverty from 40 percent to 15 percent and to reach middle-income country status by 2021, Bangladesh will need to sustain growth of at least 8 percent per annum.

The new Country Assistance Strategy will support Bangladesh's ambitions by contributing to accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, underpinned by stronger governance at central and local levels.

The strategy proposes support for technical analysis of key development issues, as well as record lending for Bangladesh, totaling more than 6 billion U.S. dollars in four years, based on continued strong country performance.

"This new country assistance strategy proposes a doubling of financial support for Bangladesh relative to the 2006-2009 fiscal years strategy," said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.

"To deliver this higher volume of support most effectively, we will work with the Bangladeshi government to shift to larger, more strategic interventions that enhance selectivity and leverage priority reforms and investments," she said.

About the first priority of accelerating economic growth, she said Bangladesh will need a major increase in infrastructure investment and a more conducive business environment. The World Bank will ramp up investments in infrastructure, including power and gas.



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