Bangladesh and the World Bank have entered into two financing agreements valued at $858 million to bolster the country’s climate-resilient agricultural growth, food security, and road safety initiatives.
Sharifa Khan, the secretary to Bangladesh’s Ministry of Finance’s Economic Relations Division, and Abdoulaye Seck, the World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, signed the agreements.
Its overarching objective is to revolutionize the agricultural sector by advocating for crop diversification, ensuring the safety of food supplies, and fortifying climate resilience.
This program will facilitate sustainable and nutritious food production by enhancing the effectiveness of input usage, encouraging the adoption of sound agricultural practices, and championing stress-tolerant and nutrient-rich crop varieties.
It will also focus on expanding access to digital agricultural services, improving food safety processes, and promoting female and youth entrepreneurship.
The program aims to modernize institutions and policies through better data management, increased research and development activities, and partnerships with global agricultural research institutions and the private sector.
The second agreement entails the implementation of the Road Safety Project, with a funding of $358 million. Notably, this initiative marks a significant milestone as it is South Asia’s inaugural road safety project to receive support from the World Bank.
Its objective is to enhance road safety and reduce deaths and injuries resulting from road traffic crashes on selected high-risk highways and district roads.
The project will implement comprehensive road safety measures, including improved engineering designs, signage and marking, pedestrian facilities, speed enforcement, and emergency care.
It will also focus on modernizing the capacity of traffic police and highway patrol, setting up an ambulance service with a toll-free number, and upgrading emergency care services in selected district hospitals and health complexes along two national highway corridors.
Both projects are crucial for Bangladesh’s sustainable growth and its vision of achieving upper-middle-income status by 2031.
The funding for these projects originates from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank and lasts 30 years, including a grace period of five years. Additionally, the PARTNER project will receive co-financing of $43 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The World Bank has been a longstanding partner of Bangladesh and has committed approximately $40 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits since the country gained independence. Bangladesh has the most extensive ongoing IDA program, totalling $16.3 billion.