Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President (VP) Shixin Chen has reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Bangladesh is now a global example of economic progress, with average GDP growth of more than 6.7% over the last decade,” Chen said while attending the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) in the city on Wednesday.
He said a record of about 8.2 percent growth in 2019 has made Bangladesh the fastest growing economy in Asia Pacific.
Chen attended the BDF as a keynote speaker of the opening session together with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and representatives of development partners.
On the sidelines, Chen held discussions with Finance Minister and ADB Governor AHM Mustafa Kamal, Planning Minister MA Mannan and Secretary of the Economic Relations Division and ADB Alternate Governor Monowar Ahmed.
Chen said the key challenges ahead are to increase investments—both public and private—to close infrastructure gaps, improve skills, diversify the industrial base, and improve the business climate.
Chen noted that Bangladesh is making serious efforts to meet the SDGs and there is a higher aspiration for development in the country. “ADB stands committed to help the country meet its development aspirations,” he said.
In his meetings with senior Government officials, Chen expressed appreciation for the initiative to develop special economic zones and economic corridors to connect the country to regional and global value chains.
Chen noted that ADB’s country partnership strategy for Bangladesh (2016-2020) reflects the government’s key development priorities for sustainable and inclusive growth.
ADB operations focus on infrastructure development (transport, energy and urban services), rural development, skills development and job creation, private sector development, climate and disaster resilience, and regional cooperation and integration.
Since Bangladesh became a member of ADB in 1973, ADB has mobilized more than $25 billion in loans and grants to help bring better infrastructure, public services, and social development outcomes to the people of Bangladesh, according to ADB.
In 2019, ADB committed eight sovereign loans totaling about $1.3 billion. As of 31 December 2019, cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Bangladesh amount to $15.23 billion.