Bangladesh and the World Bank Celebrate 50 Years of Strong Partnership

World Bank has provided Bangladesh with $2.25 billion over the last year to support growth, regional connectivity, and disaster preparedness

By MNN Desk Report
Published Tue, May 2, 2023 9:07 AM

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2023—Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and World Bank Group President David Malpass commemorated 50 years of partnership between Bangladesh and the World Bank at the institution’s headquarters today. The partnership has helped lift millions of Bangladeshis out of poverty and supported the country’s economic growth and development. The World Bank has provided Bangladesh with $2.25 billion of financing over the last year to improve regional connectivity, boost disaster preparedness to address inland flooding, transition to green and climate-resilient development, strengthen environmental management and green investment, and help the micro-enterprise sector become less polluting and more climate-resilient. 

Since its independence in 1971, Bangladesh has transformed from one of the poorest countries to achieving lower-middle income status in 2015. The country is now among the world’s fastest-growing economies. 

In 1971, when Bangladesh was born, many development experts were skeptical about the country’s future. The aspirations germinated by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and, our people have shown the world that with determination, it is possible to overcome even the hardest challenges. Bangladesh has transformed its economy and made it more resilient as demonstrated during the COVID 19 pandemic,” said H.E. Prime Minister for Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. “The journey was not always easy, but we have never lost courage. In the past 50 years, the World Bank remained a steadfast development partner and supported our aspirations. We hope to work together with the World Bank as Bangladesh progresses to achieve higher-income country status by 2041.”

President Malpass reaffirmed the World Bank’s strong support for Bangladesh and its people as the country navigates unprecedented global challenges.

“As Bangladesh’s largest development partner, we welcome its progress in income growth and poverty reduction. We are committed to continuing our support to enable the private sector, create new job opportunities, broaden the tax base, strengthen the financial sector, and build the country’s resilience to economic and climate shocks,” said Malpass. “Many countries can learn from Bangladesh’s development successes. The country stands out for its innovative approaches to reducing poverty in record time, empowering women, achieving wide-spread electricity access, and adapting to climate change.”

The Prime Minister and the World Bank President inaugurated a multimedia photo exhibition depicting Bangladesh’s development story over the past five decades. They joined a seminar to reflect on 50 years of partnership.

Bangladesh became a member of the World Bank Group in August 1972. In November of the same year, the World Bank approved the first project for Bangladesh, a $50 million Emergency Recovery Credit to help the war-torn nation rebuild the transport and communication, agriculture, and industrial sectors and provide support for the construction and power sector. At the same time, the World Bank reactivated four projects that had been approved before the liberation war. Since then, the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, has committed over $40 billion in financing in the form of grants, interest-free loans, and concessional credits. With about $16.3 billion in financing for 56 ongoing projects, Bangladesh has the most extensive ongoing IDA program.