February 28, 2018 / 10:43 AM / 6 months ago

ADB raises Bangladesh aid package to $8 bln

DHAKA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Asian Development Bank (ADB) has increased assistance for Bangladesh to $8 billion for the four fiscal years beginning July 2016 to June 2020, the Manila-based lender said on Wednesday.

“This is an increase of 60 percent compared with the previous similar four fiscal years,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao, who also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith during his three-day visit.

Bangladesh received $5 billion in aid during the 2011-2015 fiscal years.

The multilateral lender will also help the government formulate a comprehensive plan to develop an economic corridor in the southwest region of the country, to diversify economic activity and ensure balanced development, Nakao told reporters.

This will open opportunities for enhanced regional cooperation and integration in South Asia and beyond, he said.

“ADB remains committed to supporting infrastructure development in the energy, transport and urban sectors to help Bangladesh promote private investment, attract foreign direct investment, and boost growth further,” Nakao said.

Bangladesh has shown rapid economic and social progress over the last decade, he said.

“The growth this decade was about 6.3 percent on average and reached 7.3 percent in 2017. This...has enabled Bangladesh to attain middle-income status in July 2015 and helped cut poverty to 24 percent in 2016 from about 49 percent in 2000,” he said.

Bangladesh, which joined the ADB in 1973, has received more than $20 billion in loans, grants and technical assistance so far.

Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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