MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have forged a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2011-2015 which includes a resource investment program of around $4.5 billion.

The CPS details ADB's strategic development approach in Bangladesh, which is aligned to the government's Sixth Five-Year Plan priorities. It aims to contribute to more inclusive and greener growth.

Under the strategy, ADB will support the government's objective of fostering regionally balanced development by expanding opportunities and increasing access.

"The CPS will seek to assist Bangladesh to face development challenges in a way that is relevant and responsive to the needs of a country that aims to attain middle income status within a decade," said Mohammad Zahid Hossain, Senior Country Specialist in ADB's Bangladesh Resident Mission.

The major constraints the CPS seeks to address include infrastructure deficits, a shortage of skilled labor, rapid urbanization, and the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

ADB's support will be focused on six sectors: energy; transport; urban development; education; agriculture and natural resources; and finance. In the energy sector, ADB will aim to enhance access to power, to improve energy efficiency, and to develop a policy and regulatory setting conducive to private sector participation. In transport, ADB's assistance will be targeted at better road and railway infrastructure for fostering higher growth, and support for environment-friendly modes of transport.

In the urban sector, ADB will seek to expand sustainable safe water supply and sanitation, to reform selected municipal water supply providers, and to improve the legal and regulatory framework of the urban water sector. To ease urban congestion and overcrowding, ADB will help develop satellite towns and promote sustainable urban transport.

In education, ADB's assistance will help improve the quality and relevance of the education system, and improve the skills profile of the labor force. In agriculture and natural resources, ADB's help will focus on rural infrastructure and integrated water resource management. In finance, ADB will support efforts to make financial and capital markets more efficient and to develop the bond market for long-term infrastructure financing.

A major focus of the CPS is strengthening governance and developing capacity. To help improve governance, ADB will step up support for institutions fighting corruption. It will also seek to strengthen public financial management, procurement and project accounting, and the design of project-specific measures to manage fiduciary risks in ADB operations.

"To accelerate growth, the CPS will prioritize private sector development by addressing major infrastructure constraints and skills gaps," Mr. Hossain said. Support will also be given to improve regulatory settings and to enhance the capacity for private sector investments, including public-private partnerships.

In addition, the CPS will help the government take advantage of emerging opportunities in regional cooperation in transport, energy and trade facilitation. Delivering tangible results is a key focus of the new strategy and ADB will work closely with the government and partners to promote development effectiveness.

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