DHAKA, BANGLADESH – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) remains committed to supporting Bangladesh in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth, ADB Vice President for Administration and Corporate Management, Bruce Davis, said at a commemorative ceremony today marking 40 years of Bangladesh-ADB partnership.

Bangladesh’s Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Secretary for Economic Relations Division Abul Kalam Azad, and ADB’s Country Director for Bangladesh M. Teresa Kho also spoke at the event organized by ADB. A cross section of stakeholders including ministers, secretaries, project directors, civil society, business leaders, academia, and media participated in the event.

Bangladesh has made impressive socioeconomic gains with a steady rise in its gross domestic product, a decrease in overall rates of poverty, boost in social development, and steady movement toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. But major challenges remain to be addressed, Mr. Davis said.

“Bangladesh needs to attach higher priority to enhancing its business climate, improve infrastructure and trade logistics and address skills shortages," he said. “Addressing land shortages, climate change impacts, and urban congestion are also critical.”

ADB assistance has helped Bangladesh improve security, efficiency and trade of energy; expand and rehabilitate road and rail networks; enhanced education quality and access; boosted and diversified agriculture, and improved rural connectivity. Mr. Davis reaffirmed that ADB looks forward to working with Bangladesh to improve infrastructure, skills, water management and flood controls, and promoting public-private partnerships, private sector development and private sector financing. Climate change, urban water supply and sanitation, and regional cooperation will also be prioritized.

ADB has been a key partner in Bangladesh’s drive for a better future since 1973 by contributing to critical economic and governance reforms. Spurred by its accomplishments so far, Bangladesh aims to become a middle income country by the 50th anniversary of independence in 2021. The country is also one of the largest recipients of concessional Asian Development Fund resources.

ADB has been the second-largest source of financing, and one of the lead financiers in energy, transport, education, water supply and sanitation, agriculture and natural resources, and Finance sectors of Bangladesh. As of 31 December 2012, ADB’s cumulative lending amounted to about $14.1 billion for 234 loans, and its technical assistance grants amounted to $221.7 million for 389 projects.

During his visit, Mr. Davis also joined Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the inauguration of the Bangladesh-India Power Grid Interconnection at Bheramara, Kushtia on 5 October. ADB has assisted the interconnection through its South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Bangladesh-India Electrical Grid Interconnection Project.

While in Bangladesh, Mr. Davis will visit other ADB-assisted projects in Bangladesh and meet project beneficiaries.

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