DHAKA, BANGLADESH (14 March 2023) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led a celebration of 50 years of close development partnership in Dhaka today. In a bilateral meeting after the event, Mr. Asakawa said ADB is committed to widening its partnership with the country and to increasing financial support for key development priorities to help achieve the country’s goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2031.

“I have witnessed the many ways Bangladesh has been transformed through steady and inclusive economic growth with vibrant private sector engagement over the past decade and a half,” said Mr. Asakawa. “ADB stands ready to support Bangladesh in a bigger way on this path to a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future, enhancing our assistance in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and critical economic reforms to diversify the economy and mobilizing more domestic resources.”

“On 50 years of partnership, the Government of Bangladesh conveys its deep gratitude to ADB for the invaluable and generous support and contribution to our development journey,” said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “I consider ADB as one of the most trusted development partners of Bangladesh, and request strategic focus on skills development, health, ITC-based entrepreneurship, quality infrastructure, and climate change, while helping unleash the potentials of the private sector.”   

Mr. Asakawa also met with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and other senior officials on 13 March as part of his 5-day visit. 

Mr. Asakawa commended Bangladesh’s economic and social development, particularly over the last decade and a half. Between 2013 and 2022, Bangladesh’s gross domestic product grew about 6.5% on average, reaching 7.9% at its peak just before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. In 2015, Bangladesh attained the status of lower middle-income country, with per capita gross national income reaching $1,210. It rose to $2,793 by 2022. Bangladesh is on track to graduate from least-developed country status by 2026.

Mr. Asakawa is scheduled to visit various ADB-supported projects, including a rail station under the Chittagong–Cox’s Bazar Railway Project and a water supply facility in Cox’s Bazar camp for sheltered people under ADB’s Emergency Assistance Project. He will also visit a garment factory and a training center under the Skills for Employment Investment Program, which contribute to women employment and entrepreneurship. 

Bangladesh joined ADB in 1973, and in 1982 became the first ADB member to host a field office. ADB has mobilized around $50 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance for the country, including cofinancing.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. 

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