DHAKA, BANGLADESH (18 January 2018) — Together with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and representatives of development partners, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang attended the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) in Dhaka on 17 January 2018. As a keynote speaker of the opening session, he reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and assisting the country in fulfilling its growth aspirations.
Complimenting Bangladesh on achieving the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty incidence between 1990 and 2015, as well as those related to primary education, child mortality, maternal health, and safe drinking water and basic sanitation, Mr. Zhang said, “ADB stands ready to support Bangladesh in tackling challenges to meeting the SDGs, improving infrastructure, and boosting social development. Improving education quality, enhancing access to health, and creating more employment opportunities, particularly for women, are some of the challenges to be met to achieve the SDG targets.”
Mr. Zhang, in his remarks at the opening session of the BDF, noted that it is necessary to further boost investment from both public and private sectors to fulfill the country’s growth aspirations and move the economy to a higher growth trajectory. He exchanged views with the Minister of Finance and ADB Governor, Abul Maal A. Muhith, highlighting ADB’s robust and expanding partnership with Bangladesh. The ADB Vice-President also noted that ADB’s country partnership strategy for Bangladesh reflects the government’s key development priorities for sustainable and inclusive growth, and highlighted the opportunities for the country in regional cooperation and integration.
ADB operations will address infrastructure development (transport, energy and urban services sectors), rural development, skills development and job creation, private sector development, climate and disaster resilience, and regional cooperation and integration. ADB will expand lending to $8 billion during 2016-2020 from $5 billion in 2011-2015. ADB will also continue to support Bangladesh’s regional cooperation and integration efforts, particularly in electricity sharing with neighbors, and transport and economic corridors.
During his visit, Mr. Zhang along with the Minister of Environment and Forests Anisul Islam Mahmud, and State Minister of Finance and Planning M. A. Mannan, launched a publication, “The Dhaka Water Services Turnaround”. The publication captures the success story of ADB-funded projects in improving Dhaka’s water supply system. He also visited Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority and met with ADB-assisted project beneficiaries.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.