Bangladesh has made remarkable development and economic growth since independence, said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
New frontiers of challenges, like increasing climate change impacts, now call for urgent actions, he said, adding that the World Bank is committed to helping Bangladesh overcome barriers to sustainable and inclusive green growth.
“These two projects will be important to help the country remain on a sustainable growth path through boosting climate-resilient agricultural productivity and enhancing the income of hundreds and thousands of farmers as well as protect the people and the economy from the loss caused by untimely deaths, disabilities, and injuries resulting from road crashes,” he mentioned.
He made the remarks while attending a loan signing ceremony on Wednesday.
Bangladesh and the World Bank signed two financing agreements totaling $858 million to enhance climate-resilient agricultural growth, food security, and improve road safety.
The agreement was signed by Sharifa Khan and Abdoulaye Seck on behalf of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively.
The $500 million Program on Agricultural and Rural Transformation for Nutrition, Entrepreneurship, and Resilience (PARTNER) will help transform the agriculture sector by promoting crop diversification, food safety, and climate resilience across agri-food systems of Bangladesh.
The Program will support sustainable and nutritious food production through greater efficiency in input use, good agricultural practices, and the promotion of stress-tolerant and nutrient-dense varieties.
It will help increase entrepreneurship and access to services by expanding access to digital agricultural services tools, improved food safety processes, and increased female and youth entrepreneurship.
It will also help modernize institutions and policies through improved data management, increased research and development activities, and partnerships with global agricultural research institutions and with the private sector.
The $358 million Road Safety Project—which is the first dedicated road safety project in South Asia supported by the World Bank—will help the country improve road safety and reduce deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes in selected high-risk highways and district roads. In two national highways—N4 (Gazipur-Elenga) and N6 (Natore to Nawabganj)—the project will pilot comprehensive road safety measures, including improved engineering designs, signing and marking, pedestrian facilities, speed enforcement, and emergency care.
It will help modernize the capacity of the Traffic Police and highway patrol to manage speeding and prevent risky road user behavior. To improve post-crash care, it will set up an ambulance service via a toll-free number and upgraded emergency care services in selected district hospitals, and Upazila Health Complexes along the two national highway corridors.
“These two projects will contribute to the country’s vision of achieving upper-middle income status by 2031,” said Sharifa Khan.
“Our National Agriculture Policy places high priority on ensuring nutrition, food security, and climate resilient agriculture and the new Road Transport Act places a substantial focus on road safety. By ensuring food security, empowering farmers, creating opportunities for entrepreneurship as well as improving road safety management and minimizing tragic loss of human lives, these two projects will contribute to sustainable economic growth,” he mentioned.
The credits are from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and have a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. The PARTNER project will also receive a $43 million co-financing from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).