Diplomatic Correspondent: The Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB is becoming increasingly invested in Bangladesh’s development as it has financed significant projects in the first five years of its engagement to the country.
The development bank has finalised $2.6 billion in credit to Bangladesh thus far and is discussing a further $4 billion assistance for the next five-year phase, according to the Economic Relations Division or ERD.
ERD’s Asia Wing Additional Secretary Md Shahriar Quader Siddique said the AIIB proved to be a crucial development partner for Bangladesh in five years since it began operations here and is getting increasingly engaged.
The development activities in the ongoing Eighth Five-Year Plan need huge funds and the AIIB is helping Bangladesh implement the plan, he said. “The AIIB has become one of the top three development partners of the country for the rapid funding.”
He thinks the regional lender will play an important role in developing and strengthening the infrastructure of Bangladesh.
The AIIB was launched in October 2014 with a capital of $100 billion. Countries like India, Russia, Germany and South Korea are among its stakeholders. Including Bangladesh, it has 57 countries as members.
Focusing on the economic and infrastructural development of Asia and the Pacific region, the organisation invests in transport, fuel and telecommunications among other sectors. It began its operations in 2016.
The AIIB has already begun financing more than 12 priority development projects in Bangladesh. Bangladesh finalised a loan deal of $2.6 billion against the development of a four-lane road stretching from Sylhet to Tamabil, while work on $260 million project in Mymensingh’s Kewatkhali Bridge is ongoing.
The bank has also selected 22 projects for their next phase of investment in infrastructure. Bangladesh has high hopes of securing the $4 billion funds from the organisation for these projects.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank or ADB are at the summit of Bangladesh’s development partners in terms of financing.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA is also a prominent donation and credit agency for development in the region.
An ERD official said the AIIB finances the projects without strategic planning, unlike the World Bank or ADB.
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