Bangladesh Dev Forum meet Sunday: 12b being sought

Bangladesh Dev Forum meet Sunday: 12b being sought

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A meeting of the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) will be held in Dhaka to underscore the need for foreign funding to implement sustainable development goals.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the two-day meet on Sunday, Economic Relations Division’s Senior Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin said on Saturday.
Bangladesh will seek up to $12 billion in assistance for infrastructure development during a two-day meeting with funding partners that begins on Sunday, a senior finance ministry official said.Bangladesh now spends only two to three percent of GDP on such investment, but needs to invest up to 12 percent to achieve the target of becoming a middle-income country, senior finance ministry official Mohammad Mejbahuddin said, news agency Reuters reported on Saturday.
Sustainable development goals for Bangladesh were laid out at two summits held in Addis Ababa in May and at the UN in September this year.
Mejbahuddin said the BDF meeting would apprise the country’s development partners of the need for funding from donors to attain its development goals.
It will also inform donors about making funds available to help implement Bangladesh’s on-going seventh five-year plan.
“We’ll discuss how much the donors can assist us in achieving the development goals,” he added.
A joint report based on the forum’s discussions and decisions is expected.
The Reuters report said: “We will place our requirements to them to ensure infrastructure development to become a middle-income country by 2021,” he told reporters on Saturday.
Major development partners include the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department for International Development, the European Union and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Bangladesh wants to boost investment in infrastructure development by up to six times from current figures in its quest for annual economic growth of 8.0 percent, said Matlub Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Jin Liqun, president-designate of the China-backed, newly-formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, will attend the meeting’s infrastructure session to be told about the country’s requirements.
But the development partners want the government’s commitment to good governance, so as to assure the most effective outcome of the assistance they provide.
“We believe good governance improves the cost-effective delivery of public goods and services and broadens inclusiveness,” said Kazuhiko Higuchi, the ADB country director.
The ADB is a long-standing development partner, providing Bangladesh assistance of more than $17.5 billion since 1973, he told Reuters.
“We will continue support to Bangladesh to attain middle-income status by 2021, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Good governance is essential for Bangladesh to maintain an environment for informed policy debate and ensure inclusive social and economic progress, USAID mission director Janina Jaruzelski told Reuters.
Through USAID, the U.S. government has provided more than $6 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.
Bangladesh is moving to improve governance standards, finance ministry official Mejbahuddin said.
“We are continuously trying to improve good governance, particularly in the institutions,” he added. – News Desk

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