The Vision 2021 and Sixth Five-Year Plan have set solid development targets for Bangladesh. Recognizing that development is a long-term process, the Five-Year Plan is cast in the context of a long-term development vision defined by the government’s Vision 2021 and the Perspective Plan (2010-2021).
Those targets, if achieved, will transform the socioeconomic environment. Along with higher per capita income, the government’s Vision 2021 presents a development scenario where citizens will have a higher standard of living, be better-educated, face better social justice, and have a more equitable socioeconomic environment, and the sustainability of development will be ensured through better protection from climate change and natural disasters.
IDA commitments to Bangladesh have grown rapidly in the past five years, topping $1 billion for the first time in FY 2009. The World Bank’s present portfolio in Bangladesh amounts to $4.2 billion and includes 32 projects.
The World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for FY11-14 is supporting the government’s vision of rapid poverty reduction through accelerated, sustainable, and inclusive growth, underpinned by stronger governance at central and local levels. To ensure better outcomes, the World Bank’s strategy seeks to scale up ongoing operations with demonstrable results, engage in strategic interventions with a transformative impact, and innovate through small pilots with high country ownership.
Key areas of intervention are:
Accelerated Growth: Infrastructure investment and a more conducive business environment are needed to sustain and increase recent levels of private sector growth. The World Bank Group will support reforms to strengthen sector governance, financial sustainability, and private-sector participation in infrastructure provision and maintenance. It will also support efforts to enhance regional cooperation as a means to accelerate exports and increase foreign direct investment.
Sustainable Growth: Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world, already vulnerable to natural disasters and increasingly affected by climate change. Water resource management, agricultural adaptation, environmental protection, and disaster preparedness will be critical areas for intervention.
Inclusive Growth: With around 47 million people below the poverty line, improving social service delivery is a priority. The Bank plans to provide second-generation support for sector-wide approaches with other partners in primary education and health, population, and nutrition services, as well as expand support for targeted social assistance.
Stronger Governance: Bangladesh has made gradual progress in many areas of governance in the past five to 10 years. The International Finance Corporation will focus on governance issues related to the private sector (such as how to strengthen the investment climate), while IDA will focus on decentralized service delivery, strengthening social accountability, and supporting transparency through the Right to Information Act.