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World Bank Provides Support to Improve Infrastructure, Education in Bangladesh

May 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2010 — The World Bank today approved additional financing of US$292 million for two ongoing projects in Bangladesh:  US$257 million to provide long term finance for infrastructure through the Investment Promotion and Financing Facility (IPFF) Project and US$35 million for bringing disadvantaged and poor children back to school through the Reaching Out-of-School Children project (ROSC).

The additional financing to the IPFF project, amounting to about five times the original project that has been operating since 2006, will build and expand on the project’s successful experience in the power sector. It has helped boost the national electricity generation capacity by 5 percent by adding 178 MW electricity to the national grid and two special economic zones: Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) and Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ). The IPFF operates under the oversight of Bangladesh Bank and funds are allocated to local financial institutions for on-lending to private-sector infrastructure projects.

Bangladesh has an enormous investment need in infrastructure,” said Zafrul Islam, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh.  “We expect this additional financing to boost infrastructure funding by over US$400 million, leveraging about 100 percent private resources.  It will be used to increase infrastructure supply in the power sector – renewable energy and energy savings - as well as bridges, ports, container terminals, water treatment plants, waste disposal projects, and others.”

The World Bank also extended more support to the ROSC, a project which since 2004 has helped enroll over 500,000 out-of-school children through more than 15,000 Ananda Schools (Learning Centers) in 60 upazilas with high incidence of poverty and low enrollment. The project also helped in the achievement of grade competency level in Bangla and Mathematics by more than 65 percent of students; average student attendance rate of more than 75 percent; average teacher attendance in excess of 90 percent; average grade completion rate exceeding 80 percent; and availability of textbooks for all students.  The additional financing will help all the current students in these 60 upazilas with an opportunity to complete the primary cycle. It will also scale-up the ROSC project in about 30 more upazilas, enrolling an additional 250,000 out-of-school children.

Bangladesh has made significant progress in education over the past two decades,” said Islam.  “With nearly 18 million children enrolled in about 80,000 primary schools in the country, the primary gross enrolment rate is over 90 percent. Importantly, gender parity in primary education has been achieved. Despite this impressive progress, considerable challenges remain, for example, high drop-out rates and limited access for the poorest children. That’s why this additional financing to ROSC is so important for the poorest children. It has already demonstrated that it can reduce the number of out-of-school children, especially disadvantaged children.”

The credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, have 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; they carry a service charge of 0.75 percent.

Media Contacts
In Dhaka
Mehrin A. Mahbub
Tel : (880-2) 8159001-28 Ext. 4251
In Washington
Erik Nora
Tel : (202) 458 4735