Dhaka, September 22, 2014: The World Bank and the Government of Bangladesh today concluded a Joint Tripartite Portfolio Review of selected World Bank supported projects in Bangladesh. Since independence, the World Bank has committed more than $18.6 billion, which accounts for 29% of the total foreign aid the country received so far. The disbursement of the World Bank financing for Annual Development Program has witnessed an upward trend in the last four years, with a record high disbursement of $944 million in FY 13-14. The World Bank disbursed $ 84.5 million in the first two months of the current financial year (July-August 2014) which is higher compared to previous years.
The Government and the World Bank jointly review selected operations in Bangladesh every six months, with the goal of increasing the pace of project implementation and accelerating disbursements. ‘The Tripartite Portfolio Review, which is a regular and periodic exercise, is an excellent opportunity to highlight key issues and agree on critical actions to enhance performance and achieve results,’ said Christine Kimes, Operations Advisor, World Bank Bangladesh. “For the first time, the Government and the World Bank reviewed the status of projects under preparation, focusing on readiness for project start-up.”
The World Bank’s portfolio in Bangladesh consists of 31 International Development Association (IDA) financed projects and 29 Trust Fund (TF) projects with a total commitment of US $7.03 billion. In the course of the two-day review, the Government and the World Bank examined 22 ongoing projects, including a mix of sectors, performance trends, and IDA/TF financing. The review highlighted the successes of high performing projects, monitored implementation progress for projects that have been recently restructured, reviewed implementation challenges for slow moving projects, and agreed time-bound action plans with a view to improve performance and accelerate disbursements.
“The external assistance can be an important instrument to catalyze development, but it needs to be managed effectively to all its benefits,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh “Discussions during this tripartite Portfolio review contribute to the Government goal of increasing Annual Development Program utilization rates”.
The review meeting also discussed the preparation status of 11 planned projects, including new operations as well as well additional financing to scale up existing projects in the health and education sectors. The World Bank anticipates a total of $1.7 billion in new financing support to Bangladesh in FY 15.
The meeting brought together project directors, line ministry representatives, Economic Relations Division Wing Officers and World Bank staff.
The World Bank support has helped Bangladesh to achieve remarkable progress in many areas such as increasing school enrolment, improving health, expanding renewable energy, and providing infrastructure like rural roads and water supply.