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Bangladesh has made impressive economic and social progress in the past decade, despite repeated natural disasters and external shocks. Poverty fell from 57% of the population in 1990 to 40% in 2005.  The average GDP growth over the last six years was over 6%. The country has made great strides towards achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. It has met the MDGs for gender parity in education and universal primary enrolment well ahead of time.

The global economic crisis came at a time when Bangladesh was witnessing a period of relative economic prosperity. Bangladesh averted the first round of impact from the global financial crisis. Therefore, while remaining vigilant, Bangladesh has the time to be strategic in its response in dealing with the financial crisis.

Despite the good track record, with around 56 million people below the poverty line, Bangladesh faces considerable development challenges. Perhaps, Bangladesh is one of most vulnerable countries to climate change and natural calamities like cyclones and floods.

Table 1: At a Glance
World Bank Lending (million)* 2009 1034.7
GDP (current US$) (billions) 2008 79.0
GDP Growth (%) 2008 6.2
GNI Per Capita, Atlas Method (current US$) 2008 570.0
Life Expectancy at Birth, total (years) 2006 64.0
Population, total (millions) 2008 144.5
Population Growth (Annual %) 2008 1.5
School Enrollment, Primary (% net) 2004 88.9
Surface Area (sq. km) (thousands) 2008 144.0
* The amount indicated is the committed amount for financial year 2009.

World Bank in Bangladesh

Bangladesh and the World Bank have long been partners in development since 1972.  The World Bank works in close partnership with the Government of Bangladesh to assist the country in attaining its development goals of reducing poverty and improving the lives of people. The World Bank also works closely with other development partners, non government organizations, civil society, academia and most importantly the local stakeholders.  

For the current financial year FY09, World Bank has provided concessional lending above $1 billion for the first time.  All World Bank loans to Bangladesh are interest free IDA credits. Its current portfolio in the country
includes 26 active projects.

 

The World Bank has supported the Government’s rural development, education, social protection and health programs that helped the country in achieving the MDGs. 

Basic infrastructure like electricity is precondition for a country’s steady economic growth, support for power generation is being provided through a series of projects. The World Bank has committed to co-finance the construction of the Padma Bridge. World Bank has also supported policy reforms to accelerate economic growth and prepared and disseminated several analytical reports such as Poverty Assessment, Investment Climate assessment and others which provided concrete policy options for economic development.

The 2006 – 2009 Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) jointly prepared by the World Bank, JICA, ADB and DFID focused on improving the investment climate in the country and empowering the poor--with governance as a cross-cutting theme.
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