Bangladesh

Kim and World Bank looking to start fresh

kim world bank
Credit Saurabh Das/Associated Press

Kim the 5th WB president to visit Bangladesh. Almost 10 years since Robert Zoellick, then head of the global lender, visited Dhaka was in 2007.

World Bank officials are hopeful Kim’s visit will pave a new chapter in World Bank and Bangladesh relations after the ‘unsavory episode‘ over the Padma Bridge.

World Bank Resident Representative for India, Junaid Kamal Ahmad hopes this visit will boost Bangladesh’s initiative to make the global lender one of its key development partners.

Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Bangladeshi national was chief of staff to the WB president before his Indian assignment.

According to Junaid, Kim is an optimistic person, and on Bangladesh, he has had a positive outlook ever since he was appointment World Bank Chief 5 years ago by Barak Obama as a surprise candidate.

When he was 1st appointed, there were calls by some former chief economist of the World Bank that the US should end its monopoly at the World Bank.

He has recently been reconfirmed to his 2nd term.

The World Bank now wishes to set aside the apprehensions that emerged out of Padma Bridge project and wants to strike a new relationship.

Despite initial investment leadership on this issue, the World Bank withdrew from the Padma Bridge project citing corruption as the reason, without furnishing any evidence.

After much deliberation and negotiations, Bangladesh decided to finance the project with its own funding. This whole episode had strained the relationship that existed between Bangladesh and the international lending agency.

The World Bank was one of the highest subsidy providers to Bangladesh for many years and wishes the thaw in the relationship would help advance Bangladesh making world bank an international partner.

Bangladesh’s Finance Minister AMA Muhit, believes that this visit is a sign that World Bank recognizes Bangladesh’s achievement in poverty alleviation. This is the right time for Bangladesh to showcase the success story that has been Bangladesh so far.

According to World Bank the absolute Poverty level has come down to 12.9% of its total population for the 2015-16 fiscal, lower than 18% during the 2009-10 fiscal.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal envisions this rate to be brought down to between zero and 3%

During the visit, Kim will participate in World Poverty Elimination Day celebration on Tuesday, which will also be attended by the Prime Minister.

He will be speaking at the panel discussion, titled ‘End global poverty by 2030, the Bangladesh experience.’

After which, he will be heading to Barisal, where world bank is financing a few projects.

Robert McNamara was the 1st World Bank chief to visit Bangladesh, right after Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan.

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