March 31, 2006

World Bank outlines $3 bln aid plan for Bangladesh

DHAKA (Reuters) - The World Bank said it planned aid of
around $3 billion for Bangladesh over the next four years to
improve the investment climate and help the poor while building
on recent improvements in governance.

A World Bank statement on a new Country Assistance Strategy
(CAS) dated March 29 said Bangladesh had made impressive
economic and social gains in the past decade, but nearly half
of its 140 million people still live in poverty and its annual
per capita income is just $470.

The World Bank said governance would be the core focus in
every project, and it applauded successes in this area, listing
"three successive free elections, an assertive Supreme Court,
sound public procurement regulations, an active civil society,
and a relatively free media."

Bangladesh received $488 million in foreign aid in the
first half of fiscal 2005/06 (July-June), down from $815
million a year earlier.

The country's net foreign aid receipts were $237 million in
that period after it had paid out $251 million to repay earlier
loans. The year-earlier amount was over $500 million.

(US$1 = 70.40 taka)