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Bangladesh needs $74bn by 2020 to improve infrastructure

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The amount is 7.38% of the country’s GDP per year and second highest among South Asian region that needs $2.5tn on infrastructure by 2020 to serve its growing population

Bangladesh needs to invest as much as $74bn in infrastructure by 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard, the World Bank said yesterday.

The amount is 7.38% of the country’s GDP per year and second highest among South Asian region that needs $2.5tn on infrastructure by 2020 to serve its growing population, the bank said in a new report.

The report titled “Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia’s Infrastructure Gap??? is the first analysis of the region’s infrastructure needs by the World Bank.

It says the region, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, could address its “enormous??? infrastructure needs by tapping private and public sector funds as well as by introducing reforms.

In 1990-2012, Bangladesh attracted only $10.140bn from the private sector in telecom and energy sectors, which is 1.14% of GDP (2007-2012) and 2.83% of total private participation in infrastructure (PPI), the report says.

But it failed to attract PPI in water supply and sanitation, transport to serve the people best.

“Many people in South Asia remain unconnected to a reliable electricity grid, a safe water supply, sanitary sewerage disposal, and sound roads and transport networks,??? said Philippe Le Houérou, Vice President for the South Asia Region at the World Bank, while releasing the report through video conference.

Luis Andres, report co-author and lead economist for Sustainable Development for the South Asia Region said: “The South Asia region continues to suffer from a combination of insufficient economic growth, slow urbanisation, and huge infrastructure gaps that together could jeopardise future progress.???

To bring its infrastructure up to scratch, the bank said the region needs to invest between 6.6% and 9.9% of 2010 GDP a year.

That is as much as three percentage points over the current 6.9% invested by the region, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in 2009.

More than a quarter of the population still lack access to electricity, far more than the less than 10% who lack it in other parts of the developing world.

The bank said governments should ensure infrastructure access extended to the people who need it the most – women, the poor and marginalised groups – and move away from a “build, neglect, and rebuild??? mindset by investing in the rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure assets.

In South Asia only 71% of the population has access to electricity, ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa at 35%, but well behind the rest of the developing world at above 90%. According to businesses in South Asia, a lack of electricity is the biggest barrier to their growth.

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Source: Dhaka Tribune

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