World Bank backs Dhaka’s power, transit deals with Delhi

August 15th, 2010 - 12:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 15 (IANS) The World Bank (WB) has backed the series of bilateral deals Bangladesh has signed with India this year, saying this would promote regional cooperation.
The bank has indicated its willingness to finance different projects on transit, transhipment, power and water to increase regional and bilateral cooperation, The Daily Star newspaper Sunday said quoting sources in the government’s Economic Relations Division (ERD).

The WB thinks such cooperation will not only help the country develop but also reduce poverty levels substantially, the ERD sources said.

The report points out that South Asia remains the least integrated region in the world in terms of trade in goods and services and management of common resources.

The report also said the World Bank Group will work across the South Asia, leveraging its financial and technical resources to advocate regional cooperation and initiatives.

The WB report said if the regional cooperation increases the GDP growth, Bangladesh will leap by two percentage points.

The newspaper noted that the support from the WB was forthcoming even as “the main opposition BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) is resisting negotiations on bilateral cooperation”.

BNP chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia last week said she would oppose the deals with India, including a $1 billion credit line, calling it “a symbol of slavery”.

In its new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), the WB noted: “Programming under the strategy will remain sufficiently flexible to respond to regional opportunities as they emerge, including on-going consideration of India-Bangladesh cooperation in the power sector and a proposed cross-border water resource management operation.”

The report observed that significant progress has been made on regional cooperation with the recent signing of cooperation agreement with India.

The historic rapprochement has the potential to create regional opportunities for water resource management, transport, trade and energy, the report said.

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