The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the United Kingdom on Wednesday launched the Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity Fund (ARTCF) from which Bangladesh will be benefited.
The fund was launched ahead of the annual meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors due in Manila, Philippines on Thursday.
The ARTCF will initially focus on eight Central and South Asian countries, specifically Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, an official told UNB.
The fund, to be administered by ADB, will provide support to address some of the frontier challenges ADB members face in improving regional integration, such as enabling private sector development and addressing regional public goods.
The Department for International Development (DFID) will provide an initial contribution of up to $30 million.
In line with ADB’s Operational Plan for Regional Cooperation and Integration, 2016–2020, ARTCF will help the selected ADB developing member countries to identify and design projects that improve cross-border transport, energy, and information and communications technology infrastructure.
It will also help recipients of the fund tackle red tape and regulatory bottlenecks; provide financing for regional projects to increase their poverty reduction and gender impacts; and strengthen the capacity of the member countries for prospective investments.
The fund was launched at an event attended by ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice-President for Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations Diwakar Gupta, ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada, and DFID Asia Regional Deputy Head Duncan Overfield.
“ADB’s partnership with DFID will help further our ambitious knowledge-driven agenda and ensure that our members have access to the most effective, evidence-based solutions to further their regional integration goals,” said Susantono.
“Let me extend my special appreciation to DFID for its support on new regional cooperation and integration areas.”
“One of ADB’s core goals is to help our member countries work, trade, and connect more easily with each other and across the region,” said Gupta.
“ADB’s partnership with DFID will strengthen regional cooperation and integration operations while addressing some of the region’s most important development priorities.”
Since joining in 1966 as a founding member, the Government of the United Kingdom has contributed $3.09 billion in capital subscription to ADB and committed $1.43 billion to the bank’s Special Funds as of 31 December 2017.
ADB and DFID’s first cofinancing collaboration was in 1996, and since then, the two institutions have partnered on poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, finance, health, climate change, and public and private partnerships to benefit the people of the Asia and Pacific region.
ADB focuses on reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.
In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.