5 years ago

WB to provide $100.5m for improving DSCC livability

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The World Bank (WB) will provide Bangladesh with $100.5 million in credit to help improve livability of four large neighborhoods in Dhaka City, benefitting about a million residents.

The WB financing will be available under the Dhaka City Neighbourhood Upgrading Project, which aims to enhance public spaces and urban services in four neighbourhoods—Kamrangir Char, Lalbagh, Sutrapur-Nayabazar-Gulistan, Khilgaon-Mugda-Bashabo—under the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).

An agreement to this effect was signed between the government of Bangladesh and the WB on Wednesday, said a WB press statement.

Additional Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Md. Zahidul Haque and Acting WB Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Zahid Hussain signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at ERD in the city.

The project is expected to help upgrade public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, waterfronts; streets, sidewalks; and transform public buildings such as community centres into multipurpose facilities to serve communities, said the WB statement.

“With more than one-third of the country’s urban population living in Dhaka, it is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. Due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of public amenities and severe traffic congestion, the residents face many difficulties in their everyday lives,” it said, quoting Mr Zahid Hussain.

“The project will address some of these challenges and help enhance the quality of civic life,” the Acting WB Country director was quoted as saying.

The four localities were selected through a series of consultations with multiple stakeholder groups, the WB press release said, adding that the project would help enhance green open spaces by improving selected parks, streets and waterfront areas.

It also aims to pilot interventions for safe mobility and traffic management and incorporate environment-friendly features and energy efficient design principles and materials in all interventions that it will support, it added.

The project will cater to the differentiated needs of women and children, elderly and disabled. Women in Dhaka face challenges in terms of mobility, walkability and access to public infrastructure. 93 per cent of women reportedly do not use public toilets and 42 per cent perceive the city’s parks to be unsafe.

To improve personal safety and access for women and children, the project will ensure energy-efficient street lighting, police posts, health clinics, and other integrated amenities, according to the press release.

“Dhaka city accounts for about one-fifth of the country’s GDP and half of formal employment. Hence, Dhaka plays an important role in achieving the government’s vision of upper-middle income country,” it quoted Md. Zahidul Haque as saying.

“The project will help Dhaka offer features of a modern city to its residents,” said the ERD Additional Secretary.

The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 per cent and an interest of 1.25 per cent, according to the WB press release. 

The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed over $30.0 billion, mostly in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA programme totalling $12.4 billion.

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