Govt working to transform youths into skilled work force: PM
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Bangladesh has never fallen into a debt trap, never defaulted: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was welcomed at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington by the organization’s Bangladesh Head (Country Director) Abdulai Sek. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has never defaulted on debt payments and has never fallen into a debt trap. He urged global development partners, including the World Bank, to continue investing in digital and physical infrastructure to transform Bangladesh into a smart Bangladesh by 2041. The Prime Minister made this call during an informal exchange of views with the Executive Board of Directors on the occasion of 50 years of partnership between Bangladesh and the World Bank at the Shihata conference room at the World Bank headquarters in Washington today. The Prime Minister said, ‘The current situation indicates the scope for growth and adaptability of our economy. Bangladesh has never defaulted or fallen into the so-called debt trap. The Prime Minister said that his government wants to develop more partnerships with the World Bank. “We now want to look to the future of our partnership,” he said. The World Bank must remain focused on the core goals of poverty alleviation and development financing.’ He said, ‘The World Bank is actively involved in our digital transformation. Our government has kept its promise to our people by building Digital Bangladesh by 2021. We have set our next goal to become a knowledge-based Smart Bangladesh by 2041. The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh has achieved great success in food security, free and affordable housing, community health care, compulsory primary education, women’s empowerment, and financial inclusion. The Prime Minister urged development partners like the World Bank to continue investing in Bangladesh’s digital and physical infrastructure. He said, ‘We want international cooperation for trade diversification, investment growth, and domestic wealth generation. Sheikh Hasina said that the World Bank is now committed to 53 different projects costing 1.5 trillion dollars in Bangladesh and this money is part of the 3,900 billion dollars in grants and loans the bank gave so far. He said, ‘Our performance in human capital formation is consistent with our investment in infrastructure mega projects. Construction of 6.1 km Padma multi-purpose bridge with Bangladesh’s own financial and technical resources is a sign of our economic maturity.”He further said that Bangladesh has food security, free and affordable housing, community health care, compulsory primary education, women empowerment, financial inclusion, and electricity – It has achieved great success in facilities and disaster preparedness. “We want to achieve our goals of universal health care, quality education, child welfare, skill development, urban development, sustainable industrialization, environmental protection, and building effective institutions,” he said, adding that developing countries are committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The World Bank needs to increase funding to provide opportunities. The Prime Minister later joined the World Bank’s East Dining Room for a post-plenary lunch with the institution’s Presidents, MDs, and VPs. Later, Sheikh Hasina delivered a speech entitled ‘Reflections on 50 years of World Bank-Bangladesh Partnership’ at the World Bank’s Preston Auditorium. We are witnessing some big changes in the geoeconomy this year. These have implications for the economy of Bangladesh during the transition. I believe the World Bank is also preparing itself for the future. The Prime Minister said, ‘We are launching a Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan to accelerate our green transition in key sectors. We need $230 billion by 2050 for adaptation alone. The World Bank will have an opportunity to give us fruitful assurances on this during the Climate Finance Summit in Paris in June. The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction regarding the meeting with the Board of Governors of the World Bank. Regarding the World Bank’s support for the repatriation of the Rohingyas, the Prime Minister said that the World Bank has increased the grant assistance for the 1.2 million Rohingya forcibly displaced from Myanmar in Bangladesh. Their prolonged presence is becoming a big challenge for Bangladesh. He said, ‘Bangladesh has shown that they can keep their promises. I am confident that our young generation will take our nation forward in the right political environment. We want to expand our role as responsible and contributing members of the country. The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh’s economic diplomacy is continuing based on this foreign policy of ‘friendship with all, enmity with none’. He expressed hope, “Bangladesh’s international partners will focus on the positive days of our progress and join us in a promising development journey in the future.

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