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Bangladesh signs $100.5m deal with World Bank to improve Dhaka South neighbourhoods

  • Published at 07:44 am May 29th, 2019
Dhaka has ranked the second least liveable city in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual global survey Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The project will upgrade living conditions in four Dhaka neighbourhoods

The government has signed a $100.5 million financing agreement with the World Bank to improve the living conditions in four large Dhaka neighbourhoods – affecting a million residents.

The "Dhaka City Neighbourhood Upgrading Project" will expand public spaces and enhance urban services in four Dhaka South City Corporation neighbourhoods: Kamrangirchar, Lalbagh, Sutrapur-Nayabazar-Gulistan, and Khilgaon-Mugda-Bashabo.

The project will help upgrade public spaces—such as parks, playgrounds, waterfronts, streets, sidewalks—and transform public buildings, like community centers, into multipurpose facilities to serve communities.

 “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," said Zahid Hussain, acting World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

"But due to inadequate infrastructure, a lack of public amenities and severe traffic congestion, the residents face many difficulties in their everyday lives," he said. “The project will address some of these challenges and help enhance the quality of civic life.” 

The four localities were selected through a series of consultations with multiple stakeholder groups. 

The project will help enhance green open spaces by improving selected parks, streets, and waterfront areas. It will also pilot interventions for safe mobility and traffic management and incorporate: environment-friendly features, energy-efficient design principles, and materials – in all interventions that it will support.

 The project will also cater to the differentiated needs of women and children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.

Women in Dhaka face challenges in terms of mobility and access to public infrastructure. About 93% of women reportedly do not use public toilets, and 42% perceive the city’s parks to be unsafe. To improve personal safety and access for women and children, the project will install energy-efficient streetlights, police posts, clinics, and introduce other integrated amenities.

“Dhaka city accounts for about one-fifth of the country’s GDP and half of formal employment," said Md Zahidul Haque, additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division. "Hence, Dhaka plays an important role in achieving the government’s vision of an upper-middle income country.” 

He added: “The project will help Dhaka offer features of a modern city to its residents.”

The agreement was signed by Md Zahidul Haque and Zahid Hussain on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division. 

The credit, from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, plus carries a service charge of 0.75% and an interest rate of 1.25%.  

Since Bangladesh's independence, the World Bank has committed over $30 billion, mostly in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. It currently has the largest IDA program totaling $12.4 billion.

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