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Bangladesh Seeks $8.9 Billion in New Development Bank Loans for Bridge Projects

The Bangladesh government has sought loans from the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), to finance the construction of five bridges at an estimated cost of around $8.87 billion, according to the Bangladesh Bridges Division, reports the Feb. 3 Business Standard newspaper.

An NDB delegation, led by Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vladimir Kazbekov, visited Bangladesh on Jan. 21-23. During this period, discussions were held with the Bridges Division regarding the financing of various development projects.

The Bangladesh government is asking for financing for a 4.7 km bridge-road over the Kalabodor and Tetulia Rivers (cost: $1.6 billion); a 9.2 km bridge on the Bhola-Lakshipur Road over the Meghina River (cost: $3.4 billion), and three other bridges. Feasibility or pre-feasibility studies have been completed on all four bridges and one bridge/tunnel.

Bangladesh, a nation of 170 million people, with significant pockets of poverty, was admitted as a member of the NDB on Sept. 2, 2021; in June 2023 it applied for membership in the BRICS, which had founded the New Development Bank in 2015. The country especially needs infrastructure, such as bridges, rail, electricity, health and hospital systems, to generate physical economic growth.

In addition to the Bridges Department, Business Standard reports that officials of the New Development Bank delegation held separate meetings with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism; the Ministry of Railways, Local Government Division, Road Transport and Highways Division; the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources; and the Ministry of Local Government, and Rural Development and Co-Operatives. Business Standard reports that as a result of these meetings, Bangladesh is seeking for all the discussed projects a sum of $23 billion in NDB financing.

This sum may put an initial strain on the NDB, but it can serve as a spur for the New Development Bank to increase its capital base, to meet the needs for real development.