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World Bank to provide $500m for creating technical manpower

FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | October 02, 2019 00:00:00

The World Bank (WB) will help Bangladesh develop its technical manpower through providing half a billion dollar of credit, officials said on Tuesday.

Since Bangladesh is setting up 100 special economic zones (SEZs) and its investment in the manufacturing sector is going up, the WB came forward with the support to facilitate the country's efforts in this regard, they said.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) is going to take up a US$ 700-$ 800 million worth of project titled "Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET)".

A ministry official said the Washington-based global lender has assured them of providing some $500 million worth of credit for implementing the project, which will help Bangladesh to build its manpower technically sound.

"Initially the project cost is likely to be $ 700 million to $ 800 million. The WB is expected to provide $500 million and the rest will be provided by the government from its internal resources," he added.

Besides, the project financing will be open for other overseas development partners of Bangladesh as well as the private sector, he added.

An Economic Relations Division (ERD) official said that a mission from the WB in the last month discussed with different relevant ministries and agencies of the government about the possible support to the ASSET project.

Following a better result from the WB-supported Skill and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) in Bangladesh, the global lender has assured Bangladesh of bankrolling a fresh project for developing technically sound human capital, the official added.

Under the proposed ASSSET project, the government will prepare the market-relevant curriculum and courses for developing high-quality skills, transform skills development for the undeserved and disadvantage groups, strengthen skills ecosystem and labour market efficiency for high-quality and optimal skills development.

The MoE official said that since the Bangladesh government is setting up 100 SEZs across the country expecting billions of dollars of foreign and local investments in the manufacturing sector, the demands for technical manpower will be increased.

"We are preparing the ASSET project with a view to develop our human capital for filling up the future demand in the local markets," he added.

When asked, the ERD official said they are expecting to complete negotiation by early next year for the proposed project.

The loan would be confirmed by middle of next year, he added.

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