(Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP) (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
THE WORLD Bank has approved $600 million for two projects in Bangladesh on Thursday (20) to help the country to emerge from Covid-19. The projects are meant to increase the employability and livelihood opportunities of more than 1.75 million poor and vulnerable people, including women, disadvantaged groups, and returnee migrant workers.
“In Bangladesh, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods of thousands of people, particularly female workers, youth, and returnee migrant workers,” said Dandan Chen, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “These two projects will help empower and mobilize rural poor people, prepare them for the future job market and support entrepreneurial opportunities, especially women and disadvantaged groups.”
The Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET) project will receive $300 million and will help in equipping more than one million youth and workers with skills needed for the jobs of the future. The project will target youth, women, and disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities, to help them in learning skills and connecting them to the labor market. It will also support industries to retrain their workers to emerge from the pandemic.
The remaining $300 million will go to the Resilience, Entrepreneurship, and Livelihood Improvement (RELI) project that will help improve the livelihoods of about 750,000 poor and vulnerable rural people across 3,200 villages in 20 districts. It will help to organize and build the capacity of village groups and finance their community plans for micro-loans, giving priority to the poor, women, and youth. With 90 per cent of the beneficiaries expected to be women, the project is expected to support entrepreneurship, encourage crop diversification and good nutritional practices, while raising awareness of climate risk adaptation, the spread of diseases, and gender-based violence.
Both ASSET and RELI have a maturity of 30 years including a grace period of 5 years.