July 25, 2021, 5:36 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-06-16 05:59:23 BdST

Korea provides 700 million USD of EDCF concessional loan to BD

South Korea will provide US $ 700 million Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) loan to Bangladesh during 2021 and 2025 period to implement over a dozen of projects, including health, infrastructure, digital investigation, highway safety and counter trafficking.

This decision was shared by Korean Ambassador in Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun with Ms. Fatima Yasmin, Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the Ministry of Finance, during the ODA Projects Review Meeting between the Embassy and ERD held virtually on Tuesday (June 15).

Bangladesh and the Replublic of Korea have been discussing this plan since last year and, upon the completion of necessary domestic procedures, will sign a Framework Agreement which contains detailed conditions and the list of potential projects to be considered, said the Korean Embassy.

At the meeting, the Korean Embassy and ERD reviewed a number of other ongoing and new development assistance projects between the two governments, including those under implementation through Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Bangladesh is a priority development partner of South Korea and the second-largest recipient of Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) loan.

Korea has provided USD 1.24 billion EDCF loan and USD 172 million in grants through KOICA since 1991 in various sectors, including public administration, vocational training and education, transport, ICT-based communication, public administration, water management, and public health.

At the meeting, the Embassy also introduced Knowledge Sharing Programme (KSP), a platform for development cooperation aiming to share knowledge with development partner countries and develop a solid foundation for the expansion of economic and political cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Embassy recommended the ERD to consider ways to improve the efficiency of development cooperation, including the facilitation of customs clearance and tax exemption on grant equipment and items in accordance with the Framework Agreement for grant aid between the two governments.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador Lee Jang-keun, Secretary Fatima Yasmin, ERD officials, Korea EXIM Bank Bangladesh Office, KOICA Bangladesh Office, and KSP manager of Korea Development Institute.

The major projects under EDCF and KOICA assistance are: Establishment of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and Integrated Maritime Navigation System (IMNS), Bhandal Jhuri Water Supply Project, Establishment of a Multi-disciplinary and Super-specialized Hospital at BSMMU, Procurement of 150 Nos. Meter Gauge Passenger Carriages, Procurement of 20 Nos. Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives, Procurement of 20 Nos. Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives, Establishment of Upazila ICT Training and Resource Centers for Education, COVID-19 Emergency Response Programme, Menstrual Health Management of Adolescent Girls and Women in Cox’s Bazar, Safer Cyberspace for Digital Bangladesh: Enhancing National & Regional Digital Investigation Capability of Bangladesh Police, Improving the Reliability and Safety in National Highway Corridors of Bangladesh by Introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems, Better Employment with competency-based Skills Training (BEST), Capacity Building of Universities in Bangladesh to promote youth entrepreneurship, Strengthening Ability of Fire Emergency Response, Eye Health Promotion and Prevention of Blindness in Bangladesh and Comprehensive Counter Trafficking Programme to address Human Trafficking in Bangladesh.

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