OPEC Fund backs Bangladesh bridge with $75m

Dhaka from above

Co-financing construction of the Nalua-Baherchar Bridge will connect rural areas to Dhaka.

The OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC) has signed a $75m loan agreement with Bangladesh to improve connectivity and accessibility between the rural southwest regions and the capital Dhaka.

The new Nalua-Baherchar Bridge will be 1.3km long and cross the Pandab-Paira River. The project also includes the building of access roads and will dramatically improve connectivity between Dhaka and some of the poorest districts in the country’s southwest. Agriculture and fishing are still the main economic activities in Barisal and Patukhali, and travellers currently cross the river by ferry.

Co-financed between OPEC and the Bangladesh government, the new bridge will help improve travel time, capacity and costs by replacing the river ferry and will allow agricultural produce to reach marketplaces faster.

Bangladesh’s rapid economic growth has increased the demand for energy, transportation and urban development, making infrastructure development crucial for improving the country’s competitiveness and social outcomes. It has in place a five-year plan that is strongly focused on strengthening its transportation network.

OPEC Fund director general Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, commented: “We are pleased to support Bangladesh in its goal to advance its transport sector. A stronger transportation infrastructure lowers costs and travel times, increases competitiveness, and helps to expand intraregional trade.

This project will ultimately improve connectivity for nearly 1.6 million people. The OPEC Fund looks forward to further expand its strong partnership with Bangladesh.”

The OPEC Fund has supported Bangladesh for 45 years and is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively.