The Financial Express

Dhaka sees record $2.9b private investment pledge in 2020: World Bank

| Updated: May 18, 2021 12:59:27

Dhaka sees record $2.9b private investment pledge in 2020: World Bank

Bangladesh last year witnessed a record $2.9 billion investment commitment for its infrastructure development from private sector sponsors, according to a latest report published by the World Bank.

"The country's (Bangladesh) 2020 investment amounted to US$2.9 billion, a 190 per cent increase from 2019 levels, and increased investment as a share of GDP from 0.34 per cent to 0.97 per cent," said the report titled 'Private participation in infrastructure 2020: Annual report' released on Thursday.

Bangladesh received South Asia region's second highest private participation in infrastructure (PPI) investment, said the WB.

The investment commitment across seven projects was the highest in Bangladesh's history, placing it among the top five countries for the first time, added the WB.

Bangladesh is a new entrant to the top five countries and the first International Development Association (IDA) country to enter the list, the global lender said.

The other four top countries are Brazil, China, India and Mexico.

Bangladesh led 2020's investment commitments in IDA countries.

The most of 2020 PPI investment commitments for Bangladesh were channelled to a series of fossil fuel powered electric plants, the WB said.

"Although private investment commitments were high in Bangladesh in 2020, most of them were channelled to natural gas power projects instead of to the renewable sector," the WB said.

Conventional power plants received US$2.0 billion in 2020, compared with US$133 million investment commitments for two renewable power plants, according to the report.

Bangladesh had the financial closure of seven projects, including a mega project - the Reliance Meghnaghat Combined Cycle Power Plant, it added.

This trend is expected to continue for a while; Bangladesh, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, needs a robust power infrastructure that can sustain its long-term needs for electricity, the WB said.

PPI investments were made in the country in five successive years. A private company, mainly backed by Japanese financial institutions, is developing a 745 MW, liquid natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant in Bangladesh.

The project is India's largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Bangladesh power sector and represents the first phase of a proposed 3,000 MW gas-based, combined-cycle power project.

At global level, according to the report, investment commitments in 2020 stood at US$45.7 billion across 252 projects, marking a 52 per cent decline from 2019 levels.

Private investment commitments have not fallen to these levels since 2004, when investment totalled US$31.3 billion, it said.

"Nevertheless, despite the ongoing pandemic, investments in the second half of the year (H2) increased by 15 per cent from the first half of the year (H1), the report said.

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