According to a statement of the Washington-based bank received on Thursday, the project would provide financial support to 26 urban government bodies with high economic growth and job creation potential located along growth corridors leading from capital Dhaka towards four divisional cities - Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet and Mymensingh – a news agency reported.

Apart from this, it said that the project would also cover three district towns. "Bangladesh has experienced some of the most rapid urbanization in South Asia. Yet, the cities offer inadequate infrastructure and low levels of urban services, particularly in district towns and municipalities," said World Bank Director for Bangladesh Johannes Zutt.  

The country's urban population rose from 15 percent in 1980 to 28 percent in 2010, the World Bank statement said. It said municipalities and towns play key roles in supporting economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction and are growing rapidly. However, they face severe challenges such as weak municipal finances and governance systems, insufficient administrative capacity and inadequate basic urban services that constrain them from developing into competitive, innovative and liveable places, it added.

The project aims to build roads, water and sanitation systems, markets, bus terminals and municipal services centres in the communities, said the statement."Bangladesh represents a remarkable development story. It reduced the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 58.6 percent in 2000 to 43.3 percent in 2010 - a rate that was 60 percent faster than the rest of the developing world except China," Zutt said.

"For the World Bank, Bangladesh is an important partner in its global goal of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity by 2030. We are committed to supporting Bangladesh's goal of becoming a middle income country by its 50th birthday (December 16, 2021)," Zutt added.


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