Bangladesh Becomes the Vice President of ADB: What Does It Mean?


The appointment of a Bangladeshi as the Vice President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a momentous occasion for Bangladesh. This development carries immense importance for the country’s economic and diplomatic standing, especially as it aligns with the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s relationship with the ADB. The accomplishment mentioned above not only highlights the growing influence of Bangladesh on the world stage, but also signifies the recognition of its impressive progress in various fields.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank that was established in 1966 and currently has 68 member states. It has maintained a strong and enduring relationship with Bangladesh for over fifty years, making their collaborative partnership a remarkable model for other developing nations. ADB’s primary objectives are focused on fostering economic growth, alleviating poverty, enhancing cooperation, and facilitating sustainable development in emerging nations. ADB’s involvement in Bangladesh has encompassed a wide range of sectors, including infrastructure development, agriculture, education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability. Through its funding and support, ADB has helped implement key projects in these sectors, contributing to the overall socio-economic progress of Bangladesh.

Moreover, ADB’s collaboration with Bangladesh has facilitated regional cooperation and integration. It has promoted cross-border initiatives, connectivity, and trade facilitation to enhance economic integration within the region. This regional approach has further strengthened the ties between Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries, fostering a spirit of cooperation and mutual development.

As of the present time, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made a commitment to provide a total of $28.3 billion in the form of 701 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance to Bangladesh. The total amount of loan and grant disbursements to Bangladesh has reached $21.19 billion. The financing for these projects was provided through both regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, as well as the Asian Development Fund and various other special funds. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) currently maintains a sovereign portfolio in Bangladesh, consisting of a total of 70 loans and 4 grants, with a combined value of $11.31 billion. Furthermore, it is worth noting that all of these projects, ranging from those initiated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to those implemented in Bangladesh, have demonstrated a firm dedication to promoting prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable forms of development.

The significance of Bangladesh’s Vice Presidency in ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently issued a press release regarding the selection of Fatima Yasmin, a highly accomplished professional from Bangladesh, for the role of vice-president for Sectors and Themes. The duration of this appointment is scheduled to span three years, signifying a significant milestone within the organization. In her role as the Vice President for Sectors and Themes, she will assume a crucial role in influencing the strategic trajectory and policies of the bank. In a notable development spanning various sectors, it has been announced that she will be assuming a prestigious role as one of the five Vice Presidents at the regional development bank, which is headquartered in the vibrant city of Manila.

The announcement issued by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is filled with various ramifications. The initial assertion is all about highlighting the goals and transformative initiatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which clearly shows their dedication to promoting greater cooperation in future endeavours. The geopolitical factors in the South Asia, South East Asia, and Indo-Pacific regions, filled with intricate dynamics and interplay, alongside the remarkable economic growth of developing countries, have given rise to a pressing demand for a novel and transformative form of economic transition. This transition aims to tackle the global economic crisis head-on and bounce back from the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Simultaneously, the economies of developing countries have begun to bloom with investments and cooperative gestures. On the flip side, it’s worth noting that politics has seamlessly intertwined with economics in developing countries.

However, it is worth noting that the incorporation of Bangladesh into a position of leadership within the geostrategic domain seeks to establish a strong bond between influential and accomplished actors in the realm of policy development. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, it is worth noting that the economy of Bangladesh has experienced significant growth in recent times. The incorporation of Bangladesh into the ADB is like a shining star among other developing countries, signifying the recognition of ADB for the remarkable achievements and progress made by Bangladesh. Moreover, the inclusion further sparks the opportunity for Bangladesh to forge a deeper connection with the ADB, paving the way for the transformative journey of a developing nation in 2026 and ultimately transitioning into a fully developed country by 2041.

Moreover, the decision rendered by the ADB signifies a significant accomplishment for both Bangladesh and the ADB. This decision exemplifies the growing recognition of the expertise and knowledge held by individuals from Bangladesh on an international level. Hence, Bangladesh has successfully achieved several prominent leadership roles across diverse international arenas, with a particular focus on climate change, poverty alleviation, gender parity, social welfare, and sustainable progress.

Nevertheless, Bangladesh has exhibited noteworthy advancements across multiple sectors throughout the previous decade. Specifically, notable progress has been achieved in the areas of poverty alleviation, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, and the attainment of rapid economic growth. Bangladesh has emerged as a notable exemplar to be emulated in these areas. When considering the selection of a leader to bolster these sectors, Bangladesh stands out as the preeminent choice for any institution.

Furthermore, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently implemented a significant modification to its operational structure through the establishment of the Sectors Group and the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Department. The decision mentioned above exemplifies the Asian Development Bank’s commitment to addressing pressing global challenges and promoting sustainable development in the region. The Sectors Group will play a crucial role in the coordination and implementation of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) initiatives across a wide range of sectors.

The framework encompasses a range of sectors, including agriculture, education, energy, finance, health, and transport, among others. The main aim of the Sectors Group is to enhance collaboration and promote a comprehensive approach to development initiatives by utilizing the knowledge and skills of professionals from various disciplines. Simultaneously, the Department of Climate Change and Sustainable Development will place emphasis on the mitigation of climate change and the advocacy of a military program.

Bangladesh has consistently exhibited its role as an advocate for vulnerable nations in both of these domains. Bangladesh has proactively endeavoured to mitigate the challenges presented by climate change, demonstrating a commendable level of commitment and engagement. Moreover, Bangladesh has consistently emphasized the concerns of inequality and disparity within the global climate change discourse across diverse sectors.

Finally, the appointment also symbolizes the robustness of Bangladesh’s administrative position. In the last decade, the government of Bangladesh has implemented a range of administrative domains with the explicit objective of targeting specific issues and facilitating problem resolution. The specification and divergence of administrative systems have played a crucial role in facilitating the development process, while also establishing a leadership or expertise position within a particular domain.

Therefore, the appointment of Bangladesh citizen as its vice president serves as a demonstration of the Asian Development Bank’s commitment to fostering expertise and nurturing effective leadership attributes within its membership. By virtue of her extensive expertise and profound comprehension spanning various industries and subjects, she possesses the requisite qualifications to offer valuable contributions in addressing the pressing challenges encountered by the region within the bank’s initiatives.

In the conclusion, the appointment of a Bangladesh citizen as a vice president of the ADB is a significant achievement that goes beyond personal success. It serves as a shining example of Bangladesh’s unwavering commitment to fostering economic progress and advancement. Bangladesh, without a doubt, has shown its incredible prowess in the realm of development, leaving no room for doubt. Particularly noteworthy is its exceptional ability to establish a solid foundation for future progress, setting the stage for even greater achievements. Furthermore, by harnessing the power of economic diplomacy, Bangladesh has successfully fostered collaborative initiatives with the global community, predominantly focusing on trade and investment. Therefore, it can be said that the decision to include a representative from Bangladesh in the direction panel of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is in line with the ADB’s policy-making framework. This decision also highlights the impressive achievements of Bangladesh in the field of developments and diplomacy.

– S. M. Saifee Islam is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

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