World Bank approves new interest-free loan for Bangladesh

The World Bank board has approved $200 million “interest-free” loan to Bangladesh to execute livelihood projects.
The lender says under this ‘Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement’ project about 5 million poor rural people will be benefitted in 21 districts.The board of directors approved the new credit at a meeting in Washington on Wednesday.
This project was built on the success and lessons of the ‘Social Investment Program’ project that started as a small-scale pilot in two of the poorest districts in 2003 and gradually expanded to 14 more districts.The loan, with a six-year grace period, has to be repaid in 38 years. It carries a 0.75 percent service charge.This project will “consolidate and scale-up the activities of its predecessor programmes to improve livelihoods, quality of lives and resiliencies of the poorest and vulnerable households,” the Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh Johannes Zutt was quoted as saying in a statement.Apart from helping the poor to generate their livings, the project will also offer funding for small rural infrastructures.“The project will mobilise the poor and extreme poor people, who often remain left out from micro credit schemes, by building and strengthening community institutions including Nuton Jibon Community Societies – second generation institutions”.The project will also raise nutrition awareness, share agricultural knowledge and continue focusing on creating youth employment opportunities further.