IFC in Bangladesh focuses on sustainable private sector development by providing financing, while providing advisory support including facilitating improvements in doing business and promoting competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. IFC draws on its global and local experience and provides a combination of investments and advisory services to its clients in the country.
In FY 14, IFC invested $428 million in 13 projects in Bangladesh. IFC has a large advisory program in Bangladesh, with support from the UK Government, European Union, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Dutch and other donor financiers. IFC works in areas that are important for the Bangladesh economy such as agriculture, infrastructure, financial markets, and energy efficiency. Our work in the country is aligned toward the priorities of:
Expanding the availability and affordability of finance: IFC supported the financial sector development in Bangladesh with $337 million in committed investments in FY14. Since 1990 IFC boosted the potential of pioneering sectors by taking stake and catalyzing investments in pioneering companies – opening them up to wider participation – leading to the advent of the country’s first leasing company, first mortgage finance company, first independent power project, the first bank dedicated to small and medium enterprises, the first private equity fund, the first ever foreign direct investment in the insurance sector, and the first mobile payment platform. IFC provides debt, equity and guarantee products in sectors including financial markets, infrastructure, agribusiness and manufacturing to help enhance employment opportunities, fuel growth and spur innovation. IFC works with financial intermediaries to help increase access to finance for small enterprises; supports product standardization and new product development; and promotes environmentally friendly financing.
Improving business environment: IFC assists the government to simplify business regulation and bring down the cost of doing business - supporting the growth of the private sector. In keeping with the government’s agenda for a “Digital Bangladesh,” IFC promotes efficiency and transparency in public sector agencies through e-governance, establishment of an online tax payment portal, automation of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies. IFC has also supported the adoption of alternative dispute mechanisms (arbitration and mediation) in Bangladesh to accelerate the appeals procedures.
Promoting sustainability in agriculture: Bangladesh has been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. To help ensure food security and climate change adaptation, IFC is working with partners and farmers in the seeds sector, supporting climate resilient agriculture. In the poultry sector, IFC helps farmers convert poultry waste to electricity - creating an alternative source of energy for farms. IFC also trains farmers in farm management to improve their competitiveness and access to finance. A leading Bangladesh agriculture company was the first instance of private sector utilization of IFC-managed Global Agriculture and Food Security facility.
Promoting Clean Growth and Resource Efficiency: IFC is promoting cleaner production and resource efficiency in the textiles and apparels sector. IFC completed the cleaner production project with 18 factories in Bangladesh leading to savings of $2 million and 1.26 million cubic meters of water through resource efficiency measures. The work in this space is being expanded to reach more factories. Additionally, IFC’s $11 million Partnership for Cleaner Textile program aims to reduce environmental and related social impacts that result from prevailing practices in textile wet processing, particularly excessive groundwater extraction and surface water pollution. Program results will improve the global and local ‘license to operate’ of the textiles sector in Bangladesh and strengthen its long-term competitiveness.
Improving worker safety: IFC is promoting safety in the readymade garments sector through improvements in emergency preparedness and regulatory regime; and alternative dispute resolution. In doing so, the project expects to make a significant contribution to safeguarding 4.2 million jobs. IFC will also work on a Better Work program jointly with ILO to improve labor standards.