In a busy textile factory in Bangladesh, Krisno Kumar Das carefully guides fabric into a dyeing machine, secure in the knowledge that precious resources and money are no longer swirling down the drain.
Not long ago, his employer, Textown, joined forces with the IFC-led Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) to switch to more sustainable production methods. This slashed the amounts of energy, dye, and chemicals the company used, and cut water consumption by 11 million liters per year — equal to more than four Olympic-size swimming pools.
PaCT — which is funded by Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands — has provided on-site assessments to more than 200 factories over the past five years. Its advice has helped reduce water use by 21 billion liters per year in Bangladesh. These factories also cut energy consumption and reduced greenhouse emissions by 460,000 tons annually — equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road.
South Asia’s GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent is driven mainly by India and Bangladesh. Private consumption is strong and investment is buoyed by infrastructure projects and reforms. Yet, despite the region’s recent economic progress, more than 250 million South Asians still live in extreme poverty.
That is why the region is a strategic priority for IFC. In FY18, we provided $3.4 billion in financing for businesses in South Asia, including $1.3 billion mobilized from other investors. Our clients distributed gas to about 1.1 million customers, provided more than 590,000 jobs, and created opportunities for more than 1.6 million farmers.
In 2017, we arranged a $125.7 million financing package for Bangladesh’s first liquefied natural-gas import terminal. When complete, the terminal will enable the state-owned Petrobangla to increase the country’s natural-gas supply by up to 20 percent, enough to support 3,000 megawatts of power-generation capacity.
In India, we are supporting the country’s ambitious program to clean up the Ganga River. In FY18, we helped structure the first public-private partnership to enable private companies to build sewage treatment plants in Haridwar, Mathura, and Varanasi — cities that discharge millions of liters of untreated sewage into the river. The three plants will process more than 200 million liters of sewage per day, improving water quality for millions of people.
In Nepal, which depends heavily on tourism, we invested $1.7 million in Himalayan Chain Resorts. IFC’s investment will help the company to expand its current chain of three lodges to 10 along the Gokyo Lakes Trail and Everest Base Camp Trail in the Khumbu/Everest region of Nepal. The expansion is expected to create 120 jobs.