The implementation of the South West Bangladesh Economic Corridor Project (SWBEC) will enable the region's economic output to reach $ 148 billion by 2050, the Asian Bank announced. of development.
The amount is 3.3 times higher than the "business as usual" scenario, according to a study that was presented yesterday at an event at the Sonargaon hotel in the capital.
The proposed economic corridor aims to develop the late southeastern and northeastern regions of the country and integrate them with the dynamic growth centers of Dhaka and Chittagong.
The first phase of the proposed corridor runs from Jessore to Dhaka with an extension to Benapole and Payra Harbor.
Last month, the AfDB presented a detailed report on the economic corridor to the government.
The proposed corridor will involve a spine that cuts through major urban and economic centers, with connectivity to the main gateway to the region, according to the study.
The study suggested the management of multimodal transport on Jessore-Khulna-Bagerhat-Gopalganj-Teknaf-Bhanga-Dhaka roads for the corridor.
Other routes include Jessore-Magura-Faridpur-Dhaka via Paturia and Jessore-Narail-Kasiani-Bhanga via Padma Bridge.
SWBEC will include two industrial centers like Khulna and Dhaka covering six districts, where high-growth sectors will be promoted.
A phased approach for nodal development is recommended, with the development of the Dhaka node – which would include Dhaka, Narayanganj and Munshiganj – as a priority.
It would be followed by the Khulna knot which includes the districts of Khulna, Bagerhat and Jessore.
The study identified some potential areas likely to stimulate industrialization in this economic corridor.
The sectors include food processing, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather products, footwear, textiles and clothing, bicycles, automobiles and shipbuilding.
A robust infrastructure covering connectivity, logistics and multimodal transport gateway, as well as energy will be developed in the corridor to attract production and consumption centers and facilitate market access .
The study estimates that $ 140 billion of investments will be needed over the next 30 years for transformational infrastructure.
The study also suggests to include the Authority of Bangladesh Economic Zones and the Authority of Export Processing Zones of Bangladesh for the operation of the Economic Corridor offers.
At this event, Manmohan Parkash, director of the AfDB, said that Bangladesh wanted to achieve an economic growth of 8% by 2020. But for this, the country must set up such economic corridors .
The establishment of such economic corridors will create a significant number of jobs in the country, Parkash said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the issue of communication between the capital and the southwestern regions should be seriously considered.
In 2016, trade growth was slower than growth in national income. "It's a concern – it's a very unfortunate indicator for the economy."
There has been a decline in the demand for clothing almost everywhere, which is another cause for concern.
"We must focus on our domestic demand, domestic demand can be considerably increased."
The proposed Economic Corridor will not only create connectivity in the southwestern Bangladesh region, but also with some neighboring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan and the northeastern regions of India.