Dhaka hoping for $40bn infrastructure boost from Xi visit to Bangladesh

Xi visit to Bangladesh: As President Xi Jinping prepares to become the first Chinese head of state to set foot in Bangladesh in  30 years, expectations are high among officials in Dhaka that his visit could see their impoverished country secure as much as $40bn in loans to help it make some much-needed improvements to its infrastructure. 
The Bangladeshi government has been pitching for Chinese support in the development of at least 21 projects relating to communication, power, fuel, information technology, industries and increased living standards, including the $2.57bn Padma Bridge and the $3bn Dhaka-Chittagong rail link projects. The Dhaka—Ashulia elevated expressway ($1.39bn) and the Sitakunda—Cox’s Bazar marine drive expressway and coastal protection project ($ 2.85bn) are also likely to be on the agenda, as well as a $1bn  ICT project designed to improve the country’s digital connectivity.  “We need big loans now for big infrastructures projects in order to build a developed Bangladesh by 2041,” former Bangladesh Bank governor Muhammad Farashuddin said.
Dhaka is also hoping that Xi’s visit will  give added impetus to plans for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor  that would link Kolkatta to  China’s western Yunnan Province  via Mandalay and Dhaka and, if the Dhaka-Chittagong rail link project gets the go ahead, give China access to the  Bay of Bengal at Chittagong. Like Beijing’s plans for the  China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the BCIM is part of the One Belt One Road initiative designed  to revive the old Silk Road trading routes and  to give China better access to global markets while simultaneously boosting the economies of its transit countries.
“I see His Excellency President Xi Jinping’s initiative of ‘Belt and Road’ as the creation of an economic land belt that includes countries on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as a maritime road that links China’s port facilities with the African coast, pushing up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean,” Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said. “We are working  closely to develop a quadrilateral economic space between Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar.” 
Currently visiting Cambodia for the first time Cambodia, President Xi is due in Dhaka tomorrow on his way to the 8th BRICS summit being held  in the Indian resort of Goa.
Source: thehindu