After World Bank Withdraws, China Agrees to Finance $3.14 Billion Multi-Purpose Bridge in Bangladesh

Bangladesh and the China Export-Import Bank agreed to a 15-year, $3.14 billion loan on July 23 for the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.  The loan carries a 5‑year grace period and an interest rate of 2%.  In countries, such as Thailand and Serbia, interest rates have become a sticking point in negotiations for infrastructure projects.

The apparent smooth process of talks between the Bangladeshi government and China Exim Bank may be a result of Dhaka’s poor reputation among other development financiers.  The World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank had initially all committed funding, but withdrew following allegations of corruption – claims that a Canadian court later dismissed.

The 6‑km bridge will connect Louhajong and Shariatpur, carrying a four-lane highway on the upper level, and a single-track railway on the lower level.