Relations with Bangladesh now deeper, more extensive: JICA

Senior vice president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Keiichiro Nakazawa has said Bangladesh is now one of the largest partners among the more than 100 partner countries.

“Over the past 50 years, the relationship between JICA and Bangladesh has become deeper and more extensive,” he said while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-JICA cooperation organized by the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and JICA in a city hotel on Thursday.

In the early days of cooperation, Nakazawa said, their focus was mainly on agriculture development. “Today, we are working in almost all sectors.”

JICA’s total assistance to Bangladesh for 50 years exceeds 96 billion yen in technical cooperation, 2.3 trillion yen as ODA loans, and 130 billion yen as grant aid.

Nakazawa also said mutual trust and confidence fostered between Bangladesh and Japan based upon every effort to each concerned personnel are the biggest accomplishment of 50 years of our cooperation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the celebrations through her video message.

JICA’s operation began in 1973 with the dispatch of three Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers to Bangladesh.

As the top bilateral development partner in Bangladesh, JICA is implementing a wide range of cooperation from urban to rural areas.

The construction of the three lines of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in Dhaka and the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Terminal 3 are some of the transformational projects supported by JICA.

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, PMO’s senior secretary Mohammad Tafazzel Hossain Miah, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh ItoNaoki also joined as special guests. The event was chaired by ERD secretary Fatima Yasmin.

Foreign secretary Masud said Bangladesh and Japan maintain a strategic partnership. “Mutual benefit, increasing trade and securing sustainable development is the key of this partnership.”

Tofazzel Hossain said JICA supports Bangladesh through mutual respect and understanding.

In the ceremony, the video message from ex-Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), in which everyone spoke in Bangla, was played on screen.

Ambassador Naoki said Japan looks forward to working closely with the government and the people of Bangladesh to build a win-win partnership for our prosperous future.

Just before the ceremony, JICA handed over a letter to ERD confirming the achievements of policy goals by the government of Bangladesh under the “COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan Phase 2.”

The goals include approvals of the guidelines of the government dispensaries, infection prevention control for community clinics, and accreditation of Nursing College.

Confirming those achievements, JICA will disburse remaining 10 billion Japanese Yen to the government of Bangladesh within June 2022.

The 40 billion Japanese Yen programme was agreed in November 2022 between JICA and the government of Bangladesh and 30 billion Japanese Yen was disbursed in December 2021.