The government of Bangladesh expects to receive more than €250 million from Germany mainly to safeguard the livelihoods of Covid-hit workers who are at a heightened risk of being pushed into poverty.
The country is also expected to get German assistance for several other areas, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development and good governance.
The amount of financial assistance will be finalised at a meeting, entitled "Negotiations on Bangladesh-German Bilateral Development Cooperation-2020", to be held virtually on 28-29 October this year, said Dr Gauranga Chandra Mohanta,additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
Representatives of various government and German organisations will be present at the meeting, he added.
Dr Ute Heinbuch, head of the South Asia Division at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and Dr Gauranga Chandra Mohanta will lead their respective sides.
During the last negotiations in November 2018, Germany committed to providing €200 million for several sectors.
The German side has already sent a draft summary record on the latest negotiations on development cooperation between the two countries to the ERD.
Temporary cash support for Covid-affected workers
In its new commitments, the German government has informed the Bangladesh government that it has partnered with the European Union to assist vulnerable workers in export-oriented garment and leather industries.
Temporary cash assistance will be provided to workers who are suffering income losses during the pandemic and have lost jobs because of reduced worldwide demand.
Eligible workers will receive Tk3,000 per month for at least three months.
To this end, the European Union initially created a welfare fund amounting to €93 million. Later, Germany announced another €20 million in grant for it. Now the total fund stands at €113 million.
Thus the government will identify them in close coordination with the employers' associations in the textile, garment and leather industries.
In the meantime, for the programme for sustainability in the textile and leather sectors, the German government committed up to €500,000 through a verbal note on 3 August this year.
Initially the project cost was €7.5 million as an immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This additional budget will be used to raise textile workers' awareness on pandemic risks and prevention, health protection and dealing with the social and economic consequences of the crisis.
An increase in budget for employment injury protection scheme
A pilot phase for an employment injury insurance scheme with selected factories was agreed upon in 2019. The project was too late to start due to Covid-19.
To continue support for the scheme, the German government made a commitment to increase the project budget and extend it by one more year, until the end of 2021.
Livable and inclusive cities for all
The German government will support infrastructure and services in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner for a growing population in the cities.
The project, "Livable and inclusive cities for all", intends to strengthen the institutional capacities of selected cities to provide their citizens with basic urban services in a climate-resilient and ecologically sustainable and integrative manner.
Commitments for energy efficiency
Seeking anonymity, an ERD official said as committed through a verbal note on 1 August 2020, Germany will provide an additional €40 million for energy efficiency in grid based power supply for the central zone -2 project.
The original commitment made during the intergovernmental negotiations on 19 November 2018 was €60 million.
Promotion of climate-friendly energy supply
Germany will also provide funds for the promotion of climate-friendly energy supply projects.
According to the draft summary record, as a response to the persistent investment needs of electricity distribution companies, the German government intends to provide a soft loan for further modernising the electricity distribution infrastructure and developing the networks into "smart grids". It will also provide support for skill development for sustainable energy solutions.
The German government will provide geo-information for the implementation of climate change-resilient urbanisation.
In the summary record, Germany said rapid urbanisation driven by climate change and population growth has negatively affected the natural drainage system and floodplains in Bangladesh.
In order to reduce the negative effects of climate change and natural geogenic conditions on the urban population, information about subsoil conditions, earthquake hazards, flooding and uplift is required.
Germany will provide additional funds to ensure the financing of services to the climate change adapted urban development project.
Moreover, Germany will also help women and communities in sustainable dispute resolution, and support the host and Rohingya communities in Bangladesh.