The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is going to launch a fresh project aiming to spur economic activities and create employment in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
The project is also designed to develop rural infrastructures, establish a marketing system and encourage private sector investment in the region.
Currently, a 19-member team is working to asses the existing socio-economic situation of the region for implementation of the project.
Sources, however, said the team is likely to submit their assessment report to the UNDP by the end of December for final approval.
"We will finance the project in line with the assessment report," a UNDP senior official told the FE Tuesday, adding that a UN joint formulation mission on 'Promotion Economic Opportunities in Chittagong Hill Tracts' is now working in this connection under the Programme on Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT.
According to the sources, young people of all communities in the CHT will be employed in both formal and informal sectors. A high unemployment rate has led youths into frustration, drug abuse and illegal activities in the hilly region.
Under the project, village road and trail networks will be assessed in the multi-community areas, and improvements will be made through on-going 'Food for Work' schemes particularly to enhance market access in these areas.
Now-a-days, limited marketing system and poor infrastructure facilities have created major bottlenecks to the CHT economic development, the sources noted.
A CHT Investment Fund will be established and administered by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) and operated through banking arrangement.
Private sector investment will be made to extract high economic potentials of the CHT, the UNDP said in its document.
However, a dialogue on 'Promoting Economic Opportunities in the CHT: Role of the private sector, government and CHT Institutions' will be held at IDB Bhaban, Agargoan in Dhaka on November 24.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the UNDP will jointly organise the dialogue as part of the assessment of the project.
The CHT, an area of 13,295 square kilometers, has stretched to the south eastern part of Bangladesh, bordering the Arakan and Chin States of Myanmar, and Tripura and Mizoram states of India. The region comprises three districts like Rangmati, Khagrachari and Banderban.
The CHT holds vast economic potentials and if these could be successfully tapped, it will in turn, contribute significantly to the prosperity and development of the region, the sources observed.