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Diplomats, Journalists from Russia and Africa Forge Alliance to Develop Information Strategy

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Russia and Africa have joined forces to craft a comprehensive information strategy, as revealed during the Second International Journalists Forum held on Thursday, April 18, both online and offline.

Organized by the Russian-African Club in collaboration with the Faculty of Journalism and the Faculty of Global Studies of Lomonosov Moscow State University, and backed by the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the forum drew a diverse array of participants. Diplomats, government officials from African nations, media executives, producers, TV hosts, journalists, public figures, scholars, educators, and representatives from cultural and media sectors converged, totaling around 100 individuals from 32 countries spanning Russia, Africa, the Middle East, India, Bangladesh, and Brazil.

The forum, moderated by Alexander Berdnikov, Executive Secretary of the Russian-African Club, featured notable figures such as Anna Gladkova, Louis Gouend, and Ilya Shershnev from Lomonosov Moscow State University. Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, conveyed a welcoming address stressing the pivotal role of truthful media in shaping perceptions of current events. He also highlighted the significance of the upcoming Russia-Africa Ministerial Conference scheduled for November in Sochi, emphasizing the need for a robust information framework to facilitate productive discussions.

Elena Vartanova, Dean of the Journalism Faculty of Lomonosov MSU, extended greetings and underscored the intensified efforts of the Russian-African Club ahead of the university’s 270th anniversary. Yves Ekoué Amaiso from Togo emphasized the imperative of devising a unified media strategy amidst the ongoing political, economic, and information dynamics influenced by the Global West.

Subsequent speakers, including Zenebe Kinfu, Leonard Dossou, Ondua Ovona Joseph Julien, and Tokologu Tau, deliberated on the growing Western influence on African media and proposed concrete measures to bolster collaboration between Russian and African journalists.

Jamal Othman, Head of the Main Department for Media Content Monitoring in Libya, shed light on his organization’s role in combating misinformation and promoting tolerance.

Ilya Shershnev reiterated the significance of advancing preventive journalism, announcing plans for an innovative training course encompassing areas such as public diplomacy, fake news mitigation, and peacebuilding, underscoring Moscow State University’s commitment to fostering a new frontier in the information domain.

Renowned Indian expert, professor, and journalist Dwivedi Ratnesh highlighted Russia as a blueprint for India in terms of governmental support for national media activities, balancing control with respect for journalists’ independent and constructive opinions.

Maxim Reva, Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Economics at the African Initiative news agency, showcased the agency’s three correspondent points established directly in Africa – in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. He underscored the paramount importance of personal communication between media professionals and the audience. Reva also pointed out the significant potential of African graduates from Soviet and Russian universities who have emerged as leading specialists in African countries.

Joining the session online from Cameroon, Club expert, International Journalist, and Academician of Petrovsky Academy of Sciences and Arts, Sergei Chesnokov, participating in the fourth investment forum, highlighted the keen interest of Cameroonians in the Russian delegation, expressing a desire for an equal partnership.

Patrick Boyanga Bozi, President of the Congolese Diaspora in Russia, expressed confidence in Africans’ immunity to correctly perceive information, stemming from the historically friendly relations between Russia and Africa.

Entrepreneur Georges Romain Zobo from Congo, a graduate of a Soviet university, stressed the necessity for practical measures to provide information support to small and medium-sized agricultural businesses in Africa.

Said Ali, President of the Malagasy diaspora in Russia, endorsed the Russian-African Club of Lomonosov Moscow State University’s activities, deeming it a pivotal organization for advancing the Russian agenda in Africa.

Africanist and writer Igor Sid highlighted Africa’s perennial role as a source of new perspectives, generously shared with the global community.

Concluding the proceedings, Alexander Berdnikov, Executive Secretary of the Russian-African Club of Lomonosov Moscow State University, affirmed that all proposals from the forum participants would be considered by the Journalists Association of Russia and African Countries. The forum’s main thrust emphasized the necessity of crafting an information strategy to bolster Russian-African relations.

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Major American Corporations Eye Investments in Bangladesh: State Minister

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State Minister Ahsanul Islam

State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu announced on Tuesday (May 28) that major American conglomerates, including Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing, are showing keen interest in investing in Bangladesh.

“We are working to streamline the investment process for American companies, ensuring they can operate smoothly without any obstacles,” State Minister Titu told reporters following a meeting with a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister highlighted that the discussion focused on simplifying investment procedures and removing any barriers that might deter new American companies from entering the Bangladeshi market.

A representative from Amazon attended the meeting, where discussions centered on the potential for Amazon to integrate Bangladeshi products into its global supply chain and enhance the local e-commerce infrastructure. “Amazon is looking into establishing a central warehouse in Bangladesh to facilitate regional and international product distribution,” Titu added.

The US delegation also explored opportunities in energy, digital payments, and startup sectors.

Titu outlined the primary goals of the United States-Bangladesh Business Council: improving market access for Bangladeshi products, facilitating US investments in Bangladesh, and strengthening bilateral relations. These efforts align with the government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy aimed at strategic growth.

Addressing concerns about some American companies withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh’s capital market, Titu emphasized the importance of welcoming international conglomerates. “If Facebook, Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing become involved in Bangladesh’s business landscape, it will significantly ease the country’s progress,” he stated.

Titu also mentioned Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and stressed the importance of securing market access in various countries within the next two years.

He assured that the government is committed to attracting international investors through policy support, emphasizing Bangladesh’s potential as a significant market with a stable government expected for the next five years.

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Bond Market Reforms Key to Investment Growth: Salman F Rahman

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Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today underscored the need to bolster the country’s capital market to secure funding for investors.

“Globally, the capital market is the primary source for raising finance for investors. However, in our country, businessmen typically rely on bank loans for mid-term investments or expansion. We are working towards improving the bond market,” he stated.

Salman made these remarks following a meeting with an executive business delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Bhaban in the city, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Board Chair of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and President and CEO of Excelerate Energy, Steven Kobos, along with President of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and South Asian Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador (ret) Atul Keshap, among others.

Speaking to reporters, Salman mentioned the government’s efforts to safeguard the capital market from manipulation. “Share prices depend on the market. The government never interferes in this regard. The primary role of the government is monitoring,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of institutional investors in strengthening the country’s capital market.

Moreover, Salman noted that US entrepreneurs have shown increased interest in investing in Bangladesh, recognizing the current government’s various development initiatives.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Seeks U.S. Business Support for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called on U.S. businessmen to support Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed and smart nation by 2041. Addressing a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence in Ganabhaban, she emphasized the importance of their partnership in this transformative journey.

“We aim to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Your support in enhancing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base is crucial,” she said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from a “least developed” to a “developing” country in 2026, attributing this progress to sustained efforts over the last 15 years. “Our efforts have led to Bangladesh being recognized globally as a ‘Role Model of Socio-Economic Development’,” she stated, citing good governance, the rule of law, rural investment, women’s empowerment, and ICT advancements as key factors.

Sheikh Hasina noted the longstanding economic and developmental partnership with the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export destination and source of foreign direct investment. She expressed optimism about further strengthening this relationship.

“To protect our economy from current pressures, investment—both domestic and foreign—is vital. The implementation of Bida’s One Stop Service (OSS) will facilitate this,” she said, addressing the OSS implementation progress review meeting at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’s (Bida) headquarters.

She urged the U.S. business community to invest in Bangladesh’s high-potential sectors, including renewable energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. “We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, making Bangladesh a prime destination for IT investments,” she added.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s competitive advantages, she mentioned the availability of a young, skilled workforce at competitive wages and the country’s liberal investment policy. She reassured investors of the government’s commitment to improving the investment environment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s address, Bida Executive Member Mohsina Yasmin presented a report on OSS progress, while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured the business community of considering logical amendments to the Customs Act.

Sheikh Hasina underscored Bangladesh’s significant socio-economic achievements, including reduced poverty rates, increased life expectancy, and higher literacy rates, particularly among women. She noted that Bangladesh is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, projected to be the 25th largest by 2030.

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