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JCI Bangladesh to Host “Smart Bangladesh Summit and Expo” for the First Time in the Country

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The journey towards building a Smart Bangladesh has already started, and JCI Bangladesh, a leading youth leadership development organization working with youth worldwide, has taken the initiative to strengthen the immense potential of the smart era. “JCI Smart Bangladesh Summit, Expo & CYE Award 2023″ will be held at the International Convention City (ICCB) on June 9-10, 2023, in association with a2i (Aspire to Innovate), ICT Division.

Last Sunday, a press conference was organized with renowned media workers of the country to provide details about the event. Honorable Project Director (Joint Secretary) of A2I (Aspire to Innovate), Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, was present as the chief guest. JCI Bangladesh National President, Ziaul Haque Bhuiyan, was the keynote speaker. JCI Bangladesh Deputy National President, Imran Qadir, and A2I Program Human Development Media Manager, Purabi Matin, were also present on the occasion. The Smart Bangladesh Summit & Expo was initiated by JCI Bangladesh National Officers Tahsin Azim Shezan, Md. Altamis Nabil, Areez Afsar Khan, Md. Azazul Hasan Khan, Rezwan Ul Haque, Steve Benedict D’Silva, Shan Shahed, Shakhawat Hossain, Fahim Ahmed, and Md. Fazle Munim along with few others.

Honorable Project Director (Joint Secretary) of Aspire to Innovate (A2I), Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, said at the press conference, ” The a2i has invented and implemented a series of digital programs round the year to simplify different civic services to accelerate attaining the government’s new vision of building a ‘SMART Bangladesh’ by 2041. The successful implementation of the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ encouraged the government to set the new target”. JCI Bangladesh, an organization of creative youths, deserves appreciation for the special programs organized by them for the implementation of Smart Bangladesh. We will continue to extend our sincere support to them to make this effort a success.”

JCI Bangladesh National President, Ziaul Haque Bhuiyan, said, “We are happy to announce that this is the first such big event in the country titled “Smart Bangladesh”. We believe that the participation of the youth of JCI Bangladesh organization will add a different dimension to the Smart Bangladesh goal of the Government of Bangladesh.” He further said, “The event is introducing the first JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur or CYE Award this year. In this session, 1,000 entrepreneurs will be able to share their business ideas, and the winners will be awarded a cash prize of Taka 3.5 lakhs, an opportunity to showcase their business on JCI’s global platform, and opportunities for further funding generation from venture capitalists.”

The primary objective of JCI Smart Bangladesh Summit and Expo is to present it to the general public through expert discussions. There will be a total of 6 special sessions in the 2-day event, in which experts and speakers from the country and outside the country will be present. The invited guests and panelists will highlight every possible aspect of Smart Bangladesh through the exchange of their experiences, knowledge, and opinions. Apart from this, the Smart Expo will display all the amazing technologies for visitors. A Futuristic Expo will be organized based on what Smart Bangladesh will look like in the future.

On the second day of the event, June 10th, JCI will hold the Creative Young Entrepreneur (CYE) Award for young entrepreneurs. Over 1,000 entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to submit their business ideas, from which winners will be selected to receive a grant of Taka 3.5 lakh. Winners will also receive mentoring and assistance in obtaining larger venture capital. Notable investors and venture capital providers from both domestic and international markets will be present during this phase. Winners of this phase will also compete on the international stage with the winners of the next JCI Asia Pacific region.

During the press conference, a website for the JCI Smart Bangladesh Summit, Expo, and CYE Awards 2023 was launched. The website address is www.jcisummit.com, and all necessary information, including registration details, can be found on the site.

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Modi Likely to Visit Bangladesh in First Bilateral Trip Post-Re-Election

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Bangladesh later this month, marking his first bilateral trip following his re-election.

Initially, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was slated to visit India at the end of June or early July. However, following her attendance at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi over the weekend, plans have shifted. According to the Economic Times, Modi is now preparing for a visit to Dhaka in response to an invitation extended by Hasina.

This prospective visit aligns with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, aimed at reinforcing its leadership role in South Asia.

During their meeting in New Delhi on June 9, Hasina formally invited Modi to visit Bangladesh. Although exact dates for the visit are yet to be finalized, the agenda will likely focus on enhancing cross-border connectivity, energy cooperation, and business ties between the two nations.

Sources indicate that India is keen on strengthening its security and defense partnership with Bangladesh, reflecting the strategic importance of this bilateral relationship.

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Moody’s Predicts Further Decline for Bangladesh’s Taka Amid Currency Policy Shift

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Bangladesh’s taka is expected to plunge further into record-low territory as the central bank loosens its control over the currency, according to Moody’s Ratings.

Young Kim, an analyst at the rating firm in Singapore, projects that the taka will likely weaken by another 2% to around 120 per dollar by the year’s end. This forecast comes as the currency has been hitting a series of record lows in recent days.

The central bank’s recent introduction of a crawling peg system is anticipated to align the taka’s value more closely with its rate in the unofficial market, Kim explained. This adjustment is part of a broader package of policies recommended by the International Monetary Fund, which provided Bangladesh with a $4.7 billion bailout program last year. This policy shift aims to help the nation prevent further depletion of its foreign exchange reserves—a factor Fitch Ratings cited when it downgraded Bangladesh’s credit score further into junk status in May.

“Most of the pressure for Bangladesh is external, centered around the fixed-exchange rate that caused a distortion between the market and the official rate,” Kim noted. “This significant devaluation of the taka helps reduce some of these imbalances by narrowing that gap.”

In May, the central bank implemented the crawling peg exchange rate system and set the mid-rate at 117 taka per dollar. This move prompted an almost 8% decline in the currency this quarter. On Tuesday, the taka weakened further by 0.3%, reaching 117.7 against the dollar and closing at a new low.

Amidst the currency devaluation, Bangladesh is also cutting spending and raising taxes to narrow the budget deficit and boost revenues, as the country faces a steady erosion of foreign reserves. To curb inflationary pressure, the central bank has transitioned to market-based interest rates, responding to the fastest pace of price increases seen in seven months in May.

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Bangladesh, ADB Ink $250M Loan Deal for Social Resilience Program

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh have signed a $250 million loan agreement to bolster Bangladesh’s social protection system.

Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Edimon Ginting, ADB’s Country Director, signed the agreement today at a ceremony held at the ERD in the capital.

“The Second Strengthening Social Resilience Program aims to accelerate reforms by increasing the coverage and efficiency of protection, improving financial inclusion for disadvantaged people, and strengthening the response to diversified protection needs,” stated Country Director Edimon Ginting.

Building on the first Strengthening Social Resilience Program completed in June 2022, this second initiative seeks to improve the policy, regulatory, and institutional framework for social protection in Bangladesh. This program aligns with the government’s Action Plan Phase II of the National Social Security Strategy (2021-2026), aiming to enhance the social protection system’s protective and preventive capabilities.

According to a press release, the program will improve efficiency in social protection program management, increase protection for the most vulnerable populations, and expand the scope of social protection by introducing contributory schemes. These measures aim to reduce vulnerability, social exclusion, and the risk of further poverty.

The program will introduce a beneficiary verification scheme for cash-based social protection programs to minimize leakages. It will also merge two cash-based protection programs for people with disabilities to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

To address climate vulnerability, the program will integrate climate adaptive measures into social protection, including identifying individuals most at risk from climate change-induced disasters to ensure appropriate assistance.

ADB’s support will enhance protection for vulnerable women and transgender people by increasing the number of beneficiaries under the widow allowance program and extending the livelihood support program for transgender individuals.

Additionally, Bangladesh Bank will double its funding for the Small Enterprise Refinancing Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs to improve access to financial services for women small business operators.

Another key objective of the program is to strengthen the governance mechanism of the employment injury scheme pilot, particularly in the ready-made garments sector. It also supports establishing a tripartite committee comprising workers’ associations, employers’ associations, and the government to advance social protection for workers under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, a crucial step in developing the country’s social insurance schemes.

To support the implementation, technical and policy analyses, and capacity building of relevant government agencies, ADB will provide a $1 million grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund (TASF 7) and another $1 million grant from the ADB-administered Community Resilience Partnership Program Trust Fund under the Community Resilience Financing Partnership Facility.

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