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UNDP, BSEC Sign MoU to Boost SDG Bonds in Bangladesh

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UNDP, BSEC

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) have solidified their partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing cooperation and fostering the ecosystem for issuing thematic bonds to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh. The signing ceremony, held at the BSEC office in Dhaka on Monday, saw BSEC Chairman Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam and UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller affix their signatures to the agreement.

Under the MoU, UNDP Bangladesh will play a pivotal role in designing an impact measurement and reporting framework based on UNDP’s SDG Impact Standards. Moreover, they will provide assistance in developing bond allocation strategies and impact reporting mechanisms. Leveraging its expertise, UNDP is well-positioned to offer technical support and long-term capacity-building to establish a robust ecosystem for managing SDG thematic bonds, encompassing the entire process from pre-issuance to post-issuance. Additionally, UNDP will engage stakeholders to promote the adoption of thematic bonds among issuers and investors.

Stefan Liller, speaking at the signing ceremony, highlighted the importance of the thematic bond framework and the accompanying technical support. He stressed that these initiatives will create a conducive environment for mobilizing capital in Bangladesh to achieve the SDGs. UNDP is committed to collaborating with regulators, providing catalytic support, and fostering an ecosystem for SDG financing in Bangladesh, while simultaneously expanding opportunities for the private sector to advance their sustainability initiatives.

Expressing enthusiasm about the partnership, BSEC Chairman Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam affirmed that this initiative aligns with the various ongoing endeavors of the Government of Bangladesh. He emphasized BSEC’s successful pursuit of establishing a vibrant bond market and the inclusion of a separate section for green bonds in their Guideline for fixed-income securities. Rubayat-Ul-Islam opined that promoting sophisticated green financial products like thematic bonds or sukuks will ultimately fortify the overall bond market and facilitate efficient capital mobilization for achieving the SDG goals. He stressed the urgency of greening the economy and advocated for the early adoption of thematic products, pledging BSEC’s readiness to support in designing and piloting the framework.

The collaboration between UNDP and BSEC represents a significant stride towards directing investments into sustainable development in Bangladesh. By capitalizing on UNDP’s expertise and leveraging BSEC’s regulatory framework, the partnership aims to unlock financing opportunities for SDGs while fostering sustainable practices within the private sector. This joint effort aspires to mobilize fresh capital and promote environmentally friendly financial instruments, thereby contributing to the nation’s sustainable development agenda and climate-related commitments.

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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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salman f rahman

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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