In a compelling call for collaboration, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh extended an invitation to South African entrepreneurs to invest in her nation’s ambitious journey towards becoming a trillion-dollar economy and a fully developed smart nation by 2041. Speaking at the Bangladesh Trade & Business Summit in South Africa, the Prime Minister emphasized the country’s progress toward prosperity and extended a warm welcome to potential investors. She assured that investment in Bangladesh is secure, underpinned by consistently high returns and a business-friendly atmosphere.
Bangladesh’s commitment to facilitating business operations was emphasized, backed by organizations such as the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. The Prime Minister outlined the burgeoning opportunities in Bangladesh’s capital market and the country’s proactive approach to long-term financing in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Prime Minister Hasina underscored the open Foreign Direct Investment policies in Bangladesh, particularly noting the allowance for 100 percent foreign ownership, liberalized industrial policies, a 15-year tax exemption, and streamlined services. The Prime Minister highlighted the underexplored potential of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and South Africa, expressing optimism about enhanced collaboration, especially in sectors like ICT, electronics, textiles, tourism, and heavy industry.
She thanked the significant Bangladeshi population in South Africa for their contribution to the economy and urged further investments. Plans for a joint business forum between key business chambers of Bangladesh and South Africa were also revealed.
Prime Minister Hasina stressed that the heart of Bangladesh’s strength lies in its people, especially its skilled youth population. She acknowledged South Africa’s growing urbanization and economic growth as favorable conditions for expanding Bangladesh’s exports, particularly in sectors like textiles, ready-made garments, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.
The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s ‘Look Africa’ policy and its exploration of diplomatic and economic avenues on the continent. She revealed Bangladesh’s pursuit of natural resources and raw materials from African nations to fuel its growing industries.
Concluding her address, Prime Minister Hasina expressed confidence in Bangladesh’s progress and commitment to the path of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Her visionary appeal underscored the mutual benefits of a strong partnership between Bangladesh and South Africa, fostering shared growth and prosperity.
Bangladesh’s Commitment to SDGs Unshaken Despite Global Challenges, Says PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed her government’s unwavering commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), even in the face of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the climate crisis. She made this declaration during a meeting with Helen Clark, Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), at the United Nations Headquarters.
As part of her commitment to healthcare services accessibility for all citizens, PM Sheikh Hasina mentioned the implementation of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (2011-2030) and a 27% increase in healthcare sector allocations for the current fiscal year 2023-24.
Helen Clark commended Bangladesh’s exceptional progress in healthcare under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, citing the nation’s remarkable achievements in reducing maternal and child mortality rates and ensuring universal healthcare services.
Bangladesh’s GDP Growth to Reach 6.5% in FY24: ADB
Bangladesh’s economy is anticipated to expand by 6.5% in fiscal year 2024, reflecting an improvement in domestic demand and enhanced export growth, as per the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report titled “Asian Development Outlook (ADO) September 2023.” This growth projection is slightly higher than the 6.0% recorded in the previous fiscal year, driven by a recovering euro area.
Inflation is predicted to decrease to 6.6% in the current fiscal year, down from 9.0% in FY2023. Additionally, the current account deficit is expected to narrow marginally, from 0.7% of GDP in the previous fiscal year to 0.5% in FY2024, thanks to improved remittance growth.
The report identifies the main risk to this growth projection as a potential deterioration in export growth if global demand remains weaker than anticipated.
ADB Country Director Edimon Ginting commented on the government’s effective management of external economic uncertainties, highlighting ongoing infrastructure development and crucial reforms aimed at enhancing the investment climate. These structural reforms encompass bolstering public financial management, mobilizing domestic resources, optimizing logistics, and deepening the financial sector to foster private sector growth, diversify exports, and create productive employment opportunities in the medium term.
The report also underscores the importance of addressing climate change by expanding domestic renewable energy supply in the context of elevated oil prices.
The revival of private consumption, driven by moderate inflation and increased remittances, coupled with the completion of significant government infrastructure projects boosting investment, is expected to stimulate economic growth. However, the initial uptick in interest rates following adjustments to the country’s monetary policy framework may temper private investment.
Inflation is projected to ease due to lower global non-fuel commodity prices, increased agricultural production, and the initial tightening of monetary policy under the new framework.
FBCCI, BMCCI Collaborate to Boost Trade & Investment Between Bangladesh & Malaysia
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s foremost trade organization, has joined hands with the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) to bolster business and investment opportunities and narrow the trade deficit between Bangladesh and Malaysia. Both organizations aim to facilitate the export of skilled labor from Bangladesh to Malaysia, a crucial labor market for the nation.
During a courtesy meeting at the FBCCI Icon in Dhaka on September 19, 2023, FBCCI President Mr. Mahbubul Alam expressed these intentions while meeting with a BMCCI delegation, led by its President, Syed Almas Kabir. The collaboration between FBCCI and BMCCI seeks to address Bangladesh’s substantial trade deficit through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs), and other trade mechanisms. Both organizations are committed to working together to tackle this issue.
The meeting was attended by FBCCI Director Hafez Hazi Harun-Or-Rashid (CIP), Mohammad Nizam Uddin, BMCCI Senior Vice President Mr. Sabbir Ahmed Khan, Vice President Mr. Jamilur Rahman, BMCCI Secretary General Mr. Md. Motaher Hoshan Khan, Director Mr. Mamunur Rahman, and other dignitaries.
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