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PM: Bangladesh knows to transform challenges into opportunities

  • Published at 10:45 pm October 4th, 2019
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum at Hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi on Friday, October 4, 2019 Focus Bangla

She urged global investors to invest in various sectors in Bangladesh

Asserting that Bangladesh knows how to transform challenges into opportunities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged global investors to invest in Bangladesh.

She urged investors to invest in Bangladesh’s education, light engineering, electronics, the automotive industry and artificial intelligence beyond the conventional menu since the country can be a connecting landmass to a combined market of nearly three billion people.

The prime minister said this in her article posted on the website of the World Economic Forum on Friday.

She said: "Bangladesh offers the most liberal investment regime in South Asia – in terms of legal protection of foreign investment, generous fiscal incentives, concessions on machinery imports, an unrestricted exit policy, full repatriation of dividends and capital on exit."

“We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones with one-stop service across Bangladesh. Twelve of the zones are already functioning. Two zones are reserved for Indian investors. A number of high-tech parks are also ready for technology and innovative enterprises."

The premier continued: “All this speaks to a quiet transformation where people have taken risks and faced challenges by becoming more innovative and adopting technology. It is time that global investors, particularly Indian entrepreneurs, invest in Bangladesh in areas like education, light engineering, electronics, the automotive industry and artificial intelligence – beyond the conventional menu.”

Sheikh Hasina is now in India on a four-day official visit participating in the India Economic Summit.

Referring to the concerns of some about the risks of investing in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, in her article said, “Yes, we have challenges like many other countries. But in Bangladesh we know how to transform challenges into opportunities. This year, our economy posted record high growth of 8.1%. We are close to achieving double-digit growth. Since 2009, Bangladesh’s

economy has grown by 188% in size. Our per-capita income has surpassed $1,909.”

Sheikh Hasina said in between Eastern and North-East India, China on the west and South-East Asia, Bangladesh merits the attention of global and Indian business as a seamless economic space.

“We can serve as the economic hub for the sub-region. Beyond our own 162 million people, Bangladesh can be the connecting landmass to a combined market of nearly 3 billion people,” she added.

Saying that last year HSBC had predicted that Bangladesh would be the 26th- largest economy in the world, by 2030, Sheikh Hasina said, “Two things are key: one is our open society, religious harmony, liberal values and secular culture. The other is that two-third of our homogenous population is young – mostly under 25. They are quickly skill-able, adaptive to technologies, and ready to engage at competitive wages.”

Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh offers a stable and humanitarian state, where leadership is responsive and responsible, coupled with sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

“Our pragmatic and open economy shall continue to set global trends and the example of a peaceful and progressive nation, she said.”

Terming that Bangladesh agriculture production is no longer about subsistence, the Prime Minister said, “Beyond self-sufficiency, we are now the fourth-largest rice producer, second-largest jute producer, fourth-largest in mango production, fifth-largest in vegetable production and fourth-largest in inland fisheries in the world. We are decoding the genome of key crops and fruits to move further.”

The Premier said many see Bangladesh as a ‘market’ of over 30 million middle- and affluent-class people and a ‘development miracle’. 

“To me, our strengths are the societal values and people’s trust in Bangladesh. Equally, people’s aspiration to progress and their resilience as well as their confidence in our leadership,” she added.

Mentioning that last year, Bangladesh exported 12 industrial robots to Korea while four ships made in Bangladesh came to India, a large quantity of refrigerators made in Bangladesh were sold to Reliance and it also has 600,000 IT freelancers, the Prime Minister said “Bangladesh is quickly moving to a high-value, knowledge-intensive society, beyond apparel manufacturing.” 

She said that by 2030, 48 percent of Bangladesh’s population will live in towns and cities with most of them young, energetic and digitally connected.

“Over 110 million active internet subscribers in Bangladesh, by 2025, mobile internet penetration will reach 41% of the population. Rapid urbanization, fed by increasing consumption of electricity and more than 30 million middle class citizens, is indeed a huge market,” she said.