The prime minister wooed the Middle-Eastern businesses at a joint forum after attending the Dubai Expo. The forum was organized to discuss the strengthening of trade ties between the countries.
“I assure you all that Bangladesh is now a land of lucrative opportunities,” she said, adding that the country is “soon” to become “Golden Bangladesh” as envisioned by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hasina extended “a very warm invitation to come and join us in that dream and vision for Bangladesh”.
In terms of trade with oil-rich UAE, Bangladesh’s import and export volume stood at around $2 billion, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had said before Hasina left Dhaka for the visit. Of this, the UAE exports $1.5 billion alone.
The forum was organised by the UAE Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry marking the launch of a Joint Business Council. Hasina joined the event at Dubai Exhibition Centre via video conferencing from Abu Dhabi.
Hasina congratulated the UAE government and people on the successful hosting of the Dubai Expo with a “magnificent display of visions and ideas from around the world despite the COVID-19 constraints”.
“I must say that this Expo inspires hope that our dreams of the future can be bigger and brighter than of the past.”
The prime minister also felicitated the business leaders of the UAE and Bangladesh for launching the Joint Business Council. “I have great expectations from the Council and hope of much rewards and satisfaction.”
While describing Bangladesh’s socioeconomic successes, she said it has been one of the very few economies in the world that grew even during the pandemic.
“Our sustained growth has been made possible by clear vision, prudent planning, sound governance, political stability, and tireless efforts of our hard-working people and spirited entrepreneurs.”
Today, Bangladesh has emerged as a ‘Development Miracle’.”
She noted the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts that Bangladesh will become the 24th largest economy of the world by 2036. “Our equitable and inclusive ‘development model’ has laid a solid foundation on which to further develop. We are on way to turn our $416 billion economy into one of the largest economies of the world soon.”
With a target to become a developed country by 2041, she said, Bangladesh is moving fast in urbanisation, industrialisation, and in increasing tele-density to connect individuals to governance, innovation and markets. “Our aim is to connect our factors of production seamlessly into the global markets.”
The prime minister said Bangladesh offers a huge domestic market of more than 168 million people. “Our population is young, energetic, and ambitious.”
“Thanks to our deep and wide innovations in agriculture and extension, productivity and remittance, our disposable income is rising faster than many comparable countries.”
“On top of it all, we have a great geo-strategic location, and direct connectivity to all major international trading and shipment routes. We are also at the junction of the populous and growing South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian regions,” Hasina said.
“Interestingly, our huge domestic market and the markets adjacent to us are virtually untapped.”
“All these advantages make Bangladesh an attractive destination for investors, and a future manufacturing, and economic hub of the region.”
Our principled policy and position are “Friendship to all, malice towards none”. This has insulated us from anything which might affect our free-market enterprise and a liberal economic order.
She also said the political stability in Bangladesh means that investors can plan for long term.
“There is also no limitation on foreign ownership of business. Moreover, Bangladesh possesses a healthy foreign currency reserve. Also, investors are free to repatriate their profits. Indeed, Bangladesh’s sovereign rating is rising fast.”
Bangladesh’s Special Economic Zones and High-Tech parks are ready for new ventures, the prime minister said. “We are ready with both policy and infrastructure support to ensure that investors choosing to make Bangladesh their home shall find only the best in the world.”
“We are now intensifying our connectivity into multiple layers of food, finance and energy security. Our financial markets are now ready to support advanced private equity and fin-tech solutions. The Digital Bangladesh that we had aspired for almost twelve years ago – is now a reality. I, therefore, invite you to come and partner with us.”
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