Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said on Wednesday that Bangladesh is ready to facilitate special policy support for Commonwealth economies to fetch more foreign direct investment (FDI).
“As Bangladesh is a well-positioned country among the Global South economies, and the Bay of Bengal is emerging as a critical region in the competition for control of sea lanes and global trade, economies under the umbrella of Commonwealth can leverage the opportunities for trade or setting up manufacturing units,” he told an international trade conference in Dhaka.
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Forum as the chief guest in Dhaka. Bangladesh is hosting the conference for the first time in association with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC).
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Zi Foundation are the partners of the conference.
Over 300 international delegates, including 13 ministers from the Commonwealth countries, are participating in the two-day conference.
In his speech, Salman mentioned that Bangladesh's strategic location and its Bay of Bengal have brought significant responsibilities as a facilitator and connector between regions and competing powers.
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“Bangladesh economy is expected to reach over $485 billion by the end of this year. A robust demographic dividend, strong apparel exports, resilient remittance inflows, and stable macroeconomic conditions have supported rapid economic growth over the past one decade,” he told the seminar on “Bangladesh Opportunity – Commonwealth Partnerships.”
An overview of Bangladesh and investment opportunities was presented focusing on the potentials of growth towards the 2041 strategic goal.
In the opening remark, CWEIC Chairman Lord Marland said that Bangladesh can take the opportunity to extend economic cooperation among the Commonwealth nations.
“Bangladesh has proven its excellence in apparel export in the world. Countries under the Commonwealth platform can follow the best practices in the sectors. We want to connect every dots of possibilities through the Commonwealth, home to 2.5 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries,” Marland said.
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Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) Chairman Prof Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam, FBCCI President Mahbubul Alam, Unilever Bangladesh President Zaved Akhtar and British International Investment managing director Srini Nagarajan were in the panel discussion. BBC Broadcaster Tanya Beckett moderated the session.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was the chief guest at another panel discussion titled 'Global Economy: Breaking Down Barriers to Trade’ at the same venue.
Dominican Foreign Minister Dr Vince Henderson. Sri Lanka’s Minister of State for Investment Promotion Dilum S Amunugama, Cameroon’s Finance Minister Louis Paul Motazé were guests of honour on the occasion.
Another session titled ‘Mental Health in the Workplace: Creating a Positive Working Environment’ was also held.
British MP Paul Bristow and the head of strategic engagement of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Alan Stevens, and councillor Wayne Fitzgerald took part in the session.
Commonwealth nations, often simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is an international association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British empire.