The Made in Bangladesh Exhibition began in Doha on Tuesday, with more than 60 companies from the South Asian country showcasing a range of exportable products and services at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Undersecretary of Ministry of Commerce and Industry Sultan al Khater along with Qatari Businessmen Association President Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al Thani and Advisor to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Salman F Rahman inaugurated the event.
The three-day expo seeks to highlight Bangladesh’s economic success story and its quiet transformation from an economic basket case to one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.
The event will also extend companies from the two countries an opportunity to interact through business-to-business meetings at the venue.
“Qatar is one of the most opulent countries in the world in terms of per capita income that provides easy access to the world’s major centres of commerce,” said Salman F Rahman.
“I am sure, if done properly, the country can be an excellent market as well as a distribution hub for our export products. In addition, we have a large workforce stationed in the country, which could be a niche market for our products,” he added.
Terming Bangladesh as the best investment destination in Asia, Rahman cited findings by global financial services and ratings agencies to drive home the point.
According to UBS, Bangladesh will be the 12th economic power of the world in 2050. With an $822 billion GDP, Bangladesh is currently the 23rd largest economy in the world.
While Jetro has described the country as a low cost and high return manufacturing destination in Asia, McKinsey&Company has called it the next China.
Rahman is leading the a high-profile delegation from Bangladesh, including representatives from different state agencies such as the Bangladesh Industrial Development Authority, the Export Promotion Bureau, the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, the Bangladesh High Tech Parks Authority and industry leaders from different sectors.
The expo is being organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Qatar and the Bangladesh Forum Qatar (BFQ), a non-profit organisation comprising Bangladeshi expatriate professionals. It is being held under the patronage of the Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau and is sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Qatar Chamber and the Qatari Businessmen Association.
Addressing the opening session of the exhibition, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Qatar HE Ashud Ahmed said the expo was expected to build bridges between Bangladeshi businessmen, investors and entrepreneurs, and their counterparts in Qatar.
Billed as the first-ever single-country exhibition in Qatar, the event showcases Bangladeshi products and service being exported to more than 100 countries around the world.
According to BFQ Founding President and Ali Bin Ali Group CFO Iftekhar Ahmad, the exhibition would go a long way in boosting the bilateral trade, which he said did not match the potential of both the countries.
Currently, the bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Bangladesh stands at around $1.47 billion, with Bangladeshi exports to Qatar accounting for just $47 million.
Qatar imports around $27 billion worth of goods every year from all over the world, while Bangladesh exports more than $39 billion worth of goods.
“We formed Bangladesh Form Qatar 18 months ago with the objective of promoting trade and investment between the two countries,” Ahmad said.
QFC Authority CEO Yousuf Mohammed al Jaida said, “In this exhibition, you will learn about (Bangladesh’s) rapid economic growth and discover new opportunities for Bangladesh and Qatar. They have enjoyed healthy economic relations for decades.”
From the agro sector to fintech, the Bangladesh Forum Qatar (BFQ) has selected several the potential sectors to expand bilateral trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and Qatar, said Doha Bank Group CEO R Seetharaman.
“The current open market sourcing environment in Qatar poses a unique opportunity to Bangladeshi exporters to gain market share as well as getting investments back into country. The Qatari government is providing strong support for commercial activities and business through different agencies. Many Qatari investors are showing interest to invest in Bangladesh’s different sectors as the government of the country is providing all sorts of support to the investors.”
BFQ President Yusuf Saeed also addressed the opening session, which focussed ways to foster Bangladesh-Qatar partnership.
Besides the trade exhibition, the second and third days will feature cultural shows, under the themes the “Seasons of Bangladesh” and the “Bengal Beats” respectively. While an instrumental fusion programme will pay tribute to musical legends of Bangladesh on the penultimate day, the final day will see a folk festival, closing ceremony and a gala dinner.