April 16, 2017
Bangladesh and India have scripted a new chapter in bilateral ties with the two prime ministers agreed to cooperate in fresh areas in the years to come. Last week saw Honoruable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (HPM) went on a four day official visit to her neighbour country, overseeing singing of as many as six agreements and 16 memoranda of understanding. Moreover, government agencies and private companies of the two countries signed 13 more agreements and memoranda of understanding to further deepen bilateral economic partnership. The deals involving around $10 billion cover the power, energy, logistics, education, medical sectors and cyber security.
The autobiography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman “The Unfinished Memoirs” has been released in Hindi language in India. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Hindi translation of the book at Hyderabad House. The book was first published on June 18, 2012 in its original Bangla version “Oshomapto Atmojiboni” as well as in English. In a related development, a road in the heart of the Indian capital has been named after Bangladesh's Father of the Nation Bangabandhu.
Bangladesh's economy recorded a robust growth in FY2016 on the back of higher private sector investment and exports, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In its annual publication the 'Asian Development Outlook 2017', the global lender observed that higher private investment, exports and wages underpinned GDP growth acceleration to 7.1% in FY2016 (ended on June 30, 2016) from 6.6% in the previous year. The average annual inflation eased to 5.9% from 6.4% in the previous year largely due to lower global commodity prices, steady domestic supply and a stable taka-dollar exchange rate.
During his recent visit to Bangladesh, United Kingdom's Minister of State at the Department for International Development(DFID) Rt Hon Lord Bates lavished praise on Bangladesh's success in improving its education system over the last six years. The envoy also visited UK supported projects in Dhaka and Savar, including two Government-run primary schools, to see first-hand how UK aid is making a difference to people's lives.
The World Bank has approved a $507 million fund for two projects in Bangladesh to provide long-term financing to private sector-led infrastructure projects and modernisation of land ports. The project will help participating local financial institutions to extend long-term credits for building infrastructure beyond the usual lending period of five to seven years. The infrastructure would be built for waste management, water treatment, energy saving equipment, container terminals, land ports and bridges.
State-owned Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) has initiated a move to enhance the transmission capacity of the high-tension Chandpur-Comilla 132 kV transmission line. To this regard, the company signed a contract with a Chinese-Korean consortium to award the contract of the job under which CCCE-Etern-Hanbeak JV will re-conduct the entire 60 km transmission line within the next 18 months. Side by side, the PGCB also undertook a project to install a 6-km 132 kV underground transmission line from Modunaghat to Kalurghat in Chittagong. The CCCE-Etern-Hanbeak consortium obtained this contract as well.
A new Income Generating Activity Scheme (IGA) worth US$ 308 million has been launched with an aim to help as many as 20 million women become economically self-reliant. Under the scheme, the city-based marginalized women, across the country, would get training on trades like sewing, embroidery, fashion design, catering, business management, mushroom and bee farming through the project.
About 7 million people got justice through local arbitrations in last seven years under the Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project. This new scaled-up phase of the Village Courts project will bring improved access to legal services to over 21 million mainly people living in poverty and rural areas in 1,080 unions in 128 upazilas under 27 districts. So far 4,914 Union Parishad representatives and officials and 3,529 village police members have been trained to support the Village Courts. In the first six years of the project, 69,200 disputes have been successfully resolved out of 87,200 reported to the Village Courts, and over 6,000 cases have been referred to Village Courts by the District Courts.
Bangladesh's life insurance market is likely to expand US$1.5 billion in the next three to four years, driven mostly by a growing economy, a senior MetLife executive has said. Now that Bangladesh's life insurance market is around $1.0 billion a year, optimism run high that it will expand at least 50% in around 2020, said Chris Townsend, the US-based insurer's Asia president. Bangladesh's economy has grown over 6% in past decade and the life insurance has also advanced steadily, he said, drawing a close relationship between the GDP growth and the insurance sector.
During a recent visit to Bangladesh, a 35 member delegation comprising of Malaysian entrepreneurs expressed keen interest to invest in agriculture and food processing, pharmaceutical, energy and infrastructure sectors in Bangladesh. Led by YB Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, assistant minister for agriculture and rural economy modernization affairs of Sarawak Province, the delegation met with high officials of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) at the authority's board room in the city. The team observed that Bangladesh government is trying to push up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by providing different opportunities, including low price land, electricity and cheap labour.
Bangladesh and Russia here inked two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on news exchange and media cooperation with one being among Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and ITAR-TASS. The first MoU sought enhanced cooperation of media of the two countries, agreeing to facilitate creation of favourable conditions for a broad and free dissemination of information. The BSS-TASS deal aimed to exchange news and explore areas of cooperation for the development of the two national news agencies in different professional areas.
Bangladesh has been nominated as the co-chairperson of the 'Coordinating Committee on the South-South Cooperation in Population and Development' for implementing the 'Beijing Call for Action' on population and development in the South-South Cooperation countries. The unanimous decision was taken at a meeting held at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) headquarters in New York. Representatives of the South-South Cooperation countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, China, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Tunisia, among others, were present at the meeting.
Dhaka has been ranked second among the cities with the highest number of active Facebook users. The Bangladesh capital has 22 million active Facebook users, which is 1.1% of the total monthly active users of the social networking site across the globe, according to a study conducted by We Are Social and Hootsuit. This survey stands as a shining testament to government's commitment towards transforming the future of this country in to a digitally advanced one by 2021.
Technology giant Google Inc will open a merchant account in Bangladesh to take on board the tech-savvy Bangladeshi youths and facilitate their freelance work. State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak received the assurance from the world’s leading technology firm at a meeting in the US recently. The minister also met Nuance Communications Chairman and CEO Paul Richie and urged him to work on natural language processing, screen reading, speech-to-next, text-to-speech and Bangla corpus.
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