Sep 15, 2016
Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka on Wednesday for an 11-days two-nation tour of Canada and the USA. On her way to Canada and the USA, the Prime Minister made a 22-hour stopover in London. Between September 15 and September 18, she will be visiting Canada to attend the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund (GF) at the invitation of her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau. In the second leg, Sheikh Hasina will visit the USA from Sept 18-25 to join the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and high level meets on water and migration among others.
Bangladesh's actions against money laundering and terrorism financing have been recognized as being of international standards in an evaluation by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). Through the clearance of the report, Bangladesh has been effectively declared risk-free for money laundering and terrorism financing under international standards. During a meeting where the revelation was made, the member countries praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her efforts to stop terrorism, terror financing, money laundering and other crimes.
With an annual growth of over 6% for the last 6 years, Bangladesh is on track to become one of top-30 economies by 2030, says the United States. While addressing the East-West Center International Media Conference in New Delhi, US Deputy Assistant Secretary Angela Aggeler, asserted that Bangladesh while facing various challenges has gone from being a food importer to a food exporter. According to provisional estimates, Bangladesh achieved a 7.05% GDP growth in the 2015-16 fiscal year, with target to raise it further to 7.4% in 2016-17.
Amazed by the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina that has set Bangladesh on the road of progress and prosperity, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee opined that the country is rapidly becoming a leader of the nations, a forerunner in demonstrating the strength and strategies required to transform the course of a nation. The comments were made when a Bangladesh delegation met him recently, where he also reiterated that credit and congratulations must also go to the country’s Premier for the rare patriotic leadership she has displayed in moving the country forward and skywards in national development.
Bangladesh has signed a deal worth €157.5 million in loans to fund the launching of the country’s first commercial and broadcast satellite Bangabandhu-1, taking the country another step closer towards the fulfillment of the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ endeavour. Earlier in November last year, the telecom regulator had signed a $248 million deal with Thales Alenia Space, a French aerospace manufacturer, to design, install and launch the satellite. The government plans to launch the satellite into space on 17 December, 2017.
A new initiative has been endorsed and is being put in place to give a complete overhaul to the water supply and sanitation system in some 23 municipalities across the country. For this cause, the Islamic Development Bank (IBD) has pledged to provide Bangladesh with $89.3 million for installation and renovation of water supply, sanitation, drainage, and solid waste management system. Preparations are well underway to forge a credit agreement between the government and IDB in this regard by the end of this year.
Replicating the success of previous years, Bangladesh has stood out as the fourth highest rice producing country in the world. However, less than years back in 2005, the country had suffered food deficiency and what is known as ‘Monga’, famine caused by seasonal joblessness. In only 7 years since 2009, the country has taken a quantum leap in food production due to the introduction and implementation of a wide range of fabourable and pro-farming policies in the agriculture sector under the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina.
A member of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) says it has invested $175.5 million to finance Bangladeshi Summit Group's future power-generation projects in Bangladesh. The fund comes from the IFC Emerging Asia Fund, an investment fund managed by IFC Asset Management Company, and EMA Power, a joint venture between Daelim Energy and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Infrastructure Fund II. With the said investment, several green-field electricity-generation plants will be constructed, including a 500 MW dual-fuel combined-cycle power plant and a 150 MW heavy fuel oil-based power plant.
In the aftermath of the latest devastating flood, the government has set in motion a series of measures with an aim to help the affected people turn around their lives. As part of the plan, steps including food support scheme under social safety net programme, introduction of selling low-price rice, in addition to financial support were launched. Moreover, a total of 4,00,000 poor and marginal farmers across the country will also get plants, seeds and fertilizer worth $5.3 million for growing seasonal crops to cover up their losses.
The government will begin inspecting non-garment factories to ensure compliance and strengthen workplace safety for workers, complementing the efforts that are ongoing to upgrade fire, electrical and structural safety in garment factories. Announcement has been made that the government will bankroll the inspections and it takes more than $7,000 to carry out a complete preliminary inspection on a garment factory. Since the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, Accord and Alliance, two foreign inspection agencies, have been inspecting 2,000 garment factories to fix the fire, electrical and structural flaws with support from the Bangladesh Government.
Bangladesh and Iceland have agreed to strengthen collaboration in the areas of mutual interest, particularly fisheries management. Both countries have also decided to cooperate in jointly overcoming the threat of climate change. This was agreed at a meeting between the two foreign ministers, AH Mahmood Ali and Lilja Alfredsdóttir, when the Bangladesh foreign minister paid an official visit. Agreements were also made to explore new avenues to improve trade and investment relations, including encouraging public-private partnerships in marine resources management in the Bay of Bengal.
This week connectivity between between Bangladesh and India entered a new era when petroleum products reached one Indian state to another via Bangladesh. On New Delhi’s request Dhaka had allowed Indian Oil Company to transport fuel to landlocked Tripura, which is surrounded by Bangladesh from three sides, from Assam through surface transport. Drivers have expressed satisfaction with the security management as provided by the Bangladesh Government all along their travel inside the territory.
With the expansion of digital landscape along with, creating quality human resources, Bangladesh can appear as a key player in reaping the benefits of the global IT sector, given that a shortage of skilled ICT personnel persists globally, according to the US-based Field Nation, a leading online work marketplace. Pleased by the vision of a Digital Bangladesh, the CEO of Field Nation has said that the government is moving in the right direction. The CEO also expressed his organization’s plans to hire thousands in Dhaka for software-related work.
State-owned mobile-phone operator Teletalk plans to reach the rural population by the next two years, thanks to the earmarking of a project worth $573.4 million this week. The entire money will be spent on widening its network and manpower to make it more competent than other operators. In this regard, two projects are already awaiting approval to go ahead. Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world with currently 128.9 million subscribers (as of end of July 2016).
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