Dec 15, 2016
This week Bangladesh hosted the 9th Summit of the Globla Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD). The summit concluded with at least 130 countries unanimously agreeing to have a global treaty for better protection of migrants. The country hosted the summit at a time when the world is witnessing one of the largest movements of people amid armed conflicts, a phenomenon which is also shaping the political dynamics globally. Speaking at the summit attended by 600 delegates from around the world, Bangladesh HPM Sheikh Hasina urged the global community to focus on the migrant and refugee crisis.
In an article written for the Diplomat Magazine, the ICT Advisor to Bangladesh HPM Sajeeb Wazed has detailed out his country's efforts to fight the dissemination of religious hate and militancy through posting of fake and fictional news, comments, photos and videos on the social media. He reiterated that while the government of Bangladesh is committed to peaceful free speech and a free press, it will not allow terrorists to use the internet to spread falsehoods or to multiply the effects of horrific actions.
In an editorial which came out on the English daily Dhaka Tribune, the 'Electricity for All' campaign of the Awami League was applauded. Under the vision, the government led by Sheikh Hasina has pledged to secure energy for all by the year 2021. The editorial in particular lauded the long term visions of generating 24,000MW of electricity by 2021 and 60,000MW by 2031. The fact that a significant portion of power will come from renewable energy has been termed as specifically encouraging. It noted that the HPM’s declaration to stop misuse of power and gas is a directive that needs to be followed by the public.
In an analysis written for Eurasia Review, a researcher for the Institution for Conflict Management highly lauded the Bangladesh war crimes trials. The analysis provided a status of the trials and states that HPM Sheikh Hasina’s Awami Government has shown enormous courage in going ahead with the War Crime Trials, and the completion of this process will eventually prove to be an important chapter in the history of Bangladesh, bringing some measure of justice to millions who had suffered at the hands of the Pakistan Army and its collaborators in Bangladesh.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
Bangladesh has taken on a 20-year long master plan to spend $30 billion on 235 railway projects within the year 2030. The goal of the long-term plan is to increase Bangladesh Railways' market share from around 4% at present to 15% for freight and 10% for passenger traffic. Bangladesh currently has 2,877 kilometers of railroads and aims to add another 375 kilometers by the end of 2016. Both China and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have offered financial assistance for modernization of railways.
Bangladesh has signed preliminary agreements with two Chinese companies to develop three components of Payra seaport with $510 million in funds. Of the two, China Harbour Engineering will build the core port infrastructure at $150 million and China State Construction Engineering will fortify riparian areas to reduce flood risk and soil erosion at a cost of $300 million. It will also set up housing, education and health facilities at $60 million. If all infrastructures can be put in place, it will add 1 percentage point to the country's gross domestic product.
Growth and Development
The European Union (EU) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have announced a €20 million project to build Bangladesh's vocational education infrastructure to meet the demands for a skilled workforce. The initiative, known as the Skills 21 Project, is designed to further allow the Bangladesh government to develop its own effective and efficient vocational training model, which does not exist today. Of the total project cost, the EU will provide €19.5 million and the ILO will contribute the remaining amount.
Bangladesh has sent over 704,078 workers abroad with employment and received US$ 12.65 billion as remittance this year that contributed significantly in the socioeconomic advancement of the nation. With sincere efforts and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has sent as many as 4,136,736 workers to 69 countries till December 6, 2016 from 2009 and received $ 104.75 billion as remittance. The overall manpower export from Bangladesh is expected to witness a robust growth in the next year as well.
International and Regional Cooperation
Bangladesh and Palestine have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strengthening bilateral relations to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade and investment and power generation between the two countries. The signing took place this week as part of an official visit by Riad NA Malki, Foreign Minister of Palestine, to Bangladesh. The MoU highlighted the supply of natural resources to Bangladesh like LPG, LNG, diesel and jet fuel to Bangladesh by Palestine, and the joint work of Bangladesh and Palestine towards planning, assessing and developing natural gas and oil projects in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and Cuba have discussed various aspects of bilateral issues and the potential for expanding trade and business ties between the two countries. This was discussed when Oscar Martinez Cordoves, leader of the GFMD delegation from Cuba to Bangladesh, called on Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali this week. The envoy was briefed about exportable items from Bangladesh especially readymade garments, pharmaceuticals and healthcare services. Issuance of a condolence message sent by Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the death of former Cuban President Raul Modesto Castro Ruz was also appreciated.
Trade and Investment
The government now sets sights high on US$ 1.0 trillion investment for elevating Bangladesh to a developed nation. To this end, plans are laid out and works are underway to host an international projection in Dhaka this month. HPM Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the event while several hundred people, including ministers, entrepreneurs, economists, consultants, researchers from developed and emerging markets, will deliver their thoughtful perceptions on changing dynamics of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Gulf countries are now banking on Bangladesh to pour in investment as the economy of the country has been emerging with sustainable growth, opined, R Seetharaman, chief executive officer of Doha Bank in the state of Qatar. This week, the expert paid a visit to Bangladesh to inaugurate representative office of Doha Bank in Bangladesh. Drastic fall of oil prices in global market, alongside, presence of a plethora of business friendly opportunities have helped Bangladesh emerge as a potential hub for investment.
Agriculture and Food Security
Bangladesh Food Ministry will join the International Food Policy Research Institute and an American University to launch a comprehensive food security research project aiming to assess the condition of food security. This scheme will combine policy research with capacity strengthening to find solutions to boost the long term availability of food. It will also set out to improve the food chain, find ways to increase public food stock, boost disaster response and enhance price stabilization by using digital technology.
The country's first satellite-based Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) for agriculture is going to be introduced aiming to help farmers with advisory services to boost production. Local agro-based company Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI) Ltd in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) is going to virtualise the IDSS for agriculture. Examples of specialised IDSS include intelligent marketing decision support systems, flexible manufacturing systems and medical diagnosis systems.
Social Justice and Equity
As part of National Vitamin-A Plus campaign, over 20.10 million children aged between six months to 59 months were fed Vitamin A capsule to prevent childhood blindness and reduce child mortality. Under the campaign, children aged between six months and 11 months have been given capsule with blue color while children aged between 12 and 59 months have been administered with red color capsule.
Bangladesh has made significant improvements in the working condition at factories as three agencies have been working to plug the loopholes, said Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Organisation. In an interview with a leading English daily, he said since 2013, Bangladesh has come a long way to make its garments industry safer and to improve working conditions. According to this expert, a great deal of work has been done through the Alliance, Accord and the national initiatives to conduct structural assessments of safety and undertake remedial action.
Digital Bangladesh
Financial inclusion in Bangladesh expanded 8 percentage points year-on-year in 2015, driven by growth in mobile money, according to a recent study. About 43% of Bangladeshis are financially included, says the study conducted by Washington-based research company Inter Media with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation based on statistics of 2015. Of the figure, 24 percent of citizens are covered by non-bank financial inclusion and 19 percent have full-service bank accounts. There are 39 million registered mobile financial service accounts in Bangladesh until October this year.
Bangladesh has launched an initiative to train 30,000 women entrepreneurs by 2018. In this regard, a MoU was signed recently between the ICT Division, Bangladesh Women in Technology (BWIT) and Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID). This initiative was launched in partnership with the UNESCAP-APCICT to achieve SDG 5. The aim is to strengthen capacity of women entrepreneurs to utilise IT in support of their businesses and of government leaders and policymakers to create an enabling environment for ICT-empowered women entrepreneurs.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives