August 28, 2014
Internationally renowned Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin Ahmed has been bestowed with France's highest civilian title, "Chevalier De L'ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres" (Knight in the Order of Fine Arts and Humanities), for his contribution to art in France and around the world. Shahabuddin, who fought as a freedom fighter during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971, is known for his signature bold strokes, vibrant colours and figurative expressions.
Trade and Investment
Global investment giant Goldman Sachs has expressed its interest to manage Bangladeshi sovereign bonds in the world market. This was expressed by a Goldman delegation visiting Finance Minister AMA Muhith last Thursday. The delegation included Goldman's Hong Kong office MD Paul Rhodes and Vice President Jonathan Tung and London office MD Ryad Yousuf.
Within two decades, Bangladesh’s leading footwear manufacturer 'Apex' has emerged as one of the largest shoemakers of South Asia. They export 4.5 million pairs annually to 130 retail customers in 40 countries, while at the same time produce 3 million pairs for the domestic market sold through a chain of 550 outlets across the nation.
From June next year, Indian manufacturing giant Bajaj will produce motorcycles at a plant in Gazipur, Bangladesh. The TK 150 million plant will generate employment for 450 people and is expected to make price of motorcycles cheaper by 30%. Bangladesh is rapidly becoming a favourite destination for Indian manufacturing companies. Tyre maker CEAT’s plant in Mymensingh is expected to be complete within 10-12 months and they are aiming to export 30% of their products from here.
International Cooperation
Bangladesh will host an international workshop on ‘blue economy’ on 1st September in Dhaka to discuss ways to better explore the untapped resources of the Bay of Bengal and thus bring about socioeconomic changes in the lives of people living in the Bay of Bengal region. Calls for greater integration along the Bay is receiving momentum in recent times from private sectors of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. It should be noted that the secretariat of the Bay Initiative for Multi Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will start officially functioning in Dhaka from next month paving way for a free trade area in the region.
Japan will help Bangladesh build an industrial area near the Bay of Bengal, providing some $5.7 billion in official development assistance over the next 4 to 5 years. The undertaking will focus on the region linking capital Dhaka with Matabari near the port city Chittagong, featuring a series of infrastructural projects and a special economic zone for Japanese investors. In order to better coordinate the ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries, a bilateral public-private economic dialogue has been launched to create new windows of “interactions and actions” in Dhaka on Friday.
In order to sustain its current levels of production of rice, Bangladesh has partnered up with China to create hybrid rice crops. As part of the collaboration, China would provide up to $10.5 million to set up a Joint Research Center to develop hybrid seed for 3 categories of high productivity rice.
Human Development
The government has floated a TK 2 billion revolving fund to lend money for income raising activities of low earning people. Agreements have been signed with 10 banks for handling the collateral-free lending. The banks will receive money from the fund at 5% interest rate and distribute it to the clients at a rate of no more than 10% interest. Low-income account holders, who currently number around 15 million, would be able to avail themselves of the loans directly from banks or through NGOs
The government has undertaken a pilot project to to build high-rise residential buildings in rural areas in a bid to preserve arable land. In the first stage, seven villages in each of the seven divisions will get one of these buildings which will be called "Palli Janapad". The TK 4.24 billion project will be done in Upazila growth centre areas picked through a baseline survey. The project aims to preserve arable land, ensure food security, improve livelihood and increase use of organic fertilizers and is expected to be completed by June 2017.
Digital Bangladesh
Election Commission of Bangladesh will make available several of its essential services online from September this year, such as: accessing information regarding voting centers, update personal information, applying for new national ID, amending details, downloading various forms etc. In a related development, the government has undertaken a major project for digitizing land survey, record and preservation at a cost of TK 2.7 billion.
The government on Monday signed a $44 million loan contract with Islamic Development Bank to install the second submarine cable for Bangladesh. The new cable which will connect 15 leading operators in the Asia-Pacific and Europe will increase the country's internet bandwidth by sevenfold from 200 Gbps now.
Bangladesh Awami League