September 04, 2014
According to the latest public opinion polls conducted by the leading English daily newspaper Dhaka Tribune, the current Awami League (AL) government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is enjoying overwhelming popular support. 75% of the respondents surveyed were satisfied with the current government’s first 6 months in power following the January 5 elections. A significant majority, around 70% of the respondents, felt that the country is headed in the right direction. A majority, 53%, of the respondents voiced their support for the current government to complete their five years tenure. An overwhelming majority of respondents, nearly 78%, expressed their objection to any forthcoming agitation movement by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
International and Regional Cooperation
Dhaka has hosted a two-day international conference on Blue Economy in the Bay of Bengal region this week attended by 30 experts and representatives of 20 countries. The primary objective was to float and discuss ideas for making optimum utilization of the marine resources by the states adjoining the Bay of Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister stated that Bangladesh is willing to work and move together with a partnership for blue economy to secure sustainable development among the coastal states.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a three-day trip to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from Saturday to hold summit meetings with leaders of the respective countries. The Japanese Premier’s trip to Dhaka during 6-7 September is aimed at advancing the Japan-Bangladesh comprehensive partnership, launched during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Tokyo in May. Mr. Shinzo Abe will be accompanied by a Japanese business delegation, consisting of around 30-40 top executives from Japanese companies.
From September 9-12, Dhaka will host an important regional health conference, with health officials from 11 member countries of World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region (WHO-SEAR) holding talks on major health challenges faced by the region. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate this 32nd meet of the regional health ministers, which would also be attended by WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan and WHO Regional Director for southeast Asia Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh. More than 150 foreign delegates including health ministers and secretaries of 11 member countries are expected to join the event.
Trade and Investment
The 2nd Bangladesh Investment Summit will be held on 4th September at Singapore to examine trade and investment opportunities for asset managers and corporations in the country's rapidly expanding economy. Top business leaders of Bangladesh will join potential international investors, bankers and global consultants to deliberate on opportunities that Bangladesh presents. Another similar summit will be held in Dhaka on September 17 where investors and representatives of major global corporations from 25 countries will take part. The “Bangladesh International Investors Forum 2014” will highlight Bangladesh’s achievements in various sectors and highlight investment prospects to participants.
Deutsche Bank AG, a German global bank and financial services company, is likely to offer Bangladesh to raise $1billion for it by floating sovereign bonds. Deutsche Bank opened its Dhaka office two years ago with the intent to become a partner of Bangladesh's financial sector development initiatives. Deutsche Bank's Bangladesh representative Dr Hasan Imam recently sent a letter to Finance Secretary Mahbub Ahmed in this regard. Herman Bake, management head of DB’s fixed income capital market, will meet the finance secretary today in this regard.
Bangladesh on the International Stage
After earning an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Business, Bangladesh born Saima Chowdhury worked for a number of large U.S. corporations before starting her own integrated sourcing company, New York City-based Noi Solutions. Her firm, which helps retailers manufacture their goods in Bangladesh, and helps Bangladeshi factories market their goods to US based retailers, has seen a whopping 1519% growth in three years and its revenue last year stood at $22.8 million.
India’s leading medical publishers Jaypee Ltd has published a text book on pediatrics written by a Bangladeshi doctor, Prof Md Salim Shakur, titled ‘Illustrated Textbook of Pediatrics’. Two editions of the book will be published, one for Bangladesh and other for international audiences especially for circulation in North America and Europe. The book contains all issues related to child health including immunization, nutrition, infectious diseases and complications faced by newborns with more than 1000 pictures and sketches.
Social Justice & Equity
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hand over UNESCO’s 2014 International Literacy Prizes to the awardees schedule to be held in Dhaka on September 8, marking the International Literacy day. In recognition of the various educational milestones achieved by Bangladesh in recent years, UNESCO decided to hold this year’s ceremony in Bangladesh, outside of Paris for the first time. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, education ministers from 12 countries are expected to attend the conference and a joint declaration is likely to follow the conference.
The Bangladesh Cabinet has this week approved a proposal for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India on bilateral cooperation for rescue, repatriation and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking especially women and children. The MoU would be signed during the home secretary-level meeting between the two countries in Dhaka from September 2-4.
Digital Bangladesh
Bangladeshi IT professionals and graduates will now have internationally recognized qualifications and degrees as Bangladesh received membership of Information Technology Professional Examination Council (ITPEC). As a result of the membership, Bangladesh now has the authority to annually hold the Information Technology Engineers Examinations (ITEE), which is the examination for evaluating skills of IT engineers. Japan-based Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), a regulatory body for evaluating the ITEE conferred the ITPEC membership on Bangladesh at a function held in Dhaka.
E-commerce or online trading has seen substantial growth in Bangladesh in recent times, principally due to rapidly increasing internet coverage and mobile phone connectivity in remote areas. Online trading platforms have grown to more than 2000 to facilitate e-commerce. In recent times, 41 online social media pages in Facebook and Twitter have become very popular, especially among youths, for online trading. In fact, about 73% of e-commerce transactions take place through Facebook pages. Online shopping accounts for trade worth TK 10 billion, with a monthly growth of 20-25%.
Bangladesh Awami League