June 01, 2019 | Issue 221


HPM Sheikh Hasina’s Japan visit: Taking bilateral ties to heights

The relationship between Bangladesh and Japan has been elevated to a different dimension with this week visit of Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina to Japan as it has ushered in a new horizon to boost the bilateral trade and commerce in the coming days. During her visit, both countries signed their 40th ODA deal involving $2.5 billion to implement four projects to boost ties between the two countries. On the other hand, Japanese Primer Shinzo Abe has assured his counterpart of continuing to support Bangladesh in its efforts to graduate to a developed nation. Japan is the single largest development partner of Bangladesh with $11.3 billion in ODA since independence.

UN honours twelve fallen Bangladeshi peacekeepers

The United Nations has honoured 12 fallen Bangladeshi peacekeepers who lost their lives on duty in various parts of the world last year. The UN awarded “Dag Hammarskjold Medal” to 119 fallen peacekeepers from 27 member states. Among them were the 12 Bangladeshis who made supreme sacrifice for global peace. The medals were awarded by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and received by the permanent representatives of the respective countries at an event held in New York last week. The programme was organised mark-ing the International Day of the UN Peacekeepers.

Power coverage reaches 93% people in Bangladesh: World Bank

Bangladesh has made significant progress in access to electricity as its electrification coverage reached 93% , thanks to the stronger political commitment of the Awami League government led by HPM Sheikh Hasina. The World Bank in its just-published Energy Progress Report 2019 mentioned that among the countries with the largest population without access to electricity, Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar and Sudan have made the most progress. It said global electrification rate reached 89%; the number of people without electricity access dropped to around 840 million, compared to 1 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010.

Big boost for roads, railway; New road infrastructures to improve socioeconomic conditions

A number of bridges, flyovers, underpasses recently opened to the public on Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Chattogram and other highways are expected to have a positive impact on the socio-economic condition of the country. Besides, these projects will contribute to regional connectivity and multilateral trades in the long run. The development projects are not only increasing the efficiency of the country’s road networks by reducing traffic gridlocks and saving time but also contributing to a boost in exports, the business community opined. Such improvements in infrastructure will help accelerate the pace of industrialisation, trade and commerce activities.

Bangladesh has highest number of green garment factories

Ten more garment factories received the top billing from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to take the total to 24, the highest in the world, in a heartening development for Bangladesh’s apparel sector, whose image has been battered by incidents of industrial accidents. Of the 24 platinum-rated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) factories in Bangladesh, six are amongst the top 10 in the world. “In every consideration, Bangladesh has the highest number of green garment factories in the world,” said the USGBC. Overall, the total number of LEED-certified garment factories in Bangladesh is 90, including the 24 platinum rated buildings, according to the USGBC.

2nd Meghna, Gumti bridges opened to traffic

HPM Sheikh Hasina this week inaugurated the much-awaited 930-metre Second Meghna Bridge and the 1,410-metre Second Gumti Bridge on Dhaka-Chattogram highway, aiming to reduce the plight of travellers on this vital national highway. The premier opened the two bridges through a video conference from her official residence Ganabhaban. On March 16, she inaugurated the Shitalakkhya Bridge (Second Kanchpur Bridge) on the Shitalakkhya River, another bridge of the same project. The work on the around-400-metre new Kanchpur bridge—at a cost of Tk950 crore—was completed in December 2017. The new bridge is two metres wider than the old one. The authorities have already started restoring the old bridge.

$100m World Bank loan to improve four Dhaka neighbourhoods

The government signed a $100.5 million financing agreement with the World Bank to improve livability of four major neighborhoods in Dhaka, with an aim to benefit about a million people. The project titled “Dhaka City Neighbourhood Upgrading” will enhance public spaces and urban services. The neighbourhoods expected to be benefitted are: Kamrangir Char, Lalbagh, Sutrapur-Nayabazar-Gulistan and Khilgaon-Mugda-Bashabo under Dhaka South City Corporation. The project will help revamp public spaces like parks, playgrounds, waterfronts; streets, sidewalks; and transform public buildings such as community centres into multipurpose facilities. The four localities were selected through a series of consultations with different stakeholder groups.

23, Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka-1000. Bangladesh.

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