September 18, 2014
According to a recent report published by the Washington based research organization, Pew Research Center, 71% of Bangladeshis are happy with the economic health of the country, in a show of confidence on the current Awami League led government’s economic management. Demonstrating a mood of optimism, contrary to the global trend as revealed by similar surveys on other countries, 66% of Bangladeshis expected the economic situation in their country to further improve over the course of the next 12 months.
Trade and Investment
According to HSBC’s latest Trade Confidence Index, trade confidence on Bangladesh has risen sharply, by 38 points in 6 months, which is the second highest among 23 countries globally. The Index reveals that Bangladesh's score increased to 141 in the first half of 2014, from 103 in the second half of 2013. Bangladesh outpaced several countries including India, Turkey, China, UK, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, USA, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and France. The report also forecasts   steady growth for Bangladesh’s share of garments & textiles exports, rising from 2.8% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2020, boosted by recent initiatives to further strengthen its health and safety standards.
Bangladesh’s Board of Investment (BoI) organized a day long ‘International Investment Forum (IIF) 2014’ at Dhaka on Wednesday with the participation of 273 local and foreign investors from 21 countries, with the aim of attracting investment in potential sectors by offering investment opportunities and incentives by the government. Inaugurating the event, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted various incentives foreign investors can seek to receive in Bangladesh and urged them to take advantage of the country’s very liberal and favorable regulatory regime, skilled workforce and strategic location to expand their businesses.
Bangladesh has formally decided to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), dubbed China’s own version of the World Bank. The decision had been taken at a meeting with the finance minister in chair on Wednesday. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to be signed with China in this regard next month. The multilateral bank, of which Bangladesh is to become a founder member, is scheduled to make its debut by the end of this year with an aim to finance key infrastructure projects in Asian countries.
International and Regional Cooperation
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will co-chair a US organized peacekeeping summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Sep 26 alongside US Vice-President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh has stated that USA has invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to co-chair the event due to her personal commitment to peace and development and Bangladesh’s contribution to UN peacekeeping around the world.
Bangladesh will host the second joint working group meeting of “Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor” on November 12-13. The first such meeting was held in Kunming last December and it was decided that the four countries would prepare their own national plan in a common format and share and discuss it in the second meeting in Cox’s Bazar. The Foreign Ministry in consultation with, Bangladesh Institute of International Strategies and Studies (BIISS) and the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has drafted and currently analyzing Bangladesh’s National Plan. The proposed economic route will connect Kunming in China, Mandalay in Myanmar, Chittagong and Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Kolkata in India. However, the route will not only connect cities, but also link supply and demand in the region.
Bangladesh hosted a major three-day international conference from Sunday onwards at Dhaka to review progress towards the goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. The event, which was attended by some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries, was inaugurated by the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who herself received a "token of appreciation" from the organizers for her crucial role in conservation of tigers. She called upon all to keep their continued commitment for protecting the tigers and assured that her own government will do everything to this end.
Infrastructural Development and Growth
Top economic body of the Bangladesh government has approved a project to launch the country’s first satellite, “Bangabandhu-1” into space. The $388 million billion project covers manufacturing and launching of the satellite and building two ground stations. Once complete, Bangabandhu-1 will reduce reliance on foreign satellites for cable channels, improve telecommunications services (especially to the remote areas), facilitate collection of meteorological data for disaster warnings and enhance capacity to map natural resources apart from saving the exchequer more than $14 million annually.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), private sector financing wing of the World Bank Group, has expressed interest to offer advisory support to Bangladesh in building a deep-sea port at Sonadia, Cox’s Bazar. To that end, they have already submitted a concept paper to the Ministry of Shipping for development of the proposed port. IFC has proposed to draw up a comprehensive scheme outlining the measures to be undertaken by the government for the development of the said port. As part of its overall vision of upgrading the maritime trade and shipping infrastructure of the country, the current government places highest priority on ports, with works on the country’s third seaport at Payera progressing fast.
Bangladesh Awami League