February 05, 2015
In an interview titled “I refuse to stop fighting” given to Global: The International Briefing, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed her intention to keep on fighting for the financial freedom and economic empowerment of women. In the interview, she highlighted the difficulties that she has faced so far as a woman in Bangladeshi politics to bring to the forefront the cause of empowering women of the country, especially given the various social obstacles standing in way.
As part of the government of Bangladesh’s policy of prioritizing inclusive education at all levels, there are plans to establish at least one university in every district of the country, to spread the benefits of higher education to all corners. The Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid announced this in Parliament on Wednesday. Currently, the country has 117 universities in total, of which 37 are public and 80 are private.
Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has achieved remarkable growth both in investment and exports during the first half of the current fiscal year. Investments in country’s EPZs grew 12.17%, exports rose 11.72% in first 6 months of 2014-15 compared to same period of previous fiscal year. This period saw around US$ 213.39 million investment up from US$ 190.23 million in Q1 of last fiscal year.
Since the current spate of blockades and strikes called by BNP-Jamaat started from 4th January, the ensuing violence committed by them has claimed 59 lives. 36 people have been burnt alive by arson attacks. More than 1270 people have been injured. Close to 1000 vehicles have been burnt and/or vandalized; 8 incidents of train sabotages have taken place and 7 passenger ships have come under attack.
Growth and Development
Despite the destructive acts of BNP-Jamaat throughout the month of January 2015, the resilience of the country’s economy is demonstrated by the fact that export earnings in January grew by 4.8% compared to the same period last year. According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh earned US$ 2.85 billion in January 2015, compared to US$ 2.75 billion in the same period last year.
According to Jemal Inaishvili, President of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Bangladesh should tell the world about its extraordinary achievements on development and economic fronts. He made the remarks on a four-day visit to Bangladesh as part of CACCI business delegation. CACCI is an influential business group from Asia and the Western Pacific region.
As part of the policy of relocating chemical factories outside populated areas and to boost the sector’s growth, the government of Bangladesh has taken an initiative to build a 'Chemical Polli (Village)' at Sonakanda, Keraniganj Upazila at a cost of US$ 185.5 million. The village would be set up on an area of 20 acres and would be able to accommodate some 4,000 chemical factories and institutions.
Bangladesh has successfully built its first contained vessel christened “MV Rodella”. Built by the local company Desh Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd, the vessel is the first to be built here to facilitate inland and coastal trading in places like Chittagong, Mongla, Pangaon and east coast Indian and Myanmar ports. 80 meters in length and 15 meters in length, the vessel has a container capacity of 128 TEUs.
Social Justice and Equity
On Tuesday, the country’s top economic body ECNEC approved the Income Support Programme for the Poorest (ISPP) project that aims to provide financial assistance to half a million poor pregnant women and mothers having children up to five years in some selected areas. The project costing around US$ 306.2 million will be implemented in 42 Upazilas of 7 districts of Rangpur and Dhaka divisions.
Under a government project, more than 30,000 poor and slum households are enjoying sanitation facilities primarily by commissioning of 11,000 hygienic latrines in Rajshahi. They are also getting facilities of safe drinking water from 2,300 tube wells and other settlement improvement services like 42,412 square-kilometers of footpath, 6,708-meters of drainage system, 34 bins and 7 community centers.
Trade and Investment
The European Union has set up a business council in Bangladesh to strengthen economic relations. The main aim of the EU Business Council Bangladesh is to identify the obstacles to trade and investment between the EU and Bangladesh and support the EU in its discussions with the government of Bangladesh and other stakeholders on the ways and means to strengthen the economic relations.
This week a 17-member high-level trade delegation from Thailand visited Bangladesh to explore opportunities for boosting bilateral trade and investment. The delegation, which comprised of business people and government officials, expressed interest of Thai businesses to invest in various sectors of Bangladesh, especially textiles, garments, agro-machinery, pharmaceutical and cold storage.
Bangladesh is becoming a hub for technical and non-traditional garment products as international retailers are coming with increasing work orders. Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter after China in woven and knitwear segments. Now Bangladesh is also supplying military uniforms, travel bags, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, outdoor jackets, jute slippers and other jute goods.
International and Regional Cooperation
As part of the “comprehensive partnership” that Dhaka and Tokyo embarked on last year, the first foreign secretarial-level meeting, known as Foreign Office Consultation (FOC), between Bangladesh and Japan will be held in Dhaka on February 5, 2015. Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyana will lead his side, while Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque will lead the Bangladesh delegation.
Bangladesh will host the 12th edition of the largest AIDS conference for the Asia-Pacific region, known as ICAAP, from November 20 to 23, 2015. The event is expected to draw more than 3,000 participants. The event will be the first global AIDS conference to take place after the UN General Assembly in September, in which the post-2015 development agenda will be passed.
Digital Bangladesh
According to a report by international NGO Save the Children, use of ICT in education has reached remote community learning centres in Bangladesh. The report, which mapped the use of ICT by government, NGOs and private sector for educational purposes, found that thousands of classrooms have been equipped with laptops, projectors, Internet modems and teachers trained on how to use those.
This week, the government launched a major programme to train 30,000 youths in information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services over the next three years to further its vision of a Digital Bangladesh and transform the economy to a digital one from a labor-intensive one. The programme is part of the 'Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance Project' with World Bank funding of US$ 70 million.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives