The United Kingdom wants to invest in a big way in Bangladesh to help achieve its middle-income country status saying the next generation of British Bangladeshis can make the difference with their cemented ties with Bangladesh, says a British trade envoy.
“Obviously, infrastructure is a big area for investment,” British Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Bangladesh Rushanara Ali, MP told media adding that there are new areas Bangladesh and the UK can work.
She listed energy sector, especially renewable energy, and technological cooperation, education and skill sharing as some potential areas of cooperation.
“You’ve a very young population increasingly educated. You’re really getting involved in developing new enterprises,” Rushanara said mentioning that the two countries have a lot to do together.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake was, among others, present during Rushanara’s interview with a select group of media.
The British trade envoy said there is a real recognition that rail, roads, bridges and airports - those basic things need investment and they need partnership from different countries with Bangladesh to help the country achieve its ambition of becoming a middle-income country.
Saying these are related to economic development, Rushanara also laid emphasis on “inclusive development” in Bangladesh.
Talking about investment barriers, she said further improvement in business climate means more investors to look at Bangladesh for future investment, not just from the UK but from other countries. “This is something very important.”
The trade envoy, who is now here on her third visit to Bangladesh representing the British Prime Minister, said, “Businesses go to countries where environment is conducive to investing and operating. You all know it very well.”
Rushanara said the barriers are well understood and she thinks Bangladeshi people can understand them better than she can describe.
She, however, expressed optimism that they have been working together and a favorable business environment is considerably worked out. “That’s something we’ll keep doing.”
Talking about British-Bangladeshi nationals, she said they have a very high expectation as they have a relationship with this country. “Their origin is here. They’ve a huge amount of commitment to this country.”
Rushanara said sometimes people go away getting disappointed if they confronts with barriers. “The relationship needs to be protected, cemented and harnessed. We’ve a role to play.”
She laid emphasis on producing high-value garment products and tech business saying there is real potential for partnership.
On Rohingya issue, the British lawmaker said it is a “terrible tragedy” and the international community needs to increase humanitarian assistance.
“We’ll keep up the pressure. We want to make sure the international community doesn’t turn its eyes way from this severe crisis,” she said adding that their first priority is to increase assistance.
In February, over 100 British parliamentarians, including Rushanara, said it is time for the UK to state that Myanmar's military should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their appalling “security operations” against the Rohingya, described as ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide by the United Nations.
The parliamentarians wrote to the then British Foreign Secretary seeking measures in line with their call.
They sent a letter to the foreign secretary calling for an ICC referral for Myanmar's military general.