Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh is globally lauded as a ‘Development Miracle’ in terms of GDP growth and sustainable socioeconomic developments and it has emerged as a very lucrative destination for investment.
This has been made possible by formulating pragmatic policies, by offering attractive incentives and by a supportive government that remains vigilant to improve the investment eco-system in the country, he said.The foreign minister was addressing a webinar on “Increasing FDI into the Economic Zones of Bangladesh: Role of Ministry of Foreign Affairs” on Thursday.
“Due to the 'balancing of life and livelihood' policy adopted by the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has largely been able to keep the economic activities afloat even in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, when the world came to a screeching halt, as it were,” Momen said “As a result, we have been able to achieve a GDP growth rate of 5.24% in the last financial year, which is one of the highest in the world.”
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority Paban Chowdhury, heads of Bangladesh Mission abroad, investors, senior officials from different ministries and departments participated in the webinar.
Momen said Bangladesh will soon graduate from LDC. “This is a historic milestone for us in terms of our national development.”
This achievement, however, entails some challenges as well. In order to successfully tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic and the post-graduation dynamics, we need multifaceted expansion of both the export portfolio and export destinations, he said. “One effective tool for facing these challenges may be to attract a greater inflow of FDI. You are aware that according to the London-based think tank, Center for Banking and Economic Research (CBER), Bangladesh will emerge as the 25th largest economy in the world with a GDP of USD1.2 trillion by the year 2035,” said the Foreign Minister.
He said Bangladesh is moving in the right direction in terms of achieving the sustainable development goals. Enhanced FDI into Bangladesh can be an important factor in catapulting the country into the envisaged developed status by 2041.It needs no mentioning that FDI can play a significant role in accelerating industrialisation, increasing employment, enhancing exports and transfer of higher skills and technology. “So, I hope today's webinar will encourage us to play a more active role in this regard,” Momen said.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its global network of missions, continues to play its due role in attracting more foreign investment to Bangladesh.
“An overarching objective of our foreign policy and diplomacy is to achieve the goals of economic diplomacy, and we are making calibrated efforts to strengthen our institutional and professional capacity in this regard.”
He said there are five components of economic diplomacy, which include i) increasing FDI and portfolio expansion, ii) export growth and diversification, iii) improved service delivery, iv) gainful employment or our human resource, and v) technology transfer.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been making concerted efforts in all these five areas of economic diplomacy.
The International Trade, Investment and Technology Wing has been set up in the Ministry to add a greater momentum and impetus to these ongoing endeavours in the arena of economic diplomacy, he added.
“In order to better coordinate our actions vis-à-vis increasing our exports in the competitive world market and attracting greater foreign investment to Bangladesh, we have already conducted periodic videoconferencing with all the heads of Bangladesh Missions abroad and compiled relevant data,” he said.
Momen said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the missions abroad is working in close collaboration with all investment authorities and relevant ministries in Bangladesh to further strengthen the country’s trade and investment credentials.
He said the webinar is attended by the senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well, who would eventually take charge of our Missions abroad and would be at the forefront of our economic diplomacy actions.
So, one of the goals of today's webinar and discussion is to sensitise them to the prevailing situation as well as to the prospects and problems of our economic zones with respect to FDI inflow into Bangladesh.