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Korea committed to strengthening infrastructure partnership with Bangladesh

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 28 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Korea committed to strengthening infrastructure partnership with Bangladesh

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South Korean Ambassador Lee Jang-keun has said Korea is a natural partner for Bangladesh’s infrastructure development and committed to further strengthening the partnership with Bangladesh in infrastructure area.

He said the infrastructure development is the key to the success of Bangladesh’s economic development and to the achievement of its grand vision to become a developed nation by 2041.

Ambassador Lee said this while delivering a keynote speech at the Infra Projects Road Show 2021 hosted by the Korean Embassy in cooperation with KOTRA Dhaka office, at the Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday.

The Korean envoy said, “I believe the infrastructure area can and should be the next RMG sector, another success story of economic cooperation between the two countries. And I think infrastructure can be an area which could take our bilateral ties into a new height in the coming decades.”

Secretary and CEO of PPPA, Sultana Afroz, said this road show would provide a valuable opportunity to see the progress of the partnership and the potential projects.

Eleven Bangladesh authorities including Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA), Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Roads & Highways Department (RHD), Bangladesh Railway (BR), Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), Dhaka WASA, and Chattogram WASA and 31 Korean construction and engineering companies including 12 companies based in Dhaka participated in the event.

Bangladesh contractors and Korean companies sat together to explore potential opportunities for cooperation in the field of infrastructure projects in Bangladesh through in-person and virtual one-on-one meetings.

Korea has been a longtime partner in Bangladesh’s infrastructure projects. The first project even dates back to early 1970s.

When Bangladesh declared independence in 1971, a Korean company was building a highway between Dhaka and Chittagong.

According to the statistics, Ambassador Lee said Korean companies participated in 210 infrastructure projects to date including Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge project built by Hyundai Construction in 1990s, which was the 11th longest bridge in the world and the longest in Asian continent, and more importantly named after Bangabandhu and inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in June 1998.

“The Bangabandhu Bridge was then the pride of Bangladesh (like the Padma Bridge today),” he added.

The Korean envoy said during his search of diplomatic archive regarding the beginning of the Korea-Bangladesh relations in early 1970s, “I found an interesting fact that in 1971 when Bangladesh declared independence, there was a Korean company which was building a highway between Dhaka and Chittagong in 1971. I was surprised to find this fact.”

“When Korean government discussed the diplomatic relations with the newly independent Bangladesh, securing this Korean company’s business interest was an important condition which we asked to then Bangladesh government,” he said adding “the history and story of infrastructure collaboration between our two counties have moved on since then.”

According to the Korean embassy press release, major Korean construction and engineering companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, POSCO, GS, Halla, Taeyoug, Heelim, Dowhaare are operating their offices in Dhaka and actively participate in infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.

In order to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, the two countries have launched PPP (Public-Private Partnership) platform in 2019 and identified recently five projects to be implemented under this framework including Meghna Bridge project.

Korea has also been actively providing concessional loans, EDCF, Economic Development Cooperation Fund, to support infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.