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Eswatini-FBCCI Meeting

Call to tap $1.3bn market in Africa

FBCCI urges the Eswatini delegation led by trade minister to set up High Commission in Dhaka.

  • Special Correspondent
  • 20 July, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Bangladesh can reach the almost untapped $1.3 billion market in Africa by expanding business ties with Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, said its trade minister.

Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry of Eswatini Senator Manqoba Khumalo called for strengthening business relations with his country.

 He made the remarks at a discussion meeting with Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). He was leading a delegation.

With its strategic geographic location, Eswatini acts as a gateway to the African continent, the minister said.

As the country is a member of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Southern African Customs Union (SACU), establishing business and

investment relations with Eswatini would provide favourable market access to regional blocs in Africa, the minister noted.

 Highlighting Tax- and Duty-Free facilities and other incentives for foreign investors, Senator Manqoba Khumalo informed that China and India are the two major exporters to Eswatini, while his government would like to see Bangladesh as another important trade and investment partner.

Bangladesh may treat Eswatini as a potential market for exporting readymade garments, agro products, ICT and electronic products in particular, he said.

The African country is interested in joint ventures as well. Eswatini’s funding and Bangladesh’s technology and experiences could be applied in pharmaceutical industry, bio-tech, contract farming and ICT, senator Manqoba Khumalo further informed.

 Earlier, FBCCI senior vice president and acting president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu proposed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between FBCCI and its counterpart of Eswatini to bolster bilateral trade and investment.

Currently, Bangladeshi people have to process visas from Malaysia. The acting president of FBCCI, therefore, called for setting up the country’s High Commission in Dhaka.

At the same time, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu suggested arranging business-to-business (B2B) meetings, webinars, and exchange of delegation to take the bilateral trade to new heights.

 Vice President Md. Amin Helaly assured of providing all kinds of support from FBCCI to increase bilateral trade.

 Earlier in the meeting, the potentials of electronic products assembling and mutual tourism development were discussed.

 Under Secretary of Ministry of Commerce for Industry and Trade Cebile Amanda Nhlabatsi, MSME Director Mluleki Sakhile Dlamini, Senior Executive Manager of Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority Dr. Khanyisiie Dlamini and representatives from Bangladeshi Business Community in Eswatini Mohammed Asraful Alam Chowdhury, Badruzzaman Chowdhury and Badral Alam Chowdhury were also present in the meeting.

 The meeting was also attended by, among others, FBCCI directors M G R Nasir Majumder, Hafez Harun, Md. Aslam Serniabath, Md. Naser, Abu Hossain Bhuiyan (Ranu), Mohammad Ali Khokon, Advisor Manzur Ahmed and Brigadier General (Retired) Abu Nayeem Md. Shahidullah.

 The meeting was conducted by FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque.