Tokyo, May 29 (UNB) - Bangladesh and Japan on Wednesday signed their 40th ODA deal involving US$ 2.5 billion for implementing four projects to bolster ties between the two countries.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Monowar Ahmed and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi signed the ODA deal on behalf of their respective sides.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe witnessed the signing at his office.
Four projects, taken under the 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) package deal, are Matarbari Port Development Project (1), Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line 1), Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project (II) and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Promotion Financing Project (Phase 2).
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office and held a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
Sheikh Hasina was given guard of honour when she reached the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office.
Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on developing the Bangladesh-Japan relations to a “strategic level”.
She also sought cooperation in extracting gas hydrate from seabed.
Both the Prime Ministers promised to work together against terrorism and violent extremism, both at the national and international levels.
Sheikh Hasina urged the Japanese Prime Minister to take skilled manpower from Bangladesh as they introduced a new immigration law.
She proposed opening a skill development institute in Bangladesh and taking trained manpower from Bangladesh.
Abe responded very positively in this regard and said officials of the two counties will talk over the matter and decide, said the Foreign Secretary.
Hasina invited her Japanese counterpart to attend the “Mujib Borsho” to be celebrated in 2020 and Abe accepted the invitation saying he will consider positively.
Japan will contest the UN Security Council election which will be held 2022, and Bangladesh will help it in this regard.
Japan also extended its support to Bangladesh candidate for the post of Deputy Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Bangladesh nominated Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque to contest the post earlier.
PM's speech writer Md Nazrul Islam was present during the briefing.
Dhaka, May 29 (UNB) - Six promising entrepreneurs from Bangladesh have been selected to present their innovative work during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 to be held on June 3-5 in The Hague.
They highlighted their work during a meeting with the press on Wednesday organized by the embassies of The Netherlands and the United States of America in Dhaka.
The United States of America and The Kingdom of the Netherlands announced that some of the outstanding entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, supporters, and policymakers from around the world will attend the GES 2019 from June 3-5, in The Hague.
Co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and chaired by the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, GES 2019 is the ninth such gathering of entrepreneurs, business leaders, supporters, and government officials.
The entrepreneurial summit will center on innovative and promising ideas and projects from 1,200 specially selected ‘next generation entrepreneurs’ and aims to advance global entrepreneurship.
Global Entrepreneurship Summit GES 2019 could be a game changer for enterprises.
The Summit will gather 2,000 of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs, 300+ top investors, policy makers, as well as leading American, Dutch and European corporates, and innovation ecosystem partners in five focus sectors: Agriculture/Food, Connectivity, Energy, Health, and Water.
GES 2019 is more than a meeting: it will engage entrepreneurs worldwide, inspire innovation, and showcase breakthrough technology, said a media release.
The Summit will promote “Deals that matter for everyone,” with an emphasis on connecting entrepreneurs and investors, and bringing together investors from all investor classes.
The 2019 Summit will highlight the critical importance of empowering women entrepreneurs with improved access to finance and full and equal partnerships.
Future Now Challenges
The theme of GES 2019 is The Future Now: bringing the right people together for GES 2019 can lead to solutions now, while creating road maps to future economic activity where innovation can deliver solutions to global challenges and create economic prosperity.
Future Now Challenges will focus on bringing a private sector approach to the next big challenges for our growing economies and countries.
Future Now Challenges will examine how artificial intelligence (AI), big data, block chain, internet of things (IoT), smart phone ubiquity and new scientific breakthroughs will transform and improve the five focus sectors.
GES 2019 is a collaborative venture between the Netherlands and the United States.
This year’s co-hosts are Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Kaag, is the chair of the conference.
Speakers will address ways to support the next wave of entrepreneurship and innovation and the future of agriculture, connectivity, energy, health, and water.
The Summit will forge new connections through curated matchmaking and networking, workshops, and hands-on advice.
Tokyo, May 29 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived here Japanese Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday afternoon to hold a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at his office.
Sheikh Hasina was given guard of honour when she reached the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office.
After the bilateral talks, there will be a signing ceremony and joint press statement.
Bangladesh and Japan are scheduled to sign their 40th ODA deal involving US$ 2.5 billion for implementing five projects as her visit is expected to bolster ties between the two countries.
Five projects, taken under the 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) package deal, are Matarbari Port Development Project (1), Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line 1), Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project (II), Energy Efficiency and Conservation Promotion Financing Project (Phase 2) and Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project (V).
Later in the evening, Hasina will attend the official dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his residence.
Dhaka, May 29 (UNB) - The government of Bangladesh on Wednesday signed a $100.5 million financing agreement with the World Bank to improve livability of four large neighborhoods in Dhaka city, benefitting about a million residents.
The Dhaka City Neighborhood Upgrading Project will enhance public spaces and urban services in four neighborhoods—Kamrangir Char, Lalbagh, Sutrapur-Nayabazar-Gulistan, Khilgaon-Mugda-Bashabo—under the Dhaka South City Corporation.
The project will help upgrade public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, waterfronts; streets, sidewalks; and transform public buildings such as community centers into multipurpose facilities to serve communities.
“With more than one-third of the country’s urban population living in Dhaka, it is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. Due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of public amenities and severe traffic congestion, the residents face many difficulties in their everyday lives,” said Zahid Hussain, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“The project will address some of these challenges and help enhance the quality of civic life.”
The four localities were selected through a series of consultations with multiple stakeholder groups, according to WB.
The project will help enhance green open spaces by improving selected parks, streets and waterfront areas.
It will also pilot interventions for safe mobility and traffic management and incorporate environment-friendly features and energy efficient design principles and materials in all interventions that it will support.
The project will cater to the differentiated needs of women and children, elderly and disabled. Women in Dhaka face challenges in terms of mobility, walkability and access to public infrastructure.
Some 93 percent of women reportedly do not use public toilets and 42 percent perceive the city’s parks to be unsafe. To improve personal safety and access for women and children, the project will ensure energy-efficient street lighting, police posts, health clinics, and other integrated amenities.
“Dhaka city accounts for about one-fifth of the country’s GDP and half of formal employment. Hence, Dhaka plays an important role in achieving the government’s vision of upper-middle income country,” said Md. Zahidul Haque, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.
“The project will help Dhaka offer features of a modern city to its residents.”
The agreement was signed by Md. Zahidul Haque and Zahid Hussain on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent and an interest of 1.25 percent.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.
Since then the World Bank has committed over $30 billion, mostly in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program totaling $12.4 billion.
Tokyo, May 29 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called upon the Japanese business community to explore newer areas for investment in export-oriented sectors of Bangladesh to unlock the full potentials of business and trade relations between the two friendly nations.
"I invite you to explore the full potentials of business and trade relations with Bangladesh. Given the excellent bilateral relations and understanding that exist between our two leaderships, and the tremendous goodwill prevails between our two peoples, let’s lift the business relations to a higher level," she said.
The Prime Minister made the call while speaking at the Bangladesh-Japan Business Forum roundtable with CEOs at Hotel New Otani here.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is a fast-emerging, highly competitive location for investments in terms of cost, human resources, size of domestic market, and access to international markets, trade facilitation, and investment protection.
"We welcomed the investment to the tune of 1.4 billion dollars made by Japan Tobacco last year. We wish to see more such investments from Japan," she said.
Hasina said the success of readymade garments of Bangladesh sector is globally known as the country is the second largest RMG exporter in the world after China.
The Prime Minister said apparel is the number one export product to Japan. In 2018, it achieved the highest growth, by almost 33.5 percent in volume, surpassing all other competitors, she added.
"We would, however, like to see diversification in our export basket. I would call upon you to explore newer areas for investment in export-oriented sectors in Bangladesh," she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is now a major global hub for quality medicine as it is exporting medicines to more than 100 countries, including the USA, the UK, Australia and Africa.
She said shipbuilding has drawn global attention by producing world-class ocean-going vessels. Bangladeshi companies have provided passenger and cargo ships to 14 countries, including Europe.
She mentioned that software is yet another promising industry in Bangladesh. Among 800 Software and IT companies of Bangladesh, over 150 are specialised in serving overseas’ clients.
Hasina said more than 20,000 Bangladeshi IT professionals are working in various reputed IT companies all over the world, including in Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Oracle and Cisco. "I’m informed that ITES (IT-enabled services) products appear to have promising prospects in the huge Japanese IT market."
The Prime Minister said Bangladeshi agro-based products, Jute goods, home appliances, light engineering products, leather products, pharmaceuticals, and electronic gadgets are making a mark in the world market.
"With environmental concerns growing globally, bio-degradable jute and substitute jute products from Bangladesh render huge potentials," she added.
Hasina said private sector is the main engine of Bangladesh's economy and the government attaches top priority to entrepreneurship development and private investments, both domestic and foreign.
She said the government is establishing 100 Special Economic Zones throughout the country, including one exclusively for Japanese investors at Araihazar.
"Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpanagar in Chattogram has a plenty of land for establishment of Economic Zones under G2G basis and Public Private Partnership model. We’ve also taken Moheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Infrastructure Development Initiative (MIDI) for Logistic hub, Power and Energy hub and Water front Industry hub. Japan may support these initiatives."
The Prime Minister said the government has also taken initiatives to set up IT parks. Two Software Technology Parks are in operation and 26 High-Tech Park/Software Technology Park are under construction.
"We’ve one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia. And these include, among others, protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax policy, and concessionary duty on import of machinery. We also offer 100 percent foreign equity, unrestricted exit, full repatriation of dividend and capital. We enjoy preferential access to most of the leading world markets, including the EU, Canada, and Japan."
She said Bangladesh is now the second largest economy in South Asia and 41st in the world in terms of nominal GDP. This year, the GDP growth is poised to hit a record 8.13 percent. And if the current trend of growth continues, Bangladesh will attain double-digit growth rate soon.
"And I’m happy to note that we’re moving steadily towards realising this goal. We’re on the right track to reach our goals to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041,” said the Prime Minister.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, BGMEA President Rubana Huq and Chairman of Summit Group Muhammad Aziz Khan Summit Power Aziz Khan spoke at the function moderated by Bangladeshi Ambassador in Japan Rabab Fatima.
Among Japanese businessmen, chairperson of Japan Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (JBCCEC) Teruo Asada, JICA executive senior vice-president Kazuhiko Koshikawa, JETRO president Yasushi Akahoshi, Sumitomo Corporation president and CEO Masayuki Hyodo, Mitsui and Co Ltd the executive vice president Shinsuke Fuji, Sojitz Corporation Senior Managing executive officer Ryutaro Hirai, Mitsubishi Motors vice-president Ryujiro Kobashi, Honda Motor Co Ltd managing officer Noriaki Abe and Maruhisa Co Ltd president Kiminobu Hiraishi spoke on the occasion.
Briefing reporters after the programme, PM's speech writer Md Nazrul Islam said the Japanese business entrepreneurs put emphasis on the safety and security of their staff in Bangladesh.
In reply, the Prime Minister ensured about their safety and security.
She expressed deep condolence for the victims of holey artisan incident and conveyed sympathy to the affected families.
The Japanese businessmen highly appreciated the Prime Minister for the robust growth of business and economy in Bangladesh under her leadership.
They also praised the government policies for flourishing business in Bangladesh.
Currently, some 280 Japanese companies are now there in Bangladesh.