Dhaka, Dec 09 (UNB) – Bangladesh is the ninth highest recipient of remittances this year with US$ 15.9 billion and in South Asia it ranks third after India ($79.5b) and Pakistan ($20.9b), the World Bank said in a report Saturday.
Bangladesh experienced strong upticks of 17.9 percent in 2018, the bank said.
In its latest Migration and Development Brief, the World Bank said Bangladesh, after a steep decline in 2016 (-11.5 percent), remittances were flat in 2017, but remittances are showing a brisk uptick in 2018 (17.9 percent).
In 2018, the top remittance-receiving countries are projected to be India ($79.5 billion), followed by China ($ 67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines ($34 billion each) and Egypt ($26 billion), according to the global lender.
The Bank estimates that officially-recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 percent to reach $528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows a robust growth of 7.8 percent in 2017.
Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 percent to $689 billion, it said.
The reports also projected that remittances to South Asia will increase by 13.5 percent to $132 billion in 2018, a stronger pace than the 5.7 percent growth seen in 2017.
“Remittances have a direct impact on alleviating poverty for many households, and the World Bank is well positioned to work with countries to facilitate remittance flows,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.
However, the pace of migrant worker deployments from Bangladesh for the first three quarters of 2018 slowed by 25 percent (0.55 million, compared with 0.73 million in the same period in the previous year).
The report also noted that the Malaysian government postponed hiring Bangladeshi workers from September 2018, claiming the system was abused by a cartel of 10 recruitment agencies in Bangladesh who charged workers nearly 10 times the allowable recruitment fees of TK 40,000 (approximately $471).
The government of Bangladesh has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Nepal agreeing that employers, rather than the migrant workers themselves, will bear the full cost of hiring, said the Bank.
Meanwhile, the Bank also mentioned that although refugee movements into the European Union have abated, other regions have seen dramatic increases in refugee numbers. Since August 2017 over 720,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh.
“This has placed enormous pressures on their host communities,” it added.
Dhaka, Dec 9 (UNB) - The World Bank has approved $500 million to improve livestock and dairy production in Bangladesh so that the country can meet growing demand for egg, meat and milk to improve the nutritional intake of its citizens.
The Livestock and Dairy Development Project will improve agricultural productivity and market access of 2 million smallholder household farmers and small and medium-scale agro-entreprenuers, said the Washington-based lending agency on Sunday.
By stimulating growth and improving livestock production systems, livestock farmers in Bangladesh will have better access to livestock services and practices, it said.
“By increasing livestock productivity, Bangladesh will be better able to meet the food demands of its population,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
“Livestock development also has the potential to create more and better jobs for women, youth, and the vulnerable in rural areas.”
The livestock sector employs 14 percent of the total labor force, but more than 70 percent of rural households are engaged in livestock production.
Currently 68 percent of the agricultural labor force are women and they are mainly involved in livestock and poultry production.
"Climate change impacts on livestock production threaten to hamper the development of livestock,” said Manievel Sene, World Bank Team Leader for the Livestock and Dairy Development Project.
“Rural households’ livestock assets are highly exposed to risks, including loss of livestock, associated with natural events and major disease outbreaks. Mitigating risks by creating an enabling environment for livestock insurance will reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers as well as enhance productivity.”
Production in cattle and milk, meat, and poultry meat and eggs are not meeting consumption growth, resulting in rising shortages: it is anticipated that by 2021, there will be annual shortages of 1.5 billion eggs, 0.5 million tons of meat, and more than 5.9 million tons of milk.
In 2015-2016, imports of dairy reached $248.8 million.
Young children, pregnant women and new mothers are particularly vulnerable to nutritional shortfalls.
The project aims to provide at least two million people with food safety information through training, mobile applications, and other multimedia tools.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero-interest loans, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) – The Aga Khan School, Dhaka on Saturday distributed certificates among the teachers, marking the conclusion of a six-month Continuing Professional Education (CPE) certification programme focusing on “Becoming a Reflective Teacher”.
The programme, held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, was conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Educational Development (IED) of the Aga Khan University.
Teachers from other schools attended the programme that aimed at enhancing the pedagogical knowledge and skills of participants and equip them with strategies and tools to provide a more conducive learning environment for their students.
The comprehensive CPE programme’s design and content, which includes online sessions, are provided by the IED of Aga Khan University.
The Aga Khan School, Dhaka, which is an IB School (International Baccalaureate), has been organising such training programmes with the Aga Khan University’s IED since 1999.
The Aga Khan School, Dhaka was established in 1988, and this year, it is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
The school is part of an international network of over 200 schools in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) - Forty-eight Bangladeshi students have won ‘Top in the World’ awards from Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International) for their exceptional performance in the June 2018 Cambridge examination series.
Students from schools across the country were recognised for their outstanding academic achievements at an awards ceremony at International Convention City, Bashundhara on Saturday which is jointly hosted by Cambridge International and the British Council, Bangladesh.
The forty-eight ‘Top in the World’ award winners came from 13 schools in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has also seen a significant increase in the total number of winners and awards compared to the previous year.
The students achieved the highest marks in the world in a range of individual subjects across Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level and Cambridge International AS & A Level qualifications.
Thirty-five students also achieved ‘Top in Country’ awards across these qualifications. In total, 98 students in Bangladesh received Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairperson, BRAC, attended the function as the chief guest and Kanbar Hossein-Bor, British Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh, as a special guest.
Among others, Andrew Newton, Acting Director, British Council; Sebastian Pearce, Director Examinations, British Council; Ruchira Ghosh, Regional Director, South Asia, Cambridge International; Satyajit Sarkar, Manager, East India, Bangladesh & Nepal, Cambridge International; and Shahin Reza, Country Manager, Cambridge International; were present.
Sebastian Pearce gave the welcome speech followed by a cultural performance by Sunnydale Students.
Khondokar Tamkin Saqir delivered speech representing the students.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) - China has placed five specific suggestions for deepening the Bangladesh-China strategic partnership of cooperation in the new era with an emphasis on deepening “strategic mutual trust”, saying the next decade will see “faster changes” in the international alignment of forces.
“First, we need to deepen strategic mutual trust and then we need to deepen economic integration,” said Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo while sharing his thoughts at Cosmos Dialogue on Saturday looking into the future of the relations that brings “unprecedented opportunities” for cooperation.
Three other suggestions, put forward by the Chinese Ambassador, are to deepen innovation and interaction; have stronger cooperation on experience sharing on security; and deepen cultural and people’s connectivity.
“We should join hands to become good partners with equality and mutual trust. We should work together to improve the level of global governance,” he said.
Ambassador Zuo was addressing as the chief guest at the dialogue titled ‘Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future’ at Six Seasons Hotel in the city. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, hosted the symposium.
Experts both from Bangladesh and China attended the symposium and assessed the Bangladesh-China relationship in the present context and identified the challenges and opportunities.
Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech while Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore and a former Adviser to Bangladesh’s previous caretaker government Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury chaired the session.
Enayetullah Khan termed the relationship between Bangladesh and China as “all-weather and time-tested friendship.”
“I see a happy future in the relationship between Bangladesh and China; and my prognosis is that our mutual trust, especially political trust; and friendship will help us march together towards the fruition of our common goals and aspirations,” he said adding that they are witnessing a most remarkable feature of current international politics which is the rise of China.
The symposium was part of the Cosmos Foundation’s ‘Dialogue’ series, in which a high-level expert panel was tasked with tackling a particularly pressing issue of the day, followed by the participation of an informed and engaging audience.
The panel comprised of Prof Li Tao, Executive Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at Sichuan University in China; Yuan Jirong, Chief Journalist at the India Bureau of the People’s Daily; historian and media personality Afsan Chowdhury; and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, a professor at the Department of International Relations of Dhaka University.
UNB Chairman Amanullah Khan and Director Masud Khan were, among others, present.
Chinese Ambassador Zuo hoped that the next national election in Bangladesh, scheduled for December 30, will go very "well and smooth" saying that China will deepen its ties with Bangladesh on all fronts.
"We hope, you'll have a very smooth election. Bangladeshis and political parties can have that (well and smooth polls)," he told reporters after attending Cosmos Dialogue on Bangladesh-China relations in the city.
The Chinese Ambassador said the two countries will further deepen political, economic and people-to-people relationship.
Ambassador Zuo said China will continue to play a constructive role in properly solving the problem of Rakhine State in accordance with the three-phase solution to stopping violence, repatriation and development.
He said China will continue to support Bangladesh and Myanmar to find a proper way for the repatriation of the displaced people, as well as a proper solution to the issue of Rakhine State through dialogue and consultation.
The Chinese Ambassador encouraged all to respect the social systems and development paths chosen independently by every nation, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and take the new road of dialogue without confrontation, partnership instead of alliances.
“We need to make the full use of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to explore the possibility of China-Bangladesh plus cooperation, enhance South-South cooperation, and strengthen collaborations within the multilateral framework of the UN Security Council,” he said.
Ambassador Zuo laid emphasis on enhancing the political position of China-Bangladesh relations, and strengthening exchanges in governance, development concepts, and social culture to deepen bilateral cooperation.
On deepening economic integration, the envoy said the next 10 years will be a decade of the transition from the old to new growth drivers in world economy, as well as of profound adjustments and reforms.
“Both China and Bangladesh have highly prosperous markets that attract businessmen from all over the world. Faced with opportunities and challenges, we should join hands to become good partners of mutual benefits,” he said adding, “Let’s work together to promote free trade.”
Ambassador Zuo said the two countries should accelerate the feasibility study for China-Bangladesh FTA (free trade agreement), and then start the negotiation as soon as possible for fruitful outcomes.
He said they will complete the exchange of letters for zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of tariff items exported from Bangladesh to China within a short time, to further boost the export of Bangladeshi goods to Chinese market.
The Chinese Ambassador said Bangladesh is an important converging point for the land and maritime Silk Roads, so it becomes a natural partner for the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative. “We need to promote infrastructure connectivity.”
He said they are making efforts to accelerate the construction of major projects such as the Padma Bridge, as well as the construction of the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) Economic Corridor, and are focusing on promoting the four-in-one connectivity of land, sea, sky and the Internet.
In April next, the Ambassador said, China will host the second ‘Belt and Road’ Forum for International Cooperation. “We welcome Bangladeshi government and various social groups to identify our common interests, to actively participate in and share opportunities of the forum, and to promote the transformation of BRI towards high-quality development.”
Ambassador Zuo said China is willing to support the construction of 100 economic zones, blue economy, digital Bangladesh and other projects through development assistance, economic and trade investment, and infrastructure cooperation.
“By paying special attention to Payra power station, the Chittagong China Industrial Park, and the Kunming Steel Industrial Park, we will comprehensively improve the international competitiveness of industries,” he said.
Innovation and Interaction
Ambassador Zuo said the next decade will see a new round of technological revolution and a transformation where new things will replace the old ones.
“In the face of opportunities and challenges, we should work together as good partners for innovation,” he said putting importance on seizing the opportunity to promote innovation-driven development.
The Ambassador said the rapid development of a new generation of information technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, quantum information, and biotechnology have brought about earth-shaking changes in global development and human production and life. “We can promote innovation together to lead development.”
He said they need to promote the intelligent development of machinery, aviation, shipbuilding, automobile, light industry, textile, food, electronics and other industries, and expand the applications of smart technologies and equipment.
Sharing on Security
Ambassador Zuo said the next decade will see a profound reshaping of the global governance system and the international security situation. “China and Bangladesh are neighbours who look out for each other during either safe or disturbing times.”
In the face of opportunities and challenges, the Ambassador said, “We should work together to be good partners for peace and cooperation. We need to build a solid foundation for peace, security and mutual trust.”
The Ambassador mentioned that they should actively participate in mediation to solve geopolitical hotspot issues.
The Chinese Ambassador said the next 10 years will be a decade of deepening cultural diversity and social informatisation.
He said the two countries should strengthen the emotional ties between the Chinese and Bangladeshi people.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Chairman Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Secretary-Bilateral (Asia & Pacific) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahbub Uz Zaman, foreign affairs experts and business leaders also spoke at the symposium.