Bangladesh can reach an almost untapped African market worth $1.3 billion by stealing a march on other countries and expanding business ties in Eswatini (former Swaziland). At least that is what then Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry of Eswatini Senator Manqoba Khumalo claimed as he called for strengthening business relations with his country.
Khumalo was leading his country's delegation at a discussion meeting with FBCCI, country's apex trade body.
With its strategic geographic location, Eswatini acts as a gateway to the African continent, the minister added. 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 favorable 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. 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. Although from a country that.
Earlier, FBCCI Senior Vice President and Acting President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu proposed, MoU can be inked between FBCCI and the counterpart of Eswatini to bolster bilateral trade and investment. Currently Bangladeshi people have to process visas from Malaysia, therefore, the acting President called for setting up the High Commission in Dhaka. At the same time, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu suggested arranging B2B meetings, webinars, and exchange of the delegation to take the bilateral trade to a newer height.
Vice President Md. Amin Helaly assured to provide 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 MlulekiSakhile Dlamini, Senior Executive Manager of Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority Dr.Khanyisiie Dlamini, representative from Bangladeshi Business Community in Eswatini Mohammed Asraful Alam Chowdhury, Badruzzaman Chowdhury, Badral Alam Chowdhury were present in the meeting.
Among others, FBCCI Director M G R Nasir Majumder, Hafez Harun, Md. Aslam Serniabath, Md. Naser, Abu Hossain Bhuiyan (Ranu), Mohammad Ali Khokon, Advisor Manzur Ahmed, Brigadier General (Retired) Abu Nayeem Md. Shahidullah were also present in the meeting.
The meeting was conducted by FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque.