UAE and Bangladesh see bright future ahead on trade and investments

Both nations have discussed ways to enhance cooperation in key sectors as well as ways to promote the role of the private sector


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 7:07 PM

The UAE and Bangladesh are looking forward to stronger trade ties that will see both sides scale up investments across several sectors that are key to their expanding economies, experts said at the third Bangladesh Economic Forum in Dubai.

In his keynote speech, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, urged UAE investors to invest in Bangladesh, saying. “Our bilateral relations with the UAE are currently at the highest level. Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is currently leading a large delegation to the UAE to further deepen our ties with the UAE. The business community should take advantage of the strong UAE-Bangladesh relations and come closer to tap the untapped economic potential and create a win-win situation.”

According to the most recent reports, the Bangladeshi economy grew at 6.94 per cent in the 2020-21 fiscal year, with improvement in both services and manufacturing sectors despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Data released by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, noted that the country's economic growth exceeded the government's provisional estimate of 5.43 per cent for the last fiscal year.

The gross national income per capita rose to $2,591 last fiscal year, from $2,326 the previous 2019-20 fiscal year; while the actual size of the country's GDP expanded to $416 billion.

Salman F. Rahman, advisor to Bangladesh’s prime minister on Investment and Private Industries, also urged UAE investors to visit Bangladesh and see the “new Bangladesh” for themselves.

“The Bangladesh that you see today, is a changed Bangladesh,” he said. “However, unless you visit and see the changed Bangladesh, you wouldn’t realise the new ground reality. So, I urge all of you to come and visit Bangladesh and see what Bangladesh has to offer and how you could benefit from the growing opportunities in Bangladesh where 165 million people are becoming economically empowered. Our team will be happy to host you and show you around for you to see the changing dynamism and economic opportunities.”

The forum also saw several companies announce their foray and investments into the Bangladesh market. Malabar Gold and Diamonds said that it will invest up to $100 million in the next three to five years; while Danube Homes announced its foray into Bangladesh with a franchise partnership agreement with Dhaka-based Daffodil Group.

“Bangladesh is a very promising market for us. Bangladeshis represent a sizeable customer base amongst our global customer base. We see the demand for quality gold and diamond jewellery is growing rapidly in Bangladesh, which prompted us to enter the country. We expect faster return on investment in Bangladesh due to low-cost of operation that could result in higher return and increase our global footprint. We believe it is the right time to enter the market,” said Ameer CMC, director of Finance and Administration, Malabar Gold and Diamonds.

Among the developments, Malabar Gold and Diamond is currently searching for a suitable location to set up its jewellery manufacturing unit, that to be followed by the opening of its showroom in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Danube Homes announced that it will roll out multiple stores across Bangladesh.

Adel Sajan, MD of Danube Group, said: “Bangladesh offers a very promising future and we have decided to move into Bangladesh at the right time with the right partner. By this summer, we are going to open our first showroom in Dhaka and I hope to open more outlets in Bangladesh as the economy is growing fast, in fact so fast that the per capita GDP jumped four times in just 10-12 years.”

Another event that was held at the DP World Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday saw an MoU being signed to establish a joint UAE-Bangladesh Business Council between the Federation of UAE Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The UAE-Bangladesh Business Forum at Expo 2020 drew the participation of several ministers, officials, as well as government and private sector representatives from both countries. The forum was attended virtually by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed; and Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade. The forum discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of trade and investment, and ways to promote the role of the private sector in both countries.

Another high level delegation between the two sides also met at the headquarters of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, where Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, discussed ways of boosting the labour relations between the UAE and Bangladesh with Imran Ahmad, Minister of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment of Bangladesh.

The two sides highlighted their mutual keenness to advance their bilateral ties in labour areas. The meeting also addressed the controls and mechanisms covering labour recruitment in the country and the measures to protect the rights of parties involved in labour relations.

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