Foreign Minister met with an influential congregation of top business, finance and investment leaders in Dubai during his short visit to the city state on 02 March 2019 at Hotel Hyatt Regency.
The Foreign Minister briefed the business leaders about the Vision 2021, Vision 2041 and the Delta Plan 2100 – as envisaged by the Hon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He recalled the close bonds of friendship and amity that the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had shared with the visionary leader and founding father of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed. He briefed the industry leaders about the vision of Sonar Bangla pursued by the Prime Minister to reach a higher middle-income country landmark by 2021, achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030 and emerge as a developed country by 2041. Foreign Minister outlined his vision of the foreign policy of Bangladesh on the basis of ‘’economic diplomacy’’ – which envisages partnerships across business and administrative platforms for the development of the nation. Highlighting that Bangladesh is no more an aid-seeking country and it envisages a future where the skillsets of its people would be entwined with the financial and technological prowess of the industry. The Foreign Minister emphasized the quick-learner’s trait of the Bangladesh people and sought the industry captains to utilize this inherent capability of the people.
Candid discussions were held for attracting more investment in skill development, human resource augmentation, power and energy sector capacity building and ICT sector development. Agro-processing, fisheries and other sectors of the emerging vectors of the Blue Economy were also discussed. Foreign Minister Dr. Momen noted that Bangladesh wants to emerge as a hub for technological, trade, business and financial connectivity. He mentioned that the physical connectivity initiatives of the government is geared towards creating more fluidity in the business and investment sectors. Foreign Minister assured the business leaders that the Foreign Ministry will remain engaged and utilize portfolios to facilitate win-win proposals and help streamlining bureaucratic hurdles.
The industry captains expressed their readiness to move into Bangladesh with investments and technology if the Government could connect them with their hosts inside the country. Some of the industry captains complained about the bureaucratic hurdles – including the presumably lengthy renewal processes and the unavailability of smoother international payment systems – particularly in Foreign Exchange transactions. They also sought longer visa approvals for business and support for acquiring land areas for developing industrial facilities. The business leaders also highlighted to the Foreign Minister the need for adopting better technology at comparatively lower cost profiles. Representatives from some of the most reputed educational institutions proposed for cooperation in the field of technical education – particularly in the field of ICT, agro-processing and ocean-based (blue economy sector) research.