Bangladesh: Increased cooperation with Saudi Arabia is key to growth

King Salman , US President Donald Trump, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other leaders in RIyadh at thelaunching ceremony of “Global Centre for combating extremist ideology” during the the Arab Islamic American Summit
Updated 25 March 2018

Bangladesh: Increased cooperation with Saudi Arabia is key to growth

RIYADH: The deep-rooted relationship between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh is set to scale ever greater heights thanks to enhanced developments in trade and investment.
“We are positive that the bilateral relations will forge ahead under Saudi Vision 2030 in the coming years,” Bangladeshi Ambassador Golam Moshi said on the eve of today’s celebrations for 47th anniversary of his country’s Independence Day.
“Both countries should opt for transformation of their respective economies for the bright future of their peoples. Bangladesh is ready to have a strategic partnership to promote Saudi Vision 2030, which will be beneficial for the people of the two brotherly countries and the Muslim Ummah,” he added, using the Arabic word for community.
“The people of Bangladesh consider King Salman and his government a true and tested friend of Bangladesh, and regard the Kingdom as leader of the Muslim Ummah under his wise leadership.
“We also applaud the visionary role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, for his extraordinary efforts in boosting the Saudi economy, including the formulation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, under the wise and dynamic leadership of King Salman.”
Moshi said that the UN declaration on March 15 this year that Bangladesh met the criteria for graduating from the status of lower developing country (LDC) to that of developing country was a joyous occasion for all Bangladeshi nationals, at home and abroad. It was achieved, he added, thanks to the visionary leadership of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over the past nine years.
“Under her leadership, Bangladesh followed pragmatic development strategies that resulted in inclusive economic growth, structural transformation and remarkable social progress,” said Moshi.
Bangladesh met all three criteria for graduation from LDC: its per capita gross national income is $1,610, well above the UN’s lower limit of $1,230; the human asset index is 72.9, compared with the UN target of 66 and the economic vulnerability index is 24.8, below the UN’s upper threshold of 32.
As a result, Bangladesh is emerging on the world stage as an important country offering plenty of opportunities for trade and investment.
The ambassador highlighted two recent official visits by Hasina to the Kingdom, first in June 2016 for bilateral talks, then in May 2017 to attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh. “Both visits created a new dimension for our bilateral relations,” said Moshi.
During the 2016 meeting, King Salman described Bangladesh as a leading Islamic country, with respect to the relationship between the nations. He also praised the role played by Bangladesh in maintaining peace and stability as party of UN peace-keeping operations.
Hasina attended the summit in Riyadh the following year to express solidarity with the Kingdom as a member of the Islamic Military Alliance in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Bangladesh is now a role model for the developing world in poverty reduction, Moshi added, having achieved success in the areas of health and education, in fighting climate change, for which it has a UN accolade, and as a major contributor of UN troops for peacekeeping operations around the world.

“Bangladesh is maintaining a ‘zero tolerance’ policy toward the menace of terrorism and violent extremism in its all forms and manifestations,” said Moshi.
“Bangladesh is now well regarded by international community, with excellent relations with important countries of the world, including Saudi Arabia.”
Both countries increasingly recognize the mutually beneficial potential to expand economic cooperation in a range of areas.
During Hasina’s visit in June 2016, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a business session featuring leading Saudi and Bangladeshi businessmen.
During the meeting, Hasina called for increased investment and the further exploration of business opportunities in Bangladesh.
She also offered a special economic zone, one of 100 such zones, to Saudi investors. Responding to her call, the economic adviser to the royal court expressed keen interest in investing in “commercially viable projects” in Bangladesh through the Public Investment Fund.
As a follow-up, a 21-member high-level Saudi business delegation visited Bangladesh, led by Moshabab Abdulla Alkahtani, president of International Marketing Investment Company Group, and including representatives from the construction, real estate, agriculture, tourism, and food and beverage sectors.
To further boost relations between the countries, the 12th session of the Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission was held in Riyadh on March 14 and 15 this year.
Participants discussed ways to boost cooperation in manpower and human-resource development, consular affairs, international affairs, customs cooperation, economic cooperation, trade, investment, civil aviation, agriculture, education, health, the service sector, and social and legal affairs. The gathering ended with a commitment to foster bilateral relations.
Coinciding with the joint commission meeting, a joint technical committee on labor issues, including domestic workers, was held in Riyadh this month in the presence of senior officials from the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment.
Participants agreed to introduce transparent procedures, provide adequate training for Saudi-bound Bangladeshi workers, and reduce of the cost of migration. The Saudis pledged to make swift arrangements for the repatriation of bodies of deceased Bangladeshis, and properly compensate workers.
Bangladesh, with its winning combination of a competitive market, business-friendly environment and competitive cost structure, has the potential to richly reward investors.
“It is an ideal destination for Saudi entrepreneurs as it has a very dynamic, young, talented Muslim population (almost 90 percent of population is Muslim) with attractive incentives,” said Moshi.
“Potential investors might explore the enormous potential in investment opportunities in different sectors, such as tourism, IT, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, et cetera in Bangladesh.”
He added that Saudi Arabia recently opened up investment opportunities for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, who can invest solely or with Saudi partners in joint-venture projects in many sectors, including aquaculture and fisheries, construction, human-resources training, and tourism.
Moshi also pointed out that the governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority had expressed his willingness to support Bangladeshi investors in the Kingdom.
He said his country had taken the pragmatic measure of building a new embassy building in Riyadh and the existing mission would move there this year.
Bangladesh’s Vision 2021, to become a middle-income country, and Vision 2041, to attain the status of developed country, warrants working closely with the Kingdom to foster fast-growing cooperation in all areas, particularly in trade and investment, the ambassador said.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 min 19 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.