UAE investors to inject $10bn in Bangladesh economic zones

Ships lie at anchor in the River Karnafuli, near Chittagong. Several UAE-based investors have expressed interest in developing economic zones and hi-tech parks in Bangladesh. (Reuters)
Updated 17 September 2019

UAE investors to inject $10bn in Bangladesh economic zones

  • Conference aimed at strengthening the flow of trade and investment between the two countries
  • Bangladesh is on a growth overdrive and is expected to touch more than 8 percent in the next few years, making it the fastest growing economy in the world

DHAKA: UAE-based investors have lined up several new projects including five free economic zones worth $10 billion in Bangladesh, the plans for which were discussed at the Bangladesh Economic Forum in Dubai on Sunday.

Salman F. Rahman, advisor to Bangladesh’s prime minister on private industry and investment, led a 20-member government delegation comprising officials from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority for the meeting in the UAE.

This was the first time representatives from all three agencies participated in the Bangladesh Economic Forum — a private sector initiative undertaken by UAE-based, non-resident Bangladeshi professionals and entrepreneurs.

More than 300 government officials, business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs participated in the day-long international investment conference, which is aimed at strengthening the flow of trade and investment between the UAE and Bangladesh.

Several UAE-based investors expressed interest in developing economic zones and hi-tech parks in Bangladesh.

“I am pleased to see strong and genuine interest among UAE-based investors — both UAE national and foreign business groups — in investing in Bangladesh,” Rahman said.

He added that Dhaka had seen heavy investments from China, Japan and the US, urging investors from Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to “take advantage of the lower cost of investment, operations and higher return on investment in Bangladesh.”

“Investment from the GCC and the Arab world will help us achieve a higher growth rate and we are more than ready to welcome them,” Rahman said.

Kamrul Hasan, commerce secretary of Bangladesh’s mission in the UAE, told Arab News that it was a very successful discussion. “Besides, the event created a very positive branding for Bangladesh” he added.

Experts welcomed the proposal, with Dr. Shamsul Alam, member of the country’s planning commission, saying that at this moment, it was the “most desirable thing for the country.”

“To attain the target of our sustainable development goals, we need to have at least $9 billion in investment every year until 2030,” Alam told Arab News.

“At present, Bangladesh has the most congenial policy regime — foreign investors are enjoying the opportunity of a 100 percent profit repatriation policy,” he added.

However, he said that to attract investment, the country was working on building 100 economic processing zones and 28 hi-tech parks by 2030, with plans in place to get 15 ready in the next five years.

Bangladesh’s economy grew at 7.9 percent in 2018. The country is on a growth overdrive and is expected to touch more than 8 percent in the next few years, making it the fastest growing economy in the world.

In order to sustain 8 percent plus gross domestic product growth, Bangladesh needs massive foreign and domestic investment which will create employment and ensure sustainable development.

The World Bank estimates Dhaka must spend as much as $10 billion a year by 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard in order to serve its growing population.


Storm forces William and Kate’s royal plane to abandon Islamabad landing

Updated 8 min 17 sec ago

Storm forces William and Kate’s royal plane to abandon Islamabad landing

  • British Royal Air Force jet was caught in one of the thunderous storms that periodically rock the capital in October
  • “If I’m honest ... that was the most nervous I’ve ever felt in a plane,” added ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship

LAHORE: A fierce storm in Islamabad forced a plane carrying Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate to abandon two landings before returning to Lahore late Thursday, reporters traveling with them said, in a dramatic end to a day of cracking cricket balls and touring the towering historic Badshahi Mosque.
The Voyager, a British Royal Air Force jet transporting the couple during their five-day tour of Pakistan, was caught in one of the thunderous storms that periodically rock the capital in October.
“The pilot circled for an hour but the lightening — and turbulence — was so bad we had to fly back,” tweeted the Daily Mail’s royal correspondent Rebecca English, who was on board the plane.
“Few of us have experienced turbulence as bad as that,” she added.
“If I’m honest ... that was the most nervous I’ve ever felt in a plane,” added ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship.
Daily Telegraph correspondent Ben Farmer said the pilot had tried to land twice, once at a military base in the garrison city of Rawalpindi adjacent to Islamabad, and once at Islamabad International before abandoning the attempt and returning to Lahore, some 270 kilometers (170 miles) flying distance away.
However all on board appeared to be safe, with English tweeting that Prince William — himself a pilot — had joked with the press pack that he had been flying.
English said it was unclear when they would be able to take off again. There was no immediate statement from Kensington Palace.


The mid-air flight drama came after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had spent the day exploring Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital.
The royal couple kicked off their fourth day in Pakistan with a visit to the SOS Children’s Village orphanage, where Kate gave a brief speech along with a short greeting in Urdu and celebrated children’s birthdays.
“Earlier this year I talked about the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. The village we’ve seen here today is the best representation of that ideal that I could have possibly imagined,” she said.
The Duke and Duchess later took to the crease at the National Cricket Academy, where they both hit a few runs as they played alongside a host of current and former cricket stars, including current bowling coach Waqar Younis.
After an outfit change, the duo headed to Lahore’s famous Badshahi Mosque — one of the world’s largest.
William sported a cream-colored linen suit and Kate donned a light green shalwar kameez, wrapping her hair in a matching headscarf and walking in stockinged feet to show her respect.
William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, caused a controversy at the same mosque in 1991 when she wore an above-the-knee dress, sparking a backlash from some Muslim leaders who argued she should have covered up.
The couple rounded off the trip with a visit to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, founded by Prime Minister Imran Khan, where Diana is remembered fondly for helping raise money for the facility in the 1990s.
Kensington Palace has called the Cambridges’ five-day trip, which ends Friday, their “most complex” tour to date as the royals seek to boost ties between Britain and the second largest country in the Commonwealth.
The couple have spent much of the trip promoting various causes, from girls’ education to conservation and climate change awareness as they criss-crossed the country.
Security has improved dramatically since the army intensified a crackdown on militant groups in 2015, with several countries changing their travel warnings for Pakistan as a result, and Islamabad eager to promote both tourism and foreign investment.
There are promising signs, such as the British Airways return earlier this year after more than a decade, and the slow but steady revival of international cricket.