Infrastructure boom positions BD as Bay of Bengal powerhouse

Infrastructure boom positions BD as Bay of Bengal powerhouse

Investments in infrastructure like deep-sea ports, airports, rail, and road connections have positioned Bangladesh as a key player in the South Asian region, offering abundant trade and investment opportunities. Experts highlighted this during a seminar titled ‘Multilayered Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal: Positioning Bangladesh as an Economic Hub.’ Foreign development partners emphasized identifying trade and investment corridors in Bangladesh, Northeast India, Bhutan, and Nepal.

Key speakers at the seminar included State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma, and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori. Discussions focused on leveraging the Bay of Bengal connectivity to foster economic growth and remove trade barriers.

Japanese Ambassador Kiminori highlighted the ‘BIG-B’ initiative, aiming to accelerate industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar belt and beyond. He emphasized the potential role of projects like the Matarbari Deep Sea Port in regional development. Meanwhile, JICA Chief Representative Ichiguchi Tomohide outlined JICA’s investments supporting infrastructure development and economic growth, including the Matarbari Deep Sea Port and related initiatives.

However, he also mentioned challenges like unpredictable tax regimes and complex approval procedures. JETRO Chief Country Representative Yuji Ando highlighted risk factors in the South Asian business environment, including underdeveloped legal systems and political instability. Professor Kemmei Tsubota stressed the importance of establishing a strong value chain network and integrated planning for agriculture, forestry, industry, and the environment.

Moreover, CPD Research Fellow Syed Yusuf Saadat recommended steps to promote industrial value chains and establish the Bay of Bengal region as an economic hub. These included improving the investment climate, addressing behind-the-border barriers, and investing in trade and digital infrastructure. Enhancing logistics performance and simplifying administrative processes were highlighted as priorities, with potential welfare gains equivalent to 7.99% of Bangladesh’s GDP through a 40% reduction in trade costs.

Overall, the seminar underscored Bangladesh’s strategic position and potential for economic growth, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and investment in regional connectivity and development.

Source: The Financial Express

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