Government Policy

Bangladesh now recognised as economic power: Danish envoy

DHAKA, May 16, 2017 (BSS) - Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther today said Bnagladdesh has now recogised as an economic power in the region and in the world in terms of its economic progress and achievements made in other important sectors since its independence.

"Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in poverty reduction, women empowerment, sustainable economic growth and addressing climate change challenges...It has good reason to be proud of many of the achievements that have been made since the country's independence," he said.

The Danish envoy made the remarks while addressing "DCAB Talk", a flagship programme of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB), at the National Press Club here.

DCAB General Secretary Pantha Rahman gave introductory speech with its President Rezaul Karim Lotus in the chair.

The ambassador said as a longstanding development partner of Bangladesh, Denmark believes in an inclusive, pro-poor and sustainable growth approach as well as promotion of human rights.

He said Denmark's current Development Programme for Bangladesh has been formulated to respond to Bangladesh's overall development priorities as reflected in the Government's Vision 2021 and the 7th Five-Year Plan (7 FYP).

"In this way, the Country Programme is also designed to support Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030," he added.

The envoy also referred his country's programmes in Bangladesh for improving income and food security of three million rural farmers, building rural roads, constructing cyclone shelters and securing clean drinking waters and sanitation for many communities.

"We have provided legal aid to thousands of people and helped them in getting access to justice, ensured a particular focus on indigenous peoples in Chittagong Hill Tracts and the plains and supported critical human rights advocates - also when it was difficult and they were in trouble," he added.

Regarding bilateral trade, the envoy said Bangladesh is slowly turning to a trading partner rather than an aid partner.

"The two-way trade between Bangladesh and Denmark has doubled since 2011," he said adding export from Bangladesh to Denmark is dominated by garment industry which makes up 92% of total import value from Bangladesh.

The other export is ocean going ships, frozen food, agricultural products, jute goods, chemical products, fish and fishing related products.

However, he said export from Denmark to Bangladesh include Dairy products and milk powder (38%), Pharmaceuticals (33%) and Industrial Machinery (19%).

More than 70 Danish companies have established their business in Bangladesh in the form of either FDI or Joint Venture or setting liaison office in Bangladesh, he added.

Responding to a question, the Danish envoy said in terms of risk assessment regarding movements of foreigners, he still feels the risk of terror attacks.

He however, said the foreigners (diplomats) are 'very happy' with what the Bangladesh government is doing in terms of security arrangements since the July 1 terror attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in the city on foreigners.

"We are comfortable mentally, emotionally and psychologically since there had been no similar attacks since July 1," he added.

When asked to name a few countries where he feels the same risk, the Danish Ambassador said he can name 140 countries where there are risks at different levels except some countries where there are 'good intelligence'.

Responding to a question about the challenges of investment in Bangladesh, the envoy said there have been quite a lot of challenges that includes bureaucracy, infrastructure, corruption issues, challenges in governance, predictability in the regulations.

"So, it's not always easy. We're working very closely (with Bangladesh government) to address these issues," he added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)