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PM: Asia must combine forces for a better future

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said the Asian countries must combine their forces to help address their common challenges for betterment of future generations.

“The Asian countries have common development challenges and should face them collectively,” the premier said in a video statement at the 27th International Nikkei Conference on Future of Asia in Tokyo.

She said Bangladesh will always work with friends and partners to ensure a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Asia for the future generations.

She placed five proposals where the Asian countries can best cooperate for the benefit of the future generations.

These include cooperation on best use of ICT, safeguard fairness and justice, sustainable and balanced development and establishing win-win international relations.

Hasina once again requested all to contribute and help in finding an amicable settlement of Rohingya crisis.

“We are hosting 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar. They must be sent back to their homeland in the Rakhine State of Myanmar in safety, security, and dignity,” she said.

Stressing the role of Asia in the world the PM said “It is imperative to ensure peace among conflicting countries by resolving differences through discussion.

Referring to climate change issues she mentioned that Bangladesh has been active and vocal on climate change action in all discourses, including at the recent COP26.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s development in the past 13 years and its UN-recognised graduation to a developing nation the prime minister said her government is taking various steps for smooth transition after 2026.

In this connection, she requested all, especially Japan and other OECD countries to extend the preferential facilities to Bangladesh at least until 2029 to help it attain the overarching goals of sustainable development by 2030.

“Bangladesh is at different stages of negotiations on FTA with several countries, and open to negotiating FTA and CEPA with other countries, including Japan,” she informed.

The PM said that Bangladesh, as rest of the world, was heavily affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that before the pandemic in 2019, Bangladesh’s GDP growth rate was 8.15 per cent.

“In 2020, we could maintain a positive growth rate of 3.51 per cent followed by 6.94 per cent in 2021. We expect to attain over 7 per cent growth rate in the current fiscal year,” she hoped.

While tackling the impacts of the pandemic, she said her government could successfully manage the challenges of the pandemic relatively well.

She said Bangladesh’s efforts have been recognized in the Nikkei's COVID-19 Recovery Index for April 2022, where Bangladesh is ranked 5th out of 121 countries, and the best-performing country in South Asia in COVID management and recovery.

She told the conference that Bangladesh’s GDP is projected to grow to USD 465 billion, merchandise export income over USD 52 billion, remittance over USD 21 billion and per capita income at USD 2,824 in the Fiscal Year ending in June.

She said her government has made development pro-people and inclusive over the last 13 years.

Nikkei Inc., Japan’s largest business media group and the publisher of The Nikkei and Nikkei Asia, organised May 26-27 conference.

The Future of Asia is an international gathering where political, economic and academic leaders from the Asia-Pacific region offer their opinions frankly and freely on regional issues and the role of Asia in the world.

Source: United News of Bangladesh