UK concentrating more on Bangladesh now: Alison Blake

The United Kingdom is paying more attention to Bangladesh as it moves on its way to become a middle-income country soon and aspires to be a developed one by 2041, said British High Commissioner Alison Blake.

Published : 1 March 2018, 04:59 AM
Updated : 1 March 2018, 05:17 AM

“We want to be part of your journey. We think we have a lot to offer each other,” Blake said while speaking to journalists on Wednesday.

She hosted the event for the media at the British High Commission to introduce two of her new colleagues – Deputy High Commissioner Kanbar Hossein-Bor and Head of Press and Communications Nisar Hussain.

The UK being the second biggest foreign investor in Bangladesh, is one of the largest development partners of Bangladesh.

Over 240 UK companies are operating in different sectors including retail, banking, energy, infrastructure, consultancy and education with leading centres of operation in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.

The UK is also the third single largest export destination for Bangladesh. About half a million Bangladeshi expatriates live in the UK.

A number of UK ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, recently visited Bangladesh after the Rohingya crisis.

Blake said the foreign secretary had visited Bangladesh for two reasons – to see the plight of Rohingya refugees and as part of the UK’s focus on Bangladesh.

She said the UK is reconsidering its global focus and “concentrating more on countries like Bangladesh which are middle-income developing country aspiring to be a developed nation in 20 years.”

She said during his visit, Johnson delivered a “very important” message depicting the UK’s belief in strong democracy attained through free, fair, participatory and inclusive elections that ensures a better future for a country.

This is important for “prosperity, stability and creating a society in which everyone believes they have a stake, they have a voice”, she said.

Blake said lifting the ban on direct cargo flights means both UK and Bangladesh can work together to solve difficult task.

After the suspension, one British company was hired to improve the security condition.

She said Bangladesh had “genuinely transformed” the security arrangement in the airport.

“Its an example how the two countries can work together in the difficult task,” she said.

“We are friends of Bangladesh on the Rohingyas crisis for many years,” she said, adding the bilateral relations are “absolutely rooted in our shared values, shared people and shared interest.”

“My mission here is to do is not to point problem and do nothing, but to do work. Sometimes it takes long time.”

Blake also spoke on the upcoming commonwealth summit in April in London, that she said gave the UK “an opportunity to reconnect with our traditional friends” while the country is exiting from the EU.

She said this would also give the opportunity to look at where the commonwealth is going in future.

“The summit in London is really something to watch,” she said, adding that the members will discuss their hopes for the future and how they can work together on a whole range of issues including their trade, connectivity, education, climate change and ocean.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher