Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit Bangladesh in 2023

A ‘good number’” of MoUs and agreements are expected to be signed during the Saudi crown prince’s visit

Published : 19 Nov 2022, 03:25 PM
Updated : 19 Nov 2022, 03:25 PM

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has accepted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s invitation to Bangladesh.

Mohammed, who was named prime minister of the Gulf kingdom by his father King Salman bin Abdulaziz in September, will visit Bangladesh in 2023 at a convenient time, Saudi Ambassador Essa Yussef Essa Al Duhailan informed Hasina at a meeting on Saturday.

The ambassador handed over a letter from the crown prince to Hasina during the meeting at the Ganabhaban, according to her Deputy Press Secretary Hasan Zahid Tusher. Hasina made the invitation on Aug 30.

Ambassador Essa noted this would be the first visit by any Saudi crown prince to Bangladesh since 1985 when Abdullah bin Abdulaziz visited Dhaka. “So, this visit will be very significant for both the countries and the date and schedule of the visit will be fixed through diplomatic channels,” Essa said.

He hopes a “good number” of Memoranda of Understanding and agreements will be signed during Mohammed bin Salman’s visit, which he said “will strengthen the bilateral ties significantly”.

Hasina described the relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia as “special” and added the crown prince’s visit will expand the ties to new areas of collaboration.

The prime minister called for more Saudi investment in different sectors of Bangladesh, including an oil refinery, agro-processing and food-processing and halal food industries. 

She stated that Bangladesh is ready to allocate special land for Saudi entrepreneurs, especially in the Mirsarai special economic zone and also an exclusive economic zone in the country’s southern region.

Assuring the Saudi entrepreneurs of all-out support, Hasina said they will get a good return from the investments.

The Saudi ambassador said he would convey Hasina’s message to the Saudi authorities.

He said several Saudi brands, including fast-food service company Herfy, are doing “very good business” in Bangladesh. 

“We’re working hard to make an effective collaboration between the the two Muslim brotherly countries.”

The diplomat said the Saudi investors are keenly interested to participate in the mega-projects of Bangladesh.

He noted last month the Saudi crown prince allocated more than $10 billion for the implementation of mega-projects in five countries.

Bangladesh could be one such country to  benefit from Saudi investment if such funds come for its mega-projects, he said. “This is a huge area of cooperation unexplored,” he added.

Hasina appreciated the increasing interest of Saudi Arabia in mega-projects in Bangladesh. 

She said Bangladesh has been maintaining friendly-relations with all the Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia for the greater welfare of the Muslim Ummah as well as the  people of Bangladesh. 

The Saudi diplomat also lauded the leadership of Hasina, particularly for giving shelter to 1.1 Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.

Hasina proposed setting up fertiliser factories in Saudi Arabia as joint ventures between Bangladeshi and Saudi investors. 

She also proposed to buy oil, both crude and refined, with a deferred payment schedule. “If Saudi Arabia considers the proposal, it would be better for us to meet the demand of the growing industries. We need some support,” she said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher