UAE businesses promise $10 billion investment in Bangladesh

The UAE-based investors have lined up a number of new projects including five free economic zones and $10 billion worth of investment in Bangladesh.

Published : 16 Sept 2019, 03:46 PM
Updated : 16 Sept 2019, 03:46 PM

Those investments will be made in Bangladesh’s energy, ports, power and infrastructure sectors in an effort to help fuel the economic growth.

The investors discussed those projects with Salman F Rahman, Prime Minister’s Adviser for Private Industry and Investment, at the Bangladesh Economic Forum in Dubai on Sunday.

Salman headed a 20-strong Bangladesh delegation at the forum. He also met a number of large UAE-based business groups that have expressed interest in developing economic zones and hi-tech parks in Bangladesh.

Earlier in February, Bangladesh and the UAE signed four MoUs on establishing a port, industrial park, supply and setting up of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, power plants, and a special economic zone in Bangladesh during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit.

Bangladesh is developing 100 economic zones and 28 hi-tech parks for greater and faster inflow of Foreign Direct Investment that jumped 68 percent to $3.61 billion last year.

Some 25 fresh investment projects were tabled at the forum where investors discussed their schemes with the adviser and the visiting Bangladesh official delegation.

These projects are in addition to the $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) worth of investment planned by UAE-based investors in Bangladesh, according to data compiled by Bangladesh Economic Forum.

“I am pleased to see strong and genuine interest among the UAE-based investors – both UAE national and foreign business groups – in investing in Bangladesh economy,” Salman was quoted as saying in a statement.

“We have seen large investments coming from China, Japan and the United States. We believe investors from the GCC (Gulf) countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, should take advantage of the lower cost of investment, operations and higher return on investment in Bangladesh.

“Investment from the GCC and the Arab World will help Bangladesh economy achieve a higher growth rate and we are more than ready to welcome them.

“Bangladesh Government and the private sector businesses are developing 100 economic zones and 28 hi-tech parks in Bangladesh. These are good opportunities for UAE investors who have championed the concept of free economic zones,” the prime minister's advisor was further quoted as saying in the statement.

More than 300 government officials, business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs joined the day-long international investment conference aimed at strengthening the flow of trade and investment between the UAE and Bangladesh.

Bangladeshis are major investors in the UAE economy where more than 50,000 businesses are owned and run by Bangladeshi expatriates who employ more than 150,000 people.

Bangladesh also needs massive foreign and domestic investment to create employment and ensure sustainable development for its growth which is expected to be 8 percent. The UAE and the GCC countries could be major sources for investment in Bangladesh.

The prime minister’s adviser said UAE investors could benefit from the "lowest labour cost and very low operational costs".

“Our brothers and investor friends from the UAE and Gulf should benefit from the growing opportunities in Bangladesh,” Salman said.

“In the coming years, we are going to strengthen our communication to the UAE’s large corporates on exploring the possibility of increasing their investment into Bangladesh.”

Shaikh Abdul Karim, an investment advisor and Member of Bangladesh Economic Forum, said: “As a private advisory group, Bangladesh Economic Forum is ready to bridge the gap between Bangladeshi project owners and UAE investors as well as the gap between the public sector investment promotion agencies and the investor community and help support all investment projects.”

The forum is aimed at forging stronger relationship among the public sector policy makers and private sector investors and business community.

The 20-member government delegation comprised officials of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) and Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA).

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher