Bangladesh has emerged as an export driven from an Agro based economy: Shahriar Alam
Dhaka 2 February 2021:
Intervention of State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam for the virtual Decoration Ceremony of Ambasador Mr Mizanur Rahman, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua.
Addressing Foreign Minister of Nicaragua Mr. Denis Moncada Colindres, and Ambassador Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh Ambassador to Oman and former Bangladesh Ambassador to the Republic of Nicaragua, The State Minister for Foreign Affairs said this is indeed a great pleasure to join at this occasion of decorating Ambassador Mizanur Rahman of the order of “José de Marcoleta” in the “Degree of Grand Cross” by the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua.
“I thank the Government of Nicaragua for honouring Ambassador Mizanur Rahman with this esteemed honour, as the recognition of his contribution to strengthen Bangladesh-Nicaragua bilateral relations. I am especially delighted to be connected virtually with His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Nicaragua on this occasion.
I further take the opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Mizanur Rahman for such achievement and his dedication to promote our relations with Nicaragua. We know during his tenure, Ambassador Rahman was engaged in promoting the image of Bangladesh, increasing trade relationship, establish formal mechanism for regular high-level engagements including the appointment of an Honorary Consul, and enhancing collaboration among our business communities. I also wish him all the best in his current assignment as Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Sultanate of Oman, ” He continued.
Nicaragua and Bangladesh has good relations bilaterally, with the potential to further strengthening the ties. Our two countries have similar histories of colonial repression and eventual liberation through people’s resistance. In the multilateral arena specially in the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, our two friendly countries works closely under the auspices of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 and China (G77 and China), on a number of political, socio-economic and development agenda. As two developing countries, we believe our journey towards future would also be similar with identical challenges, especially in the post COVID-19 scenario. Thus, the bilateral contact and engagement between us need to be further enhanced, for our mutual benefit. Today’s event is indeed a important stepping stone to that end in my view.
2021 is a very significant year for Bangladesh when we are celebrating the golden Jubilee of our Independence. At the same time, we are celebrating the Birth Centenary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the supreme architect of our liberation from colonialism. Under his charismatic leadership, we achieved our independence in 1971 through a 9 months’ long war of independence. Our Father of the Nation dreamt of a “Sonar Bangla” or ‘golden Bengal”- a prosperous nation where everyone has equal rights. His daughter Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working restlessly to achieve that goal. After having achieved various UN Millennium Development Goals much ahead of time in 2015, Bangladesh is on the right track to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Bangladesh has become a lower middle-income country and is making robust strides to become a developed nation by 2041. The country is well poised to become the 25th largest economy in the world by the year 2035.
We look for an equitable access to global markets, expansion of our export basket, attract Foreign Director Investment, transfer of critical technologies, and greater and better employment of our professionals and workers both home and abroad. Bangladesh with its pro-investment policies, huge domestic market, strategically important geopolitical location, political stability, connectivity to major economies and its hard-working skilled people has become a lucrative destination for foreign investment.
Bangladesh has emerged as an export driven from an Agro based economy. Its export basket consists of garments, jute & jute products, leather goods, processed food including fisheries, vegetables etc, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, IT sector, machinery and so on. Bangladesh is the 2nd largest global apparel manufacture. 7 out of 10 top green apparel factories globally are in Bangladesh. There is huge demand of climate friendly jute and jute goods like jute yarn, sac and bag and other jute products. Bangladeshi scientists have successfully disclosed genome sequencing of jute in 2010 thus opening up scopes in the development of variety of the world’s most biodegradable natural fibre. Pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh are being exported to some 145 countries, including the North American countries, the UK and other European countries. Bangladesh has potential to export to Nicaragua other consumer goods like plastic products, cement, furniture, leather goods, light engineering products, etc.
Ready-Made Garments is the product that Nicaragua imports from Bangladesh and the import volume needs further boosting. We hope Nicaragua will consider importing other products from Bangladesh. I hope we will be able hold the Foreign Office Consultations in near future, the text of which was finalized during the tenure of Ambassador Rahman and arrange regular discussions between our business representatives, conclude deals among our apex trade associations for better understanding our abilities and needs. Now we have our Honorary Consul in Nicaragua, who is a promising businessman. I hope he will contribute to forging relationship in this regard and the Government of Nicaragua will extend full support to him in this regard.
“I would like to focus on a critical problem Bangladesh is facing with more than 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas taking temporary shelter in Bangladesh,” The State Minister remarked.
He continued and said being victim of violence, persecution and discrimination at the hands of their own people in their own country, the Rohingyas fled from them own land to Bangladesh for refuge. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave them temporary shelter in Bangladesh only on humanitarian ground despite our large population and limited resources. The cost of hosting such a huge population on our society, security, resources, economy, environment and ecology is huge, immeasurable and in some cases irreversible.
The root cause of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar is the systematic denial of human rights, citizenship of the Rohingyas by Myanmar authorities. This has been clearly recognized by the Kofi Annan Commission Report. Under the bilateral agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the repatriation was to commence in January 2018 and Myanmar committed to create conducive environment for the repatriation of the Rohingyas. Despite our sincere efforts, the commencement of repatriation remains highly uncertain due to a lack of decisive action on the part of Myanmar. Lack of progress in repatriation in the last three years led to widespread frustrations and hopelessness among the Rohingyas.
While we appreciate the humanitarian assistance of the international community, we also call upon the international community to engage with Myanmar in a meaningful way to ensure the creation of a conducive environment in the Rakhine state. Bangladesh wants the urgent resolution of this situation by early, sustainable and dignified repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
Bangladesh appreciates Nicaragua’s support on the Rohingya issue. We further hope in future voting at international for e.g. at the UN, Nicaragua would come forward to extend fullest support towards Bangladesh’s position vis-a-vie this crisis and its ultimate solution.
The world now is going through the second wave of a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic. Bangladesh has remarkably succeeded in tackling this pandemic – striking a balance between life & livelihood by keeping our economy almost fully functional. Even we achieved 5.24% GDP growth rate last year.
While the exiting pandemic has created immense global challenges, at the same time it has generated newer scopes and interest to establish more prudent relationship among international partners. I firmly believe this changing context will bring Bangladesh and Nicaragua even closer to forge stronger trade and commercial relationship.
I thank you all once again for having me in this event and wish you good health and success.
Long live Bangladesh Nicaragua friendship, the state minister concluded.