The country received around $2.7 billion investment proposals by foreigners as the two-day long investment summit concluded in Dhaka on Monday.
“We did not have any target. We just wanted the investors to know about the new Bangladesh,” Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, told the concluding session of the summit.
“At the event, they [foreign investors] came to know about Bangladesh. They came to learn about the changes the country has gone through. They now know that there is a satisfactory investment environment here,” Salman added.
While detailing the investment proposals, Md Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), said, “We are so very excited that this summit has attracted over $2.7 billion in investment proposals and deals including a $1.5 billion Saudi proposal in infrastructure and engineering.”
The investors include Saudi Arabia’s Engineering Dimension, Bangladeshi United Group and Turkish Aygaz.
The executive chairman said more than 6,000 participants of 54 countries joined the 16 sessions of the summit. Over 5,000 participants joined in person while nearly 1,400 were connected to the event through online platforms.
“This indicates how the ‘Bangladesh Brand’ is expanding globally,” he said, adding they received important policy suggestions throughout the summit to facilitate more private investments. The suggestions include private sector engagement in power transmission and reformation of the banking sector.
In his speech, Salman F Rahman thanked the potential investors who joined the summit, and said, “Only 25% of participants who completed the summit registration came here, and we struggled to accommodate them perfectly.”
Hector Gomez Ang, regional director for South Asia at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), said, “It is a great moment for Bangladesh to include the private sector in power transmission and distribution. A modern transmission and distribution system supported by private investment will help accelerate GDP growth by increasing efficiency and reducing system losses.”
He expressed belief that by addressing issues such as NPLs, the bankruptcy act, foreign exchange regulations and other regulatory constraints, the government will be paving the way for the banking system to better serve Bangladesh businesses and population.
The IFC, as the largest global private sector development bank, is fully committed to continue to work with the Bangladesh government and the private sector here in this endeavor, he continued.
“Bangladesh is a priority country for the IFC. We have been a long-standing partner and plan to continue to play a major role in this pivotal phase of Bangladesh’s development journey. Over the last six years, we have committed about $250 million in climate investments in Bangladesh.”
The IFC has invested in excess of $2 billion over the past five years, he noted, adding they plan to double the investments. “We are committed to supporting market diversification beyond RMG and ensuring that Bangladesh is the next Asian Tiger.”
At the event, Atiqul Islam, mayor of the Dhaka North City Corporation, said, Bangladesh is now the best place to invest in. “We have taken many initiatives. We will change the whole city of Dhaka with the introduction of electric buses.”
The city corporation has created a new trend by introducing green bonds, he maintains, adding, “We have undertaken various green projects including canals, eco parks. We want foreign investment in these projects.”
As the chief guest of the concluding session, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said Bangladesh’s growth potential is now recognised worldwide as the country is forecasted to be the 25th largest economy in the world by 2035.
“In fact, we aspire to be a rich nation like the G-20 countries by 2041,” the minister said.
Terming Bangladesh “an ideal destination for foreign investments”, he said the country offers liberal investment policies and attractive packages to the investors.
“We also offer generous tax holidays and other fiscal packages. Long-term lease-able plots are available in special economic zones,” he added.