Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s latest visit to the United States was marked by various events, including meetings with business leaders and policymakers, agreements on loan packages and cooperation, and cultural celebrations. It was a significant diplomatic effort towards strengthening bilateral relations and securing commitments for future cooperation between Bangladesh and the United States. The meetings and events during the visit showcased the progress and potential of the country in various sectors, and the trip resulted in several agreements and commitments, including support for future development projects. Let’s take a look at some of the key outcomes of the visit.
PM Seeks long-term US partnership to build smart Bangladesh
During her virtual meeting with US Senators, Prime Minister Hasina emphasized the importance of a long-term partnership between Bangladesh and the United States to build a “smart Bangladesh.” The Prime Minister highlighted that Bangladesh has enormous potential in technology and requested the United States to provide support in this sector. She also discussed various areas of cooperation between the two countries, including trade, investment, and education. On May 2, during a business roundtable on “US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership: Shared Vision for Smart Growth” held at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed Bangladesh’s desire for a long-term and fruitful partnership with the United States. She emphasized the need to increase global competitiveness and expand the export base to achieve the goal of becoming a “developing” country by 2026. “We shall need support to increase our global competitiveness and expand the export base. I am optimistic that the United States would become our long-term productive partner in this challenging venture through trade, investment, technology transfer, and by creating a smooth and predictable supply chain for mutual benefits,” she said.
PM offers special economic zones to US businessmen, seeks larger investment
During a meeting with US businessmen, Prime Minister Hasina offered special economic zones to encourage investment in Bangladesh. She highlighted the various investment-friendly policies of the government and invited US investors to explore opportunities in the country. She also called for greater US investment in the country’s infrastructure and other sectors. During a meeting with US business leaders on May 2, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged them to consider investing in Bangladesh’s various sectors such as renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobile, pharmaceuticals, and ICT, among others. She reiterated her previous offer of a special economic zone exclusively for US investors. The prime minister encouraged the US business community to explore opportunities and make investments in Bangladesh, citing the country’s vibrant and high-potential sectors. “I invite you to invest in our many vibrant and high-potential sectors,” she said.
DSA in Bangladesh is much better than in Western countries, PM tells VOA
During an interview with Voice of America, Prime Minister Hasina defended the Digital Security Act (DSA) in Bangladesh, stating that it is much better than similar laws in Western countries. She highlighted the importance of regulating social media platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda. During her interview on May 1, Sheikh Hasina defended the Digital Security Act (DSA) in Bangladesh, stating that it is much simpler compared to similar laws in other countries, including the United States. She also stated that her government will examine the application and penalties of similar digital security laws in the US, the UK, and European countries to address any shortcomings in the DSA. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of regulating social media platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda, stating that action needs to be taken against those who teach criminality and show various social injustices online. She also clarified that the DSA is not being used to harass journalists but to take action against anyone who engages in anti-social, provocative, or militant activities. In addition, PM Hasina questioned the actions taken against a journalist who was caught stealing a file from one of the ministries, stating that the journalist became a hero and was rewarded despite being caught red-handed. The Prime Minister called for international action against such criminal activities and urged the international community to give special attention to this matter.
Bangladesh signs $2.25 billion loan agreement with WB for 5 projects
Bangladesh signed a $2.25 billion loan agreement with the World Bank for five projects, including infrastructure, education, and healthcare. The Prime Minister expressed her appreciation for the World Bank’s continued support for Bangladesh’s development efforts.
One of the five projects, the First Bangladesh Green and Climate Resilient Development project, will receive $500 million in budget support by the end of this month. The remaining projects are expected to receive at least 20% of their funds within the next year. The umbrella project, accelerating transport and trade connectivity in Eastern South Asia (ACCESS) Bangladesh Phase-1 Project, will receive $753.45 million for developing efficient and resilient regional trade and transport. Another project, worth $500 million, aims to reduce the vulnerability of the population across the cyclone and flood prone coastal districts of Bangladesh. The government will implement the Local Government Engineering Department in six years. The $250 million microenterprise transformation project looks to increase resource-efficient and resilient green growth of microenterprises in Bangladesh. Lastly, the $250 million environmental sustainability project aims to strengthen the government’s capacity in environmental management and reduce pollution discharges. Bangladesh is receiving four loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) out of the five projects. Since 1972, the World Bank has committed a total of $40.4 billion in loan assistance and $722 million in grants for Bangladesh under 368 projects/programmes till now.
PM seeks WB support for implementing future physical and social mega-projects
During a meeting with the World Bank, Prime Minister Hasina sought the bank’s support for implementing future physical and social mega-projects in Bangladesh. She highlighted the country’s potential in various sectors and emphasized the need for continued investment in infrastructure.
Prime Minister Hasina also sought the World Bank’s support for Bangladesh’s smooth transition into a middle-income country. She highlighted the need for continued support in the areas of human development, infrastructure, and trade.
At the inauguration of a photo exhibition celebrating the 50 years of Bangladesh-World Bank relations, Prime Minister Hasina called for continued cooperation between the two sides. She highlighted the country’s progress in various sectors and expressed her hope for a bright future. Finally, Prime Minister Hasina presented a painting of the Padma Bridge to World Bank President, David Malpass, as a symbol of Bangladesh’s progress in infrastructure development.
Bangladesh’s growth possible with right policies and timely action: WB President
During a meeting with World Bank President, David Malpass, Prime Minister Hasina emphasized the need for timely and appropriate action to achieve Bangladesh’s growth aspirations. Malpass lauded Bangladesh’s progress in poverty reduction and expressed his commitment to continued cooperation.
Positive Outcomes of the Visit
The Prime Minister’s visit to the United States was marked by numerous events and meetings that showcased Bangladesh’s progress and potential in various sectors. The visit resulted in various agreements and commitments from the United States and the World Bank, indicating continued support for Bangladesh’s development efforts. The special economic zones offered to US investors are expected to encourage further investment in the country, while the loan agreements with the World Bank will provide much-needed financing for key development projects. The Prime Minister’s emphasis on technology and innovation is also a positive sign, as Bangladesh seeks to leverage these sectors to drive its economic growth and development. Overall, the visit was a success in terms of strengthening bilateral relations and securing commitments for future cooperation between Bangladesh and the United States.
PM in talks with IMF chief, seeks support for economic recovery
During her visit to the United States, Prime Minister held talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, to seek support for Bangladesh’s economic recovery efforts. The Prime Minister highlighted the various measures taken by the government to mitigate the impact of the Covid pandemic, including stimulus packages and vaccination drives. She also discussed the need for further investment in infrastructure, education, and healthcare to ensure sustainable growth in the long term.
PM seeks IMF loan to boost economic growth
During her meeting with the IMF chief, Prime Minister Hasina requested a loan of $1 billion to boost Bangladesh’s economic growth. The loan is expected to be used to finance infrastructure projects, including the Padma Bridge, which has been a key priority for the government. The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of maintaining macroeconomic stability and fiscal discipline, as well as improving the business climate to attract further investment.
IMF chief commends Bangladesh’s resilience, promises continued support
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva commended Bangladesh for its resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged the IMF’s continued support for the country’s economic recovery efforts. She praised the government’s stimulus measures and emphasized the importance of continued investment in infrastructure, education, and healthcare to ensure sustainable growth. The IMF chief also lauded Bangladesh’s progress in poverty reduction and expressed her confidence in the country’s economic prospects, calling it a “rising star” in the region.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the United States was a significant step towards strengthening bilateral relations and securing commitments for future cooperation between Bangladesh and the United States. The various agreements and commitments made during the visit, particularly in the areas of investment, infrastructure, and technology, are expected to drive Bangladesh’s economic growth and development in the coming years. The Prime Minister’s efforts to seek support from international organizations like the World Bank and IMF also highlight the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic and worldwide economic crunch, ensuring a sustainable recovery for the country.
Cover Photo credit: Yeasin Kabir Joy