FNF celebrates 10yrs in Bangladesh

FNF has been working on advocating dialogues and policy reforms to improve trade as well as promoting the growth of e-commerce, entrepreneurships, start-ups and SMEs

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom's (FNF) celebrated 10 years of its presence in Bangladesh at Hotel Amari Dhaka on November 17, 2022. 

Representatives of the foundation attended the event from Germany, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka along with representatives from the diplomatic community, development partners, FNF partners, beneficiaries and friends, according to a press release.

FNF Bangladesh's Country Representative Dr Najmul Hossain highlighted impacts of FNF in Bangladesh society for the last ten years, and how FNF can make meaningful contributions in Bangladesh to promote freedom in the coming years. 

Dr Hossain described FNF's presence in Bangladesh as quite successful as it has been working with certain target groups in three broad areas: Good Governance, Promotion of Free Market Economy, and Digital Transformation. 

FNF has been working on advocating dialogues and policy reforms to improve trade. FNF is also working on promoting the growth of e-commerce, entrepreneurships, start-ups and SMEs. 

It is working on increasing accountability and transparency by promoting right to information act and community dialogues on local governance with higher citizen participation. 

FNF is also supporting digital security, data protection, privacy rights, and internet governance issues. 

With a European Union co-funded project, FNF is also working on promoting Freedom of Expression by fostering responsible digital citizenship among the youth. 

FNF promotes liberal principles through civic education, the goal is to protect individual freedom and promote liberal ideas in their projects with local partner organizations. 

Some notable partners of FNF Bangladesh are Information Commission Bangladesh, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, Dnet, e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh, Preneur Lab Youth and Innovation Trust, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication, and Daffodil International University. 

For the way forward, Dr Hossain proposed FNF would work with policies, youths and on the issue of sustainability.

Following Dr Hossain's speech, special guest Jan Janowski, deputy head of Mission at Embassy of Germany in Bangladesh, and Dr Carsten Klein, regional director at FNF South Asia, expressed their congratulations and contentment on FNF Bangladesh's presence.

In the later part of the celebration event, there was a hybrid panel discussion with a question-and-answer session titled “The Ukrainian War and Food Security Implications for Bangladesh/South Asia.” 

Dr MA Sattar Mandal, emeritus professor of Agricultural Economics at Bangladesh Agricultural University, was the keynote speaker of the session. 

According to Dr Mandal, domestic food production of Bangladesh is on track and government food stock is reasonably good until now. 

However, Dr Mandal suggested pursuing a combined policy for fertilizer, diesel, and feed cost support to protect farmer's incentive and to avoid food security risk from Ukraine War, by involving private sector food industries to produce substitute rice-based food, wheat, and diversify to nutritious foods (poultry and fish). 

Fazle Karim Khan, managing director at Islam Group Agro Business from Bangladesh, and Rajesh Singh, agricultural farmer and entrepreneur from India were present as discussants. 

Fazle Karim joined physically, and Rajesh joined the hybrid event virtually and delivered their remarks towards presented guests. 

The panel discussion and the ten years celebration of FNF Bangladesh office concluded with closing remarks by Wolfgang Heinze, head of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka offices at FNF, followed by dinner.