The first initiative to be undertaken through this partnership will be the China-Bangladesh Investment Summit on January 25
Standard Chartered and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) have teamed up to promote Bangladesh as an investment destination, with the view to bringing in funds from abroad.
Attracting foreign direct investment has long been a holy grail for Bangladesh given its bureaucratic complexities and the difficulty in doing business.
For the past five years, it has been hovering around the $2 billion-mark. In fiscal 2019-20, the country received about $2.4 billion in FDI, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
“Public and private sector collaboration is now more important, as we look to overcome challenges of Covid-19 and leverage the opportunities of the new normal,” said Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of BIDA.
While BIDA has been hard at work in simplifying procedures to lure in foreign investors, the changes are not coming in thick and fast.
Its One-Stop Service portal, which promises all investment-related services under one roof, now has a total of 41 services available, including applications for electricity connections, out of the planned 153 services from 35 agencies.
As part of the partnership, the country’s apex investment promotion body will utilise the British bank’s wide network both at home and abroad to target high value, high technology and high impact investments, covering key priority sectors such as agri-business, ICT, electronics, plastics, light engineering, shipbuilding, tourism, renewable energy, power and healthcare, along with a host of other growth areas.
The two will collaborate on marketing and trade exchange initiatives that will help companies invest in Bangladesh. The partnership will also extend to knowledge exchange on policies, regulations and procedures on investment issues and potential investment opportunities in Bangladesh.
Shifting patterns of globalisation and the system shock caused by the pandemic highlights the importance of building resilience through diversification, said Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bangladesh.
“With companies looking to invest in diverse markets to build resilience and leverage available resources and prospects, we have a unique window of opportunity to expand our FDI pool.”
BIDA is taking the story of a rising Bangladesh to investors around the world, he said.
“Through this timely partnership, we hope to amplify BIDA’s efforts, by harnessing our global footprint and capabilities, and coordinating our own initiatives to attract targeted foreign investments to Bangladesh,” Bijoy added.
FDI will be a key enabler for Bangladesh to achieve sustained double-digit growth and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and become a higher income country by 2041, Islam said.
“While we continue to work to improve ease of doing business and create a business-friendly environment to accelerate FDI flow, we must at the same time take the story of a rising Bangladesh to the world. Public and private sector collaboration is now more important, as we look to overcome challenges of Covid-19 and leverage the opportunities of the new normal,” he added.
The first initiative under the arrangement would be the China-Bangladesh Investment Summit, scheduled to hold on January 25.
The virtual event will showcase the partnership potential between Bangladesh and China and highlight the emerging strategic opportunities in the highly promising Bangladesh-China trade and investment corridor.
More than 300 delegates representing Chinese public and private sectors, policymakers, investors, bankers and economists, along with prominent leaders from Bangladesh’s private and public sectors are expected to attend.