British businesses keen to invest in Bangladesh

Financial, aviation and education sectors are in focus, says envoy

| Updated: February 24, 2023 08:41:22

British businesses keen to invest in Bangladesh

British businesses are interested to invest in the financial, aviation and education sectors of Bangladesh as the country offers an environment where good firms can do good business.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson conveyed the willingness of his country's investors at an event in the capital on Wednesday, and said they are receiving more private sector interest in Bangladesh that will ultimately deliver economic growth.

"The two countries have a direct bilateral trade dialogue now" that would facilitate trade and promote investment, he said, addressing the event titled "Investment Climate Reforms in Bangladesh: Findings from the End-Term Evaluation of Investment Climate Fund (BICF) Programme".

The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), the UK Government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) jointly organised the event to share data and disseminate findings from the BICF programme.

The BICF is the World Bank Group's largest single-country advisory facility for private sector development designed to improve the investment climate in Bangladesh funded by the UK Aid.

Mr Dickson said that the UK will be providing more capital to Bangladesh as the reorganised and rebranded Commonwealth Development Corporation has increased the amount of capital, particularly focused on ESD-friendly and climate areas.

"This is part of a wider offering which is also backed up by the UK Export Finance," he said, informing the meeting that the UK Export Finance also has increased the rate of interest on capital they are providing to Bangladesh.

The UK envoy said that Bangladesh has a great potential to have a much bigger aviation sector than it is now. "Airbus UK is keen to become a partner of Bangladesh to develop the aerospace sector here."

He said the British business groups having experience in doing business here are some of the largest taxpayers among the Bangladesh's corporate sector.

"It's very good for us to be able to discuss in theory and practice of increasing FDI with some of the largest operators here," he added.

Speaking at the programme, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Martin Holtmann said the fund is the single largest programme in IFC's 100 offices in the world.

Bangladesh is one of the start performers in the world and this programme has been very important for the country, he added.

"As we continue to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and dealing with macro challenges, new sources of investment will be the key priority for all of us here in Bangladesh," he said.

He said that the size and quality of investment is the single most important key driver of the economic growth over decades.

The IFC along with the other organisations have made a commitment to invest US$1.0 billion annually over next three years, he added.

The BICF program was designed to improve the investment climate in Bangladesh with a long-term strategic approach towards improving business enabling environment, supporting investment in industrial infrastructure and, enhancing export diversification and trade competitiveness.

The program focused on addressing underlying issues around investments such as supporting the simplification of regulatory processes, improving the regulatory framework for specific sub-sectors and economic zones, digitizing procedures and supporting targeted investment promotion.

The BICF program was implemented in two phases. The duration of BICF-1 was from 2007 to 2015 and BICF-2 was from 2016 to 2022. Both phases were implemented during a period of rapid change with Bangladesh being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

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