Bangladesh, one of the fastest growing Asian economies, has become a focal point of UAE-based investors who made a collective commitment of more than $10 billion towards infrastructure investments at an economic forum on Sunday.
On top of the huge investment participation, prospective investors also expressed keen interest in more than 25 projects that were presented at the second edition of Bangladesh Economic Forum in Dubai, organisers said.
At the event, Salman Fazlur Rahman, advisor to the Bangladeshi Prime Minister for private industry and investment, met a large number of businessmen, who have expressed interest in developing economic zones high-tech parks in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is developing 100 economic zones and 28 high-tech parks to accelerate the flow of foreign direct investment, which jumped 68 per cent to $3.61 billion last year.
Rahman, who is leading a 20-member delegation comprising officials from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, said UAE-based investors have shown strong and genuine interest in investing in Bangladesh.
"We have seen large investments coming from China, Japan and the United States. We believe, investors from the GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, should take advantage of the lower cost of investment, operations and higher return on investment in Bangladesh," he said.
The $315 billion economy, ranked 39th globally in size, is targeting a growth of 8.2 per cent in the current fiscal. The country requires $24 billion investment in infrastructure annually, to achieve its Vision 2021, according to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Transaction activity in infrastructure more than doubled to $31.4 billion in 2017, increasing further to reach $46 billion in 2018,the AIIB said. According to analysts, Bangladesh needs a total of $320 billion investment only in infrastructure if it wants to become the world's 30th-largest economy by 2030.
"Investment from the GCC and the Arab World will help Bangladesh economy achieve a higher growth rate and we are more than ready to welcome them. The government and the private sector businesses are developing 100 economic zones and 28 high-tech parks in Bangladesh. These are good opportunities for UAE investors who have championed the concept of free economic zones," said Rahman.
"Investors from the UAE could benefit from low labour cost and very low operational costs. In the coming years, we are going to strengthen our communication to the UAE's large corporates on exploring the possibility of increasing their investment in to Bangladesh," said Rahman.
Bangladeshis are major investors in the UAE economy where more than 50,000 businesses are owned and run by Bangladeshi expatriates who employ more than 150,000 people collectively.
The World Bank estimates that Bangladesh must spend $7.4 billion to $10 billion a year until 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard needed to serve its growing population.
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