Speakers focus on regional coop to boost economies
Business Desk :
There is an urgent need for promoting regional cooperation to help boost the economies in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, speakers at a webinar said.
Bangladesh, with its excellent geographical location, demographic dividend and conducive policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), could play a vital role in fostering regional ties, especially with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states, they added.
They came up with the views in a webinar titled 'Importance of Regional Cooperation in Post-Covid Recovery', organised by the Bangladesh Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI) on Saturday.
Vicente V T Bandillo, the Philippines Ambassador to Bangladesh, joined the virtual discussion as the chief guest.
Akber Al Hakim, president of the bilateral trade-body, Abul Kasem Khan, chairman of the Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), Rupali Chowdhury, president of the Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), also spoke in the webinar.
The Philippines ambassador expressed his regret in the failure of global leadership in coming forward during this time of crisis.
"Covid-19 has affected everyone, developing and developed countries alike. Regional co-operation is the only alternative in a time of great vacuum created by global leadership," he added.
Mr Akber Al Hakim said as the world is reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic, and trade and investment are shrinking across the board, it is more important than ever to foster closer regional co-operation to boost economies.
Mr Kasem Khan emphasised the importance of Bangladesh's geographic location and its large young population as well as the role that it could play in fostering regional ties, especially with the ASEAN states. "As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Bangladesh is set to surpass both Thailand and Malaysia in gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, and our neighbours of the ASEAN should take advantage of that," he opined.
Ms Rupali Chowdhury said through successful setting up of its Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and proper benchmarking, Bangladesh could attract a huge volume of FDI.
She also focused on the need for employment creation alongside revenue generation.
"The ASEAN countries could help us with skills development and vocational education," she noted. Dr. Mustafizur Rahman said in order to attract more FDI, Bangladesh must build connectivity in five key areas - trade, investment, logistics, transport, and people to people.