Describing poverty as the main enemy of South Asia's development, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her call to work together by all countries of the region to root out the poverty.

The premier made the call when Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Bangladesh Yasoja Gunasekera paid a farewell call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here.

"Poverty is the main enemy of development of South Asia. So we will have to work together to stamp out the curse of poverty from the region," PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted the premier as saying while briefing reporters after the meeting.

He said the prime minister and the Sri Lankan envoy discussed matters of bilateral interests especially economic cooperation.

They expressed happiness over the present state of bilateral ties and emphasised on expanding the areas of economic cooperation.

The premier said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had a vision to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh.

"In line with the vision, our present government has been striving to materialise the goal of establishing Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country," she said.

Highlighting various steps of her government to attract investment, the prime minister said the government is encouraging the businesspeople to make more investment for further development of the country.

Sheikh Hasina said South Asia as a whole is a big market. "We also ask the businessmen to look at South Asia and Southeast Asian market for further progress of the region," she said.

The Sri Lankan high commissioner said Bangladesh is a manufacturing hub.

Pointing out her government's strides for establishing 100 economic zones across the country for industrialization and employment generation, the premier said land has been allocated for China, India and Korean investors in these economic zones.

The prime minister invited the Sri Lankan investors to make investment in these economic zones, saying that they can avail the opportunity by making huge investment.

The premier and the Sri Lankan high commissioner put emphasis on joint cooperation in the tourism sector.

Sheikh Hasina highly appreciated education system in Sri Lanka.

PM's International Affairs Advisor Dr Gowher Rizvi and Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury were present on the occasion.

Photo: Saiful Islam Kallol

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