June 12, 2014
BANGLADESH AND CHINA: A NEW ERA OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Special Industrial and Economic Zone for China in Bangladesh
Bangladesh government has offered a separate economic and industrial zone for Chinese investors. Seeking easier and duty-free access for more Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina articulated to prospective Chinese investors the facilities export processing zones (EPZs) in Bangladesh offer.
China wants to expand bilateral relations with Bangladesh in areas including energy, communications, infrastructure, construction, technology, agriculture, ocean and disaster prevention and relief. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China attaches high importance to its relations with South Asian nations. The deputy Prime Minister stated that his country wants to be a significant partner in Bangladesh’s economic development. Governor of Yunnan Province of Kunming Qin Guangrong assured the Bangladesh Premier of taking initiatives by his provincial government for promotion of trade with, and investment in, Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s Communication Secretary Khandakar Anwarul Islam and Vice Minister of Ministry of Transport and Communication of China Chi-Kuo Mao, on behalf of their respective countries, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for constructing a tunnel under the Karnaphuli river in Chittagong, the south-east part of the country, at the costs of $1 billion. Another MoU was signed by China with Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for the construction of a garments village in Munshiganj.
In her recently concluded official visit to China, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the importance of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) for strengthening economic cooperation among all neighbours of this region. Given the significance of the corridor for regional prosperity, the Bangladesh Premier urged her Chinese counterpart to take steps for expediting the process.
BANGLADESH ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
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Bangladesh has been awarded the prestigious `World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) 2014 Prize’. This award is a tribute to the government’s outstanding achievements within a short span of five years in bringing fundamental changes in providing services to citizen’s doorsteps towards the pursuit of good governance. Access to Information (a2i) Programme is one of the most important initiatives under the Prime Minister’s Office for establishing e-governance in Bangladesh, and an essential tool for realizing the current government’s vision of a technologically advanced “Digital Bangladesh”.
Bangladesh police are expected to deploy some 350 personnel to the United Nations peace-keeping mission in Central African Republic (CAR) in October. Currently, over 1,750 members, including 190 female, of Bangladesh Police are deployed at different peacekeeping missions in Congo, South Sudan, Darfur, Ivory Coast, Mali and Haiti.
The greatest show on earth, the football world cup, is all set to captivate the imagination of billions of fans worldwide from 12th June 2014. Like everywhere else, Bangladesh too, is currently in the grips of soccer fever. Apart from being a very passionate nation about football, Bangladesh, being a leading garments manufacturer, makes football jerseys for fans worldwide annually worth $1 billion. This time with the world cup around, manufacturers stand to make much more.
BUDGET 2014-15: INCREASED ALLOCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
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In placing its largest ever annual budget in Parliament for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Bangladesh government outlined its plans to achieve a 7.3% growth in its GDP. In order to realize this target and to achieve its Vision 2021, specific allocations have been made for key sectors having a bearing on human development.
The budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 has been placed to facilitate social protection, equity, and justice. Being a target-oriented and pro-poor budget it has enlarged the existing social security programmes while also introducing some new ones.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
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Visiting World Trade Organization (WTO)Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will expand 7.3 percent in the fiscal year 2014-15. This growth would represent the highest since the country became an independent nation in 1971.
In 2009, approximately 33% of the Bangladeshi people were poor and 20% of the people were ultra poor respectively. Now, the rate stands to show 26% of the population as poor while 12% being ultra poor. This amazing decline has been achieved through consistent economic growth, enhanced employment generation, wage hike in farming sector and countrywide social safety net programmes which have played a key role in reducing poverty and extreme poverty.
A project worth around $70 million has been undertaken to gradually eradicate child labour from Bangladesh. To get rid of the children from hazardous jobs, the current Awami League led government has been implementing a four-phase development programme. Around 40,000 working children and 50,000 of their parents have been provided education and skills development training for self-employment and jobs in informal labour markets.
To bring dynamism in the education sector, a total of 23,500 multimedia classrooms have been set up across the country at the primary and secondary level schools to make the learning process easy and understandable.
Child birth of each family has declined from six to two children. Child mortality rate also reduced in recent years. This has been possible due to trained female workers of the public service who disseminated knowledge on family planning and healthcare services to rural mothers.
Bangladesh Awami League