SHEIKH HASINA, HER POLITICAL INSIGHT AND BANGLADESH DEVELOPMENT

SHEIKH HASINA, HER POLITICAL INSIGHT AND BANGLADESH DEVELOPMENT

– A K AZAD –

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has inaugurated a brilliant chapter in Bangladesh`s development history. She has uplifted the country’s image and made a significant contribution to the national economy and politics.

With her sincere and relentless efforts, the country is enjoying a balanced relationship with some of the key players of the world politics. She has been able to create a positive acceptance throughout the world, earning prestigious global awards as marks of recognition to the country’s gradual development in all key fields.

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bruneis-sultan-hassanal-bolkiah-c-offers-bangladeshs-prime-minister-sheikh-hasina-lDespite conspiracies against her and her government, Sheikh Hasina has become not only a beacon of Bengali nation, but also an icon of South Asian politics, by her bold and visionary leadership.

By the way of her outstanding leadership, she has been able to splash her importance in South Asian region. Amid spate of horrific terror attacks across the country, she could encourage foreign friends to invest here, making the way to boost country`s development.

Though several world leaders criticised the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League (AL) government for the January 5, 2014 national election. After the elections Sheikh Hasina also made a successful visit to United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) as well. It has been just three years, the world leaders are now inspired by her diplomatic strategy. Responding to her life-awakening call, now foreign investors are ready to invest billions of dollars in Bangladesh.

EXAMPLES OF HER DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY

sheikh-hasina-with-world-leadersSheikh Hasina, maintaining strong ties with Russia and India, started to build ties with China. Balancing China, India, and Russia is no easy task, but it is indeed Sheikh Hasina’s diplomatic strategy. Hasina`s charm leadership and strategic plans have put Bangladesh on centre-stage of international and regional politics.

During the liberation war in 1971, China along with the United States (US) took an “anti” stand in the name of what they called the “ping-pong diplomacy.” Governments came and went, with the US recognising Bangladesh reluctantly and China vetoing our entry into the United Nations.

China only recognised Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the man they held responsible for breaking up Pakistan.

Sheikh-Hasina-shakes-hands-with-Chinas-President-Xi-JinpingIn an attempt to carve out innovative ways to strengthen the more than three decade old bilateral and diplomatic relations with the emerging Asian giant, Sheikh Hasina undertook a high-profile five-day official visit to China since coming to power for the third time. It was her first foreign visit since taking charge of Bangladesh’s new government, after the landslide victory in the December 2009 elections.

The much anticipated high level talks between Sheikh Hasina and her then Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao yielded a resolution to create a “closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation.” This was a crucial stepping stone in Hasina’s ambition to get a “comprehensive partnership” with Beijing, according to analysts.

Chinese-President-Xi-Jinping-assures-Prime-Minister-Sheikh-Hasina1The landmark talks dealt with a spectrum of issues that were significant for both countries. China gave a positive answer to Hasina’s call for Chinese financial aid and technical support for development projects, collaboration in agriculture, and the power sector. Chinese premier Web Jiabao then assured Hasina of overall backing and support in all areas.

The far-sighted Sheikh Hasina also took her maiden visit to China when she was in opposition. It was then called an “ice-breaking” trip.

chinese-president-jinping-arrives-in-dhakaIt has been 45 years since Bangladesh was born, the two superpowers (China and US) of the world are now busy to maintain a balanced relationship with their Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina. It has been possible only for her effective diplomatic strategy.

XI JINPING`S VISIT

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently spent two days in Bangladesh, making the historic visit in three decades by a first Chinese President.

614597444After signing 40 agreements during the visit, Chinese President told media, “We agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh relations from a closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a strategic partnership of cooperation and to increase high-level exchanges and strategic communication, so that our bilateral relations continue to move ahead at a higher level.”

On October 14 after bilateral talks, Bangladesh and China signed 40 agreements, including loan and investment deals in the infrastructure sector worth over $20 billion, as they upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership.

Xi and Hasina witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and memoranda of understanding involving the two governments. Chinese state-owned and private entities also signed 13 agreements mostly with Bangladeshi private enterprises.

JOHN KERRY`S VISIT

pmo_kerryAfter suspending the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladeshi products, US tried to put Bangladesh in pressure waging voices over the existence of global terrorists in Bangladesh. They frequently said Islamic States (IS) backed militants existed in the domain of Bangladesh and carrying out terror attacks across the country. But, out far sighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always dismisses their allegations. She always says, “There is no existence of IS back militants in Bangladesh. Those who are making isolated attacks here, they are from local oppositions and off the rails.

JOHN KERRY AND SHEIKH HASINA

sheikh-hasina-with-kerrySensing her boldness and far sights over the world politics, US sent its State Secretary John Kerry to visit Bangladesh for maintaining balanced relationship. Amid the wake of militant attacks across the country, John Kerry arrived in Dhaka on August 29 to discuss the global challenge, preventing the rise of militancy and violent extremism in Bangladesh and the region.

jonh-kerry-07Kerry`s tour at the end of the tenure of Obama administration, diplomatic sources said the visit is quite “extraordinary” and carries “special significance” as the US government is giving importance to Hasina`s government after giving it the cold shoulder for years.

WORLD BANK PRESIDENT KIM`S VISIT

hasin-kim20161023124702Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proved that it is wrong to depend on foreign aids for the country`s development. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project was designed to be funded by donors such as the World Bank (WB), JICA, ADB etc. After a scandal of alleged corruption by some people associated with project preparation the global financing organisation WB withdrew its commitment and other donors followed.

Then the premier announced to construct it with own-finance, proving Bangladesh is now well-off enough to complete any project with own-funds.

world-bank-president-kims-visit-dhakaLater, WB also announced that no evidence was found over corruption in the Padma Bridge Project, but the announcement could not heal the cold relation with Bangladesh authority.

Recently, WB president Jim Yong Kim visited Bangladesh and heaped praises upon the country, its people and leadership for becoming a model for poverty reduction despite being saddled with a long list of hardships.

He also lauded Bangladesh’s role in empowering women and terming the country as a model in women’s progress.

During the visit, WB President pledged Bangladesh to give USD $3 billion over the next three years to help the country become less vulnerable to climate change and to combat malnutrition of children.

world-bank-president-kims-visitEarlier, the WB released two reports that Bangladesh has done an impressive job in reducing poverty over the last decade and has the potential to end extreme poverty by 2030 if it takes firm steps to make growth more inclusive to benefit all Bangladeshis.

The reports titled ‘Bangladesh Development Update’ and ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality’, find that Bangladesh is making sustained progress in poverty reduction and increasing opportunities.

Under the new $1.90 poverty line based on 2011 purchasing power, 28 million, or 18.5 percent of Bangladeshis lived in extreme poverty in 2010, according to the reports.

More than 16 million people in Bangladesh graduated from extreme poverty between 2000 and 2010, the reports said.

A BEACON OF BENGALI NATION..

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in BIMSTEC summit lauded the steps taken by Sheikh Hasina to fight terrorism in the country and went on to tell her that she has “given a new template on how to fight terrorism”.

NARENDRA MODI AND SHEIKH HASINA

indian-prime-minister-narendra-modi-greeted-prime-minister-sheikh-hasinaEarlier on Sheikh Hasina`s birthday, Modi also highly appreciated her leadership saying her resolute leadership has provided the people of Bangladesh a beacon of hope during a difficult period.

“From development to security, Bangladesh has made rapid strides in its progress towards peace and prosperity for all citizens, under your able stewardship,” Modi wrote in the birthday message to Hasina.

REMARKABLE SUCCESS IN POWER SECTOR

target-of-power-generationPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina has become a role model of development in South Asia as she could overcome all complexities to boost countries development.

Though political demonstrations centering the January 5, 2014 national election disturbed the country`s development temporarily, her brilliant leadership and effective steps helped national economy to overcome the situation soon. Despite traffic and non-traffic barriers, foreigners are now inspired by her diplomatic strategy to invest in Bangladesh.

power-genaration-in-bangladesh-16-638Under her dynamic leadership, the country has achieved tremendous success in the overall development. After assuming power by the Awami League-led government in 2009, the power generation capacity was only 4,942 MW and real electricity production was only 3,268 MW. Now the power generation has arisen up to 14,539 MW (Megawatt) and 76 percent of the total population has been brought under electricity coverage and the nation has witnessed the continued turnaround of recovering from the chronic energy crisis.

The common people across the country are proud enough to see a tremendous success of this government in the power sector as load shedding, a perennial problem before 2009, is no more in both urban and rural areas.

nuclear-power-plantThe government has set a target to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021 and 40,000 MW by 2030 to cover the whole country with electricity. The villages normally die soon after the dusk into the darkness of the night, but the scene has now changed as most of the households remain alive at night in rural Bangladesh.

INCREDIBLE ECONOMIC BOOST

02_12_2014-Economy_Bangladesh-EnOn the overall economic front, the Awami League government has scored the GDP (gross domestic product) rate at 7.2 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year by the outstanding leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The current year’s GDP has been fixed at 7.5 percent with the confidence that it will grow in the same pace steadily in the years to come.

Meanwhile, the per capita income has already reached USD1466 and the foreign currency reserves exceeded USD 30 billion in June 2016 to lead Bangladesh to be a middle-income country very soon.

pm-sheikh-hasina-g7The government under the bold and visionary leadership by Sheikh Hasina has been progressing towards materializing the vision-2021 along with turning the country into a Digital Bangladesh.

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OCTOBER 23, 2016
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REFLECTIONS OF A CITIZEN

REFLECTIONS OF A CITIZEN

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SYED BADRUL AHSAN

The first time many of us came to know of Sheikh Hasina was on the day after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was freed from the Agartala Case and was released, along with his co-accused, unconditionally. On 23 February 1969, the Karachi-based newspaper Dawn carried a front-page picture of her hugging her father in what was clearly an iconic image. Both she and Bangabandhu looked happy, for obvious reasons.

sheikh-hasina-17-may-1981-1The first time I met Sheikh Hasina was on an evening in May 1981, a few days after her return from exile in Delhi to take over the leadership of the Awami League. It was a reception arranged for her on the spacious lawn of architect Mazharul Islam’s residence in Paribagh. I was there not by invitation but as somewhat of a gate-crasher. His daughter, my good friend Dalia Nausheen (today a reputed Nazrul artiste), who was my colleague at the Dhaka YMCA where we both taught English, had brought me along to meet the new Awami League leader. It was an opportunity I was not ready to pass. With Dalia I went over to her place. On that occasion, it was only a hello that I exchanged with Sheikh Hasina. She was young. Her smile was infectious.

skhasina-80sIt was a few years later, on a very monsoon morning in 1987, that Bangabandhu’s cousin Mominul Haque, whose daughter Farhana was my student, turned up at the Lalmatia home where my wife Zakia and I lived. It was rather early, one of those mornings where you did not feel like getting out of bed. But there was Mominul Haque, our dear Khoka Bhai (who a few years prior to his death left a very riveting account of the life Bangabandhu’s family led in some of its darkest moments), asking me to get ready for breakfast with Sheikh Hasina. That was a happy shock. By the way, Khoka Bhai and his daughter had come to know of my profound respect for Bangabandhu through observing a bust of the Father of the Nation we had in our drawing room. The news must have trickled down to Sheikh Hasina and here I was, on that rainy morning, on my way to 32 Dhanmondi for breakfast with the new leader of the Awami League. I cannot pretend I was not nervous.

Drik_Hasina_01It was a memorable meeting. Sheikh Hasina, Khoka Bhai and I had a good, hearty, typically Bengali breakfast over a good conversation as it poured outside. The AL leader had meanwhile been reading my articles (I was new to journalism) and concluded, correctly, that I held Bangabandhu in deep, abiding respect. Our breakfast was in Bangabandhu’s library on the ground floor. I remember wondering, even as I conversed with Sheikh Hasina, what her feelings must have been given that it was the very place where the biggest tragedy had occurred in the history of the country in August 1975. I remember asking myself — I still have that question — how Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana had managed to keep themselves together, in one piece, after all that massacre had taken place.

prime-minister-sheikh-hasina_9There have been assassinations in history, but rarely if at all have been the instances where entire families, or nearly, had been wiped out by gun-carrying men appearing in the depths of the dark. Aung San Suu Kyi lost her father to murder, Benazir Bhutto saw her father walk the gallows, Gandhi and John Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. In none of these instances were their families killed. In all these years that have passed since my reflections over breakfast at 32 Dhanmondi, I have never ceased to ask that question: how did Sheikh Hasina steel herself, through that huge tragedy, into becoming the powerful leader she is today.

hasina5_327518635My interaction with Sheikh Hasina has always been an occasion for me to rediscover anew the individual in her. After that breakfast morning, my contacts with her increased, to a point where I often had the opportunity to act as a speechwriter for her, especially when she travelled abroad in the Ershad years. During the campaign for the general elections of February 1991, I was part of the media team she constituted for herself and in that capacity I was present at 32 Dhanmondi on the occasions when foreign media needed to interview her. It felt good working in a very typical western way, briefing her on the kind of questions she could anticipate and the responses she would need to make. She was always ready to learn.

sheikh_hasina_climate_treaty_rtxi53y_ah_48979The Awami League defeat in the elections was disappointing. But my contacts remained. At one point, when the decision was made to transform Bangabandhu’s home into a memorial, I found myself part of a team tasked with the selection of photographs and other images that could go into the making of a gallery on the ground floor of the residence. We had a team, comprising Sheikh Hasina, the late Gaziul Haq, Baby Moudud, Siddiqur Rahman and myself, which had the job of sifting through the huge collection of photographs in Bangabandhu’s innumerable family albums and selecting the ones we needed for the memorial museum. It was painful being in Sheikh Kamal’s and Sheikh Jamal’s rooms. Indeed, it was agony being in that home knowing how iconic it had become in history and yet remembering what terrible deeds had been done there by villainous men.

BANGABANDHU WITH SHEIKH HASINAA fundamental part of my work, as the museum took shape, was looking into the English language captions of the photographs which today line the walls of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. In one corner of the hall, a large photograph of the truck bringing Bangabandhu, in January 1972, from the old Tejgaon airport to the Race Course (now Suhrawardy Udyan) is set against the wall. Every time I visit the museum, I watch that picture, knowing that at the back of the truck, invisible to the photographer, I am hanging on. I would hang on there, all the way to the Race Course. I once told Sheikh Hasina the story. She was amused.

sheikh-hasina_homecoming-enAs the Prime Minister steps into her seventieth year — she is one of those people you can safely describe as Midnight’s Children, having been born slightly over a month after the cataclysm of Partition in 1947 — I reflect on the sheer grit and determination with which she has pursued politics as a career. One of the happiest moments for this nation was the day Sheikh Hasina took over as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister in June 1996. It was in the evening when, having been sworn in at Bangabhaban, she arrived at 32 Dhanmondi with her husband, the decent, self-effacing Dr. Wazed Miah. It was a moment poignant with huge pain and great joy. The pain was in remembering that on the stairs of that residence the Father of the Nation had lain, done to death by dark conspiracy. The joy was in experiencing Bangabandhu’s daughter finally making it to power. She was a power woman who had proved her mettle as a politician. With so many others, I watched the nation’s new leader. I remember that as she stepped out of the car, I told her, in English, ‘Welcome home, Prime Minister’. For the very first time in all the years I had interacted with her, I thought it inappropriate to address her as Apa.

sheikh-hasina-a-survivorYes, it is her courage, her steadfastness of purpose, her resilience which have made Sheikh Hasina the formidable politician she is today. Of course, there are the frailties, the indiscretions, the faux pas that emanate from her as they do from other politicians around the world. But for Bangladesh’s people, her leadership has been a historical necessity. Until she came along, no one really believed that Bangabandhu’s assassins could be brought to justice. Until she arrived, no one could imagine that the perpetrators of war crimes in 1971 could have their comeuppance. Until she took charge of her party, few thought that the long era of military and quasi-military rule would see its twilight. She has succeeded in achieving all three of these goals — and more.

sheikh-hasina-protectorSheikh Hasina has always come across as a warm human being, a trait she has certainly inherited from her family. Even those who have not always agreed with her politics have remarked on the good cheer she exudes, on the sense of humour she exhibits in her moments away from the limelight. Abroad, she has interacted with statesmen with dignity becoming the elected leader of a nation. In the years I served as media spokesperson at our diplomatic mission in London, I had occasion to observe the gravitas she brought into her deliberations with other heads of government. I observed her in Edinburgh in 1997 as she engaged in good banter with Tony Blair; she engaged purposefully with Mahathir Mohammad and Inder Kumar Gujral; she went into friendly conversation with Nawaz Sharif despite the sensitivities of the past.

A couple of years ago, a telephone call from Ganobhaban for me made it known that the Prime Minister wished to see me. When I turned up in the evening, I realized that she had been kept in the dark about me. She had been looking for me but had been told I spent much of the year abroad and a very limited time at home. When I informed her it was absolutely the other way round, she appeared surprised. But why had she been wanting to see me? Her answer was touching, for it demonstrated her confidence in me. She had wanted me to render into English Bangabandhu’s posthumous memoirs, Oshomapto Atyojiboni. By then, the translated edition had already made its appearance.

hasina-10th-among-fortune-worlds-50-greatest-leaders-dhaka-tribuneOn the last day of August this year, it was my privilege to share the stage with her at a discussion on Bangabandhu and Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib. As I walked past her toward the microphones, she said softly, ‘Take as much time as you want. My speech will be brief.’ I ended up speaking for nearly an hour.

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

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HASINA IS GREAT LEADER: BULGARIAN PRESIDENT

HASINA IS GREAT LEADER: BULGARIAN PRESIDENT

hasina-is-great-leader-bulgarian-president

News Desk | newsbangladesh.com

Mentioning that a meaningful cooperation is possible with Bangladesh in many sectors, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has said both his country and Bangladesh could jointly explore prospects in the fields of education, IT and other sectors.

“We could jointly explore cooperation in the fields of education, IT and other sectors,” Plevneliev told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when she met him at the Bulgarian presidency building on Wednesday afternoon.

He also described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the great leader of the people of the world at large.

Earlier, the Bulgarian President and the Prime Minister also had an exclusive meeting.

mm_1463592372Briefing reporters after the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the Bulgarian president going beyond the standard protocol received the Prime Minister on the corridor of the Presidency building.

The Bulgarian President was assisted by two of his advisers on foreign policy and Bulgarian non-resident ambassador to Bangladesh during the meeting.

Praising Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Plevneliev appreciated the rapid economic development of Bangladesh over the last few years. “Many nations could learn from Bangladesh,” he was quoted as saying.

Mentioning that a meaningful cooperation is possible between Bulgaria and Bangladesh in many sectors, the President said Bulgaria is also doing well in the context of Europe.

mm_1463592392Responding to the Prime Minister’s call for recruiting skilled manpower from Bangladesh, the President said that they usually provide ‘blue card’ for the seasonal migrant workers for a shorter period in their country without elaborating further on the issue.

Expressing her gratitude for the support that Bulgaria had provided during the War of Liberation in 1971, the Prime Minister said, “Bulgaria has a special place in our hearts.”

She recalled that Bulgaria was the fourth country in the world and the 2nd in Europe to recognise Bangladesh after its Liberation War in 1971.

Hasina also recalled that the government of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had put such level of importance towards developing relations with Bulgaria and other countries of East Europe.

bangladesh-bulgariaBut after the assassination of Father of the Nation with most of his family members in 1975, this momentum was lost, she said.

Hasina also emphasised that Bangladesh from now on could forge cooperation with Bulgaria in sectors like agriculture, ICT and tourism. Bangladesh also wants to share its experience with Bulgaria in various socio-economic fields, she added.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki and Bangladesh Ambassador to Bulgaria M Allama Siddiki were, among others, present.

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JULY 30, 2016

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BANGLADESH CHAMPION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: AUSTRALIA

BANGLADESH CHAMPION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: AUSTRALIA

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NIRAPAD NEWS

“You are the champion of economic development and women empowerment,” the Australian high commissioner said this when she paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office this morning. After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Ms Niblett also highly praised Bangladesh’s economic growth under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and said Australia is looking forward to further strengthening bilateral cooperation with Bangladesh in different sectors.

“We want to further consolidate our cooperation with Bangladesh in different sectors, particularly energy and education,” she said.

The Australian high commissioner hailed the performance of Bangladesh cricket team and said a memorandum of understanding on sports sector cooperation between the two countries is expected to be signed soon.

Mentioning again terrorism as a global problem, the prime minister said her government has been creating mass awareness against terrorism and militancy.

“We are creating mass awareness against terrorism and militancy by involving the people of all strata including religious leaders and teachers … we are getting tremendous response from the people to this end,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said that she had already arranged video conference with the cross section people of the 64 districts of the country to mobilize public opinion against terrorism and militancy.

The premier expressed Bangladesh’s interest in greater collaboration with Australia in the fields of trade, investment, education, sports and culture.

“We like to see greater collaboration with Australia in matters related to trade, investment, education, sports and culture”.

Elaborating various steps of her government for the development of the womenfolk, the premier said no country could achieve its desired progress leaving out the women, the half of the total population, from the development process.

Sheikh Hasina said success of women is everywhere in Bangladesh and they are now at an equal level along with their male partners in education, games and sports and creative works.

“The girls are doing better in the field of education in comparison with boys,” she said. She said 30 percent seats in the local government bodies like Union, Upazila, Municipality and City Corporations have been kept reserved for the women.

In this regard, she mentioned that the country’s women are now in very high position in all sectors like administration, judiciary, education, administration, as well as in the armed forces and in law-enforcement agencies.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the excellent bilateral ties established date back to 1972 and Australia is the first OECD (organization for economic cooperation and development) country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent state.

She also recalled the invaluable contribution of the Australian government and the people to Bangladesh’s war of liberation in 1971.

PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum was present at the meeting, among others.

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AUGUST 31, 2016

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BANGLADESH: SETTING A GLOBAL STANDARD IN ENDING POVERT

BANGLADESH: SETTING A GLOBAL STANDARD IN ENDING POVERTY

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There is a lot for Bangladesh to celebrate in the latest World Bank research on global poverty and inequality.

The new report, entitled “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality”, uses revised data to give a more accurate estimate of how many poor people live in Bangladesh. What the report shows is that 18.5 percent of the population was poor in 2010 compared with 44.2 percent in 1991.

This is a major achievement that will receive global recognition on October 17 when the World Bank Group marksEnd Poverty Day with the Bangladesh people at an event in Dhaka.

This achievement means that 20.5 million Bangladeshis escaped from poverty between 1991 and 2010. It means that Bangladesh beat the deadline by an impressive five years in achieving Millennium Development Goal number 1, an internationally recognized target to cut extreme poverty rates by half by 2015.

prosperbangladesh_greenIt is worth remembering how far Bangladesh has come.

U.S presidential security adviser Henry Kissinger dubbed the country a “basket case” at its birth in 1971. Bangladesh emerged from the ashes of a gory War of Independence as the world’s second poorest nation. Its population and economy were ravaged and its productive assets — which once provided the bulk of undivided Pakistan’s exports — were in shambles. Even as well-meaning experts sounded warnings that the fragile state would collapse, Bangladesh increasingly silenced the sceptics by proving resilient against the devastating 1974 famine and a series of crippling cyclones. From 2000 onwards, the economy has been growing consistently at 6 percent a year on average. Development officials from other nations now visit Bangladesh to decipher the secrets of its success.

Bangladesh has tackled its challenges in remarkable ways. It has overcome meagre resources to make the most of its strong cultural and intellectual tradition and a national will to build a prosperous nation following Independence.

Bangladesh gave the world a revolutionary new micro-financing model to monetize the productivity of the poor and showed that a predominantly Muslim country could unleash the potential of its women, making them a significant partner in progress. Its Female Stipends program, widely acclaimed as a model for achieving gender parity of enrolment, has been replicated successfully in several countries. Its vibrant garment sector is giving a whole generation of women jobs that open new opportunities.

Today, Bangladesh is a lower middle-income country with a bright future as a member of the “Next 11”, according to U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, which had earlier identified the “BRICS”. The image of Bangladesh as a country with endemic poverty could soon change as Bangladesh finds new pathways to sustainable and equitable growth and aims to achieve middle-income country status by its 50th birthday in 2021.

The sceptics will say that poverty, regardless of the latest World Bank estimates, is a reality in the lives of too many Bangladeshis. They are right.  Bangladesh still had 28 million poor in 2010, the latest year for which a household survey is available for the country. Based on the new estimate, Bangladesh is the 64th poorest out of the 154 countries included in the World Bank’s global poverty database. Much more therefore still needs to be done to end poverty in Bangladesh and to increase the prosperity of the bottom 40 percent of the population. These are the goals that the World Bank Group is pursuing with the Government of Bangladesh.

1-a-education_facebook4-2As the government has rightly identified, Bangladesh will do well by addressing infrastructure, energy and regulatory bottlenecks to increase productivity, make exports more competitive and attract more domestic as well as foreign investment.

The country can build on its success in human development and improve the quality of education, vocational training, as well as child nutrition and health services. The country can do more to strengthen institutions, including improving governance and strengthening anti-corruption measures.  It can improve the policy environment for businesses, manage rapid urbanization and adapt to climate change impacts.

imagesThe World Bank Group will work with the people of Bangladesh to overcome these challenges every step of the way. The World Bank has invested more than $24.3 billion in support since 1972 to advance Bangladesh’s development priorities. Bangladesh is currently the biggest recipient of credits from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

There is much to be done to complete Bangladesh’s development journey and to give all its citizens the opportunities they deserve. But as the World Bank’s new report shows, Bangladesh is an inspiring example to the world on how to overcome poverty. Now is the time to build on these successes and end poverty in Bangladesh in our lifetime.

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SUBMITTED BY QIMIAO FAN
OCTOBER 05, 2016

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IMPERIALISM – A DEMOCRATIC AFFAIR

IMPERIALISM – A DEMOCRATIC AFFAIR

BANGLADESH - Audacity of Hope

IMPERIALISM – A DEMOCRATIC AFFAIR

39_siEHSAN ABDULLAH

It has been sixty one years since the end of the Great second world war, after atomic bombs decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sixty million lost there life in that wretched war, and nations vowed never to indulge in a global conflict in that scale again. One solution architects drew was the formation of The United Nations, a common ground inclusive of all the nations of the world, to address disputes, negotiate and mitigate disputed issues to avert conflicts in the future.

beware-of-america-1366x768Has United Nations performed according to its founding principle, as it stands today, United Nation looks more and more like the cover for the old Imperial Powers, the same colonial powers which brought much misery to Africa, Asia and the rest of the world, the same powers responsible for the two destructive wars in the late century, to dominate the globe once…

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BANGLADESH ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE POWER SECURITY, THANKS TO SHEIKH HASINA

BANGLADESH ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE POWER SECURITY, THANKS TO SHEIKH HASINA

power_generationFARID HOSSAIN

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengali of all times, had not only created the independent and sovereign Bangladesh. He had left his golden touch in everything during the post-independence rebuilding of the nation even though he got only three and half years before he was assassinated by a handful of conspiratorial and power-greedy army officers. The man who had successfully led the country’s nine-month independence war against Pakistan having survived nine-month solitary life in a darkened prison in Pakistan’s Layalpur awaiting death was killed, along with most members of his family, by some men who unfortunately were born in Bangladesh. Bangabandhu is no longer with us but his legacy remains to inspire us to build a strong nation the way he dreamed and wanted to build it: Sonar Bangla.

sources_bp_2010_consumption_mtoe_bd_mzm_none__Soon after independence (even before it) Bangabandhu realized that energy was one of the fields that should receive top priority. He made his decisions and took steps accordingly. In 1974 a landmark law, Petroleum Act, was passed by the parliament giving to the people the ownership of the country’s all natural resources. Then in another historic move Bangabandhu bought the ownership of Shell oil company under an agreement that allowed payments in nine installments on August 9 in 1975. It had been a red letter day indeed in the country’s energy sector. The moves also had demonstrated how a great visionary leader Bangabandhu was. Whatever Bangladesh has achieved in the country’s vital power and energy sectors over the years since independence was because of Bangabandhu and his historic steps. The flag of success is now being carried forward by Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina who has established herself as the most successful prime minister and administrator Bangladesh has ever seen.

Since 2010, a year into Sheikh Hasina’s second term as the prime minister, Aug. 9 is observed as the National Energy Security Day. The observance focuses on the importance of power and energy in taking the country’s economy ahead. More importantly, it is also a decent way of paying our tributes to a great leader who had laid the foundation of Bangladesh’s rebirth from the war-caused ravages.

Bangladesh, as we have already said, formulated the energy policy with priority focused on exploration the country’s own primary fuel resources. During those difficult days natural gas had little role and contribution in the energy sector. But Bangabandhu had the vision that there would come a day when the engine of the economy would be fueled by energy. What was started by the father of the nation is now being carried forward by Sheikh Hasina, his daughter.

target-of-power-generationUntil 1990, the energy sector in Bangladesh was almost entirely owned and controlled by the government. The private sector made a real dash into the energy sector during the first term of Hasina’s government, 1996-2001. That was the period when international oil giants came to Bangladesh in droves to prospect for natural gas and exploit the resources under agreements fair to Bangladesh. Production sharing agreements were signed favouring Bangladesh as Sheikh Hasina insisted on getting a fair deal for the country. The production of natural gas saw a big raise as a result.

sylhet-90-mw-2-customashuganj-power-station-company-ltd52-50-mw-power-plant-project-at-munshiganj sirajganj-225-mw-combined-cycle-dual-fuel-1st-unit-power-plantlearn-more bibiyana-ii-power-plant khulna-225mw-combined-cycle-power-plant rampalThen the spectacular success in the production of electricity came during the governance of Sheikh Hasina, now in her third term as the prime minister. The country has now achieved a capacity of producing more than 13,000 MW of electricity, a huge jump from barely 3,000 MW she inherited from the BNP government of Khaleds Zia. Along with the increased capacity Bangladesh has been making records in the daily generation of electricity that has seen a great reduction in the instances of load shedding even during the peak of summer.

lng-terminalrooppur-ws-en1matarbari_coal_powerThis has been possible as Hasina’s government let the power sector open to the private encouraging investors to put money in this gold mine. The policy has worked well and thanks to Hasina’s farsightedness, a leadership virtue she has inherited from her illustrious father, Bangladesh is well on track of transforming from a power-starved nation to power-secured country.

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SEPTEMBER 2016

ENERGY AND POWER

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THE WORLD’S FIERCEST FEMALE LEADERS

THE WORLD’S FIERCEST FEMALE LEADERS

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Fortune has released its annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. This year, the list is record-breaking and stands out for a very special reason- nearly 50% of the spots (23 in total!) were awarded to women! That’s a big jump from last year’s ranking, which included only 15 women. This year, the list celebrates women in government, business, activism, non-profit, and even the military.  Read about these 23 exceptional women after the jump!


#49 Clare Rewcastle Brown, Editor and Founder of the Sarawak

49clarerewcastlebrownThrough her website Sarawak Report, London-based journalist Brown has become an irritant in the corridors of power in Malaysia. Her exposés on state investment fund 1MDB—publicizing the alleged siphoning of $700 million into the pockets of Prime Minister Najib Razak—have made her a hero and a villain in the country, depending on whom you ask. The government has tried to arrest her for “activities detrimental to Parliamentary democracy” and has banned her website, a move that prompted advocacy group Reporters Without Borders to unblock access and help get her revelations out.

#45 Mina Guli, CEO of Thirst

45minaguliWhile some climate-related threats can seem abstract, water scarcity is visceral and immediate, palpable in the crunch of drought-ravaged crops or the sting of a parched throat. Guli, an Australian corporate-lawyer-turned-activist, started Thirst to educate consumers about water conservation, but this year the 45-year-old upped the ante, running 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents—in just seven weeks—while collecting conservation pledges online. On March 22, World Water Day, she completed her 1,048-mile journey. “Never seen a better example yet of #gobigorgohome,” tweeted a fan in Hong Kong.

#41 Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Co-Chair and CEO of the Gates Foundation

41gateshellmanFor the past 15 years, the Gates Foundation has leveraged its $44.3 billion endowment to attempt to eradicate diseases like malaria in the developing world. Under new CEO Desmond-­Hellmann, a former Genentech product chief, the foundation could become an even bigger player in global health. Last year the foundation financed a prototype of a plant that converts human feces into drinkable water; meanwhile, a $1.5 billion commitment to vaccination organization Gavi will ensure that an additional 300 million children will be vaccinated by 2020.

No. 39: Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria

39aminamohammedAs special adviser on post-2015 development planning to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mohammed had to rally 193 countries to endorse the same objectives for the next 15 years. Acting as the point person for the Sustainable Development Goals, she helped bridge the divide between developing countries and First World nations, and by September all member states signed on to 17 goals related to wiping out poverty and tackling climate change. Now Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Mohammed is trying to make renewables a bigger factor in the oil-producing country’s energy strategy.

No. 38: Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island

38ginaraimondoAmerica’s smallest state just tackled one of the country’s biggest fiscal problems. Countless state and local governments struggle with under­financed pension plans, and Rhode Island’s was one of the worst before 2014. That’s when Gina Raimondo, then state treasurer, engineered an overhaul that slashed cost-of-living increases and pointed the system toward solvency. Public-sector unions fulminated and sued, but voters rewarded Raimondo by electing her governor. In 2015 she negotiated legal settlements that preserved her pension reforms, inspiring hope in cash-strapped statehouses everywhere.

No. 36: Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF

36christinelagardeThe former French Finance Minister fought to keep the eurozone together in her first term as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, an accomplishment that helped her earn (unopposed) another five-year term. She faces comparable challenges today, among them avoiding a debt crisis in emerging markets, keeping China committed to the path of market reforms, and persuading Congress to honor the reforms the U.S. agreed to in the wake of the 2008 crisis. That may still leave her some time for another cause she favors: boosting female workforce participation in the developing world

No. 34: Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, U.S. Army Rangers

34griesthaverWhen Griest, a platoon leader, and ­Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, enrolled in the Army’s notoriously grueling Ranger School, they were simply soldiers. When they graduated in ­August—the first women ever to do so—they were icons. What got them through the brutal regimen of runs, marches, and other mental and physical trials? “I was thinking really of future generations of women—that I would like them to have the opportunity,” said Griest. Their accomplishment, astounding in its own right, transformed the debate about women in warfare, proving that women can perform on the battlefield as ably as men. And that undoubtedly buttressed the Pentagon’s December decision to open all combat positions to women—without exceptions.

No. 33: Rosie Batty, Founder of the Luke Batty Foundation

33rosiebattyOn Feb. 12, 2014, 11-year-old Luke Batty was killed with a cricket bat by his own father, who was then shot and killed by police. The next day, Luke’s mother, Rosie, stood in front of television cameras and calmly said, “Family violence happens to everybody.” Thus began a nationwide road trip that has seen Batty selflessly put domestic violence on the Australian agenda in a country where one in five women has experienced sexual violence after age 15. “She moved forward the issue by a decade or more,” says Jeremy Lasek, whose government organization named Batty the Australian of the Year for 2015.

No. 28: Chai Jing, Freelance journalist in China

28chaijingSmog is a daily phenomenon in every major Chinese city. But until former CCTV reporter Chai Jing released the powerful documentary Under the Dome last year on the causes of gray skies—failed government policies, feckless regulators, corruption—and their effects, including skyrocketing cancer rates, shorter life-spans, and childhood illnesses, China’s middle class had mostly taken it with a shrug. Chai’s 104-minute documentary drew 200 million views online in a week before government censors took it down. It created a groundswell of concern and anger that continues today.

No. 27: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, Co-Founders of Black Lives Matter

27garzacullorstometiModern social movements often fizzle after their moment in the national news (Occupy Wall Street comes to mind), but Black Lives Matter has steadily gained momentum since its founding in 2013. The Black Lives Matter network has grown to 28 local chapters, all fighting injustices like police brutality and racial profiling. Last year the movement inspired college students to take up the mantle with some successes (the system president and chancellor of the University of Missouri resigned over outcry that they had failed to address campus racism) and pushed presidential candidates to address the country’s systemic racial problems— an issue would-be nominees would have preferred to sidestep.

No. 25: Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress nominee

25carlahaydenIn February, President Obama nominated Hayden to lead the ­Library of Congress. If confirmed, she will be the first woman and the first African American to do so—and fresh leadership for a 216-year-old institution in sore need of a technological upgrade. Hayden knows plenty about sustaining a library as a relevant and inclusive institution. In Baltimore, where she has run the Enoch Pratt Free Library system for 23 years, she has modernized early and often. When violence erupted near one branch last April, Hayden kept it open—a safe, trusted space for community members.

No. 24: Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts USA

24annamariachavezWhen Chávez, the first person of color to head the scouts, took the helm in 2011, the 104-year-old institution seemed to be creeping toward anachronism. Not anymore. Chávez has added new badges in fields like financial literacy and STEM education. You can now buy Girl Scout cookies online. And Chávez has teamed with the likes of Sheryl Sandberg (on a campaign to encourage leadership among girls), First Lady Michelle Obama (who recorded a scouts recruitment video), and even Chris Rock, who collected more than $65,000 during the Oscars in donations and sales of Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

No. 20: Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

24984244072_5f2b2d0f08_oIn a TED talk in February, which has since accrued more than 800,000 views, Saujani stressed teaching girls to be brave rather than perfect. She’s well-qualified to preach that message: It took the former Wall Street attorney three tries to get into Yale Law School. Girls Who Code, which aims to get more women into computer science, is seeing plenty of early success: By the end of 2016, more than 40,000 girls will have gone through its training and internship programs. This summer, Girls Who Code will dole out $1 million in scholarships (classes are already free, but scholarships pay for transportation and other costs).

No. 17: Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina

17nikkihaley-copyWhile the most successful Republican pol builds a following by stirring resentment, Haley is proving that Trumpism isn’t the only way. South Carolina’s Indian-American governor was among the earliest in her party to call out the GOP presidential front-runner, warning against “the siren call of the angriest voices”—in a nationally televised State of the Union response, no less. Last summer, following the massacre of nine African Americans in a Charleston church, Haley engineered the removal of the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds, setting off a movement across the South to pack away the charged symbol.

No. 9: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

9ruth-bader-ginsbergTo say it is unlikely for a Supreme Court Justice to become a cultural icon is an understatement. But that’s exactly what has happened to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thanks to a 2015 book that in turn expanded on a law student’s fan site on ­Tumblr, she is now known on the Internet, on T-shirts, and to young women everywhere as “Notorious RBG.” Deservedly praised for her intellect, skill, resilience, and strong voice on everything from voting to women’s rights…she serves as an example for us all in her ability to connect in the service of a mission more significant than one’s self-interest.

No. 10: Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

10sheikhhasana

As the only female leader among the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, ­Hasina has deftly navigated the competing demands of Islamic tradition and women’s rights. She has committed Bangladesh, the nation with the world’s fourth-largest Muslim population, to securing legal protections for women and helping them attain more education, financial freedom, and political power. About 30% of adult women in Bangladesh now have at least a secondary ­education—and the ­nation scores better on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index than any other South Asian country.

No. 7: Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

7christinafigueresFigueres became the United Nations climate-change chief in 2010, tasked with nothing less than halting the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming. For six years she worked to convince governments that a binding agreement on limiting carbon emissions and slowing fossil fuel-led growth was in the world’s best interest. Figueres’s efforts culminated in December at the Paris climate conference, where 195 countries signed a deal committing them to limit worldwide temperature increases to no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels, a critical if hard-to-attain benchmark.

No. 3: Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of the National League for Democracy

3aungsansuukyiSuu Kyi, the daughter of one of the founding heroes of the country’s post–World War II independence movement, returned to Myanmar from exile in 1988 to oppose the junta that had taken power in the early 1960s. She co-founded the National League for Democracy and steadfastly renounced violence, even as the military subjected her to house arrest for nearly 20 years. Her personal sacrifice gradually rallied global opinion around her cause, the more so after she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Worn down by isolation and sanctions, the regime eventually agreed to allow free elections, which the NPD won in a landslide last November.

No. 2: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

2angelamerkelAngela Merkel has dominated Europe’s politics for a decade now. She is the only Continental leader whose term in office predates the 2008 financial crisis, a winner of three general elections who has also seen off countless intra-party rivals. But last year, after a decade of hard-nosed and decidedly cautious pragmatism, she became a conviction politician: She put charity and compassion ahead of Realpolitik by welcoming more than 1 million hard-pressed migrants and refugees to Germany.

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JULY 2016

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Posted in - REVOLUTIONARY VOICES -, ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, BENGAL - Heritage, BENGAL - Heritage, Culture & Archeology, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CLASS BARRIERS, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, Culture & Archeology, CURRENT ISSUES, DEFENCE & SECURITY, ECONOMY, EDUCATION SYSTEM & POLICY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, Friends & Foes - World Reaction, G-8, GENDER EQUALITY, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, HISTORY OF BENGAL, IDENTITY & PATRIOTISM, INDUSTRIES, LAW & ORDER, LEADERS - IN ITS TRUE SENSE, Poverty, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SHEIKH HASINA, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STRATEGY & POLICY, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | 1 Comment

VISIONARY LEADER SHEIKH HASINA UPLIFTS BANGLADESH TO A NEW HEIGHT

VISIONARY LEADER SHEIKH HASINA UPLIFTS BANGLADESH TO A NEW HEIGHT

Address by Her Excellency, the Honorable Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of BangladeshSYED SHUKUR ALI

With sincere and relentless efforts of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is now enjoying a positive acceptance throughout the world, earning prestigious global awards as marks of recognition to the country’s gradual development in all key fields. As a visionary leader of one of the most populous nations, Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has uplifted the country’s image and made a significant contribution to the national economy and politics by way of her outstanding leadership.

sheikh-hasina-pm_global_thinker A very successful Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the third time, she has already achieved tremendous success in the overall development of the country. Under her dynamic leadership, power generation has risen up to 14,539 MW (Megawatt) and 76 percent of the total population has been brought under electricity coverage and the nation has witnessed the continued turnaround of recovering from the chronic energy crisis. After assuming power by the Awami League-led government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2009, the power generation capacity was only 4,942 MW and real electricity production was only 3,268 MW. hasina-10th-among-fortune-worlds-50-greatest-leaders-dhaka-tribuneThe common people across the country are proud enough to see a tremendous success of this government in the power sector as load shedding, a perennial problem before 2009, is no more in both urban and rural areas. The government has set a target to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021 and 40,000 MW by 2030 to cover the whole country with electricity. The villages normally die soon after the dusk into the darkness of the night, but the scene has now changed as most of the households remain alive at night in rural Bangladesh.  

sheikh-hasina-fortune-greatest-leadersmaxresdefaultOn the overall economic front, the Awami League government has scored the GDP (gross domestic product) rate at 7.2 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year only because of the good governance in the country. The current year’s GDP has been fixed at 7.5 percent with the confidence that it will grow in the same pace steadily in the years to come. Meanwhile, the per capita income has already reached USD1466 and the foreign currency reserves exceeded USD 30 billion in June 2016 to lead Bangladesh to be a middle-income country very soon.

 The government under the bold and visionary leadership by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been progressing towards materializing the vision-2021 along with turning the country into a Digital Bangladesh. Only recently, Bangladesh achieved the status of lower middle income country.

sheikh-hasina-mdg Sheikh Hasina, who has already been adjudged as a global icon, earned much appreciation and laurels from the world leaders in different international forums, as they have seen in her leadership the rare quality of freeing the “once basket case” Bangladesh from poverty and hunger to turn it into “Sonar Bangla” (Golden country) as dreamt of by Father of the Nation. What was beyond the imagination of the people in Dhaka city is now a reality only because of Sheikh Hasina’s government. She is now introducing metro rail and bus rapid transit, two dream projects, besides constructing so many eye-catching flyovers to rid the city dwellers from the decades long traffic snarl.

sheikh-hasina-has-received-the-uns-highest-environmental-honour-the-champions-of-the-earth-award Sheikh Hasina with her visionary leadership is constructing the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the biggest infrastructure in the country’s history, at own finance setting a rare example in the process of development. The government is also constructing Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 (MRT-6) and Elevated Expressway. As the envious and jealous lobbies are up against her pro-people performance, they have unleashed terror attacks on certain spots and soon she has adopted “zero tolerance” policy against all forms of terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism. 

Sheikh Hasina has the command over a country with the world’s eighth largest population-162 million– and she has wielded this power since 2009. Bangladesh is now self sufficient in food production due to adoption of modern technology in the agriculture sector particularly during the regime of the present government. The government is working relentlessly to build a hunger and poverty free as well as technologically advanced modern and prosperous Bangladesh.

hasina-receives-ict-sustainable-development-awardWith following her instruction, the government proposed expansion of the number of beneficiaries of old age allowances saying from the current fiscal-2016-2017 around 31.50 lakh elderly people would come under the safety net programme.
 The National Service Programme would be provided with temporary jobs 7.20 lakhs unemployed educated youths so far, both male and female for two years by imparting training in different trades. 

The ICT sector is the next big thing for Bangladesh as the government established one-stop service outlets operating at all 4,547 Union Parishads (UP, lowest tier of local government) of the country.

HASINA AWARD Through use of ICT, UNION DIGITAL CENTER is able to bring various types of information related to government, livelihood and private services to the doorstep of citizens in rural areas.

 Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT adviser to the prime minister, is hopeful that Bangladesh will become a major player in the sector in a few years from now and the country would be a “Digital Bangladesh’.

HASINA AWARD 2 Under the bold and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina the government has undertaken project to construct Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport (BSMIA) on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis.

 According to the business magazine “Fortune”, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been listed as one the greatest leaders of the world. Hasina has ranked 10th among 50 leaders who “are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same,” the internationally acclaimed magazine said.

Hasina-receives-a-UN-award The daughter of democracy, Sheikh Hasina has been ranked 36th among the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2016 by influential business magazine Forbes. Hasina jumped 23 spots from last year’s 59th. She came 47th in 2014. German Chancellor Angela Merkel retained the top spot, the sixth time in a row, in the list with former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as the second powerful woman.

 Sheikh Hasina’s government revised and updated laws and regulations to cope with the unique challenges of this global evil. Bangladesh is also focusing on sustainable development, education, social mobilization and various de-radicalizations programmes to prevent and counter violent extremism.

 Sheikh+Hasina+World+Leaders+Speak+UN+Climate+03JSm19BsTvlAccording to global information, Goldman Sachs listed Bangladesh among the “Next Eleven” the most promising economies of the 21st century. The poverty rate has been reducing to below 22.4 percent from 56.7 percent. One of the fastest poverty reduction rates in the world.

 In 2015, she is among the 13 top global thinkers in the “Decision Makers” category of a Washington-based prestigious magazine for her outstanding contribution to the nation. Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Ruling Awami League, has been ranked 47th in Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2014. She remained as a centre of attention for her relentless campaign for promoting girl’s right to education. Adoption of a series of visionary policies in this regard resulted in outpouring global support for the premier.

140827-PINTU-HASINA-CAMERON-BDAs Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated “Leadership and Vision” in both making climate change an issue of national priority and advocating for an ambitious global response.

 On 14 September 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change. She received the award at the UN Head Quarters in New York on 27 September, day before her 69th birthday. Sheikh Hasina returned Bangladesh on May 17, 1981 after a long exile and reorganized the Awami League. She established her party with her strong personality and started from root level across the country after assassinated Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.

hasina_000 In the acknowledgment of various educational milestones achieved by Bangladesh in recent years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held a ceremony in Bangladesh, outside of Paris for the first time. On the occasion, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova handed over the award to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2014 International Literacy Prizes to the awardees in Dhaka on September 8, marking the International Literacy Day.

Sheikh Hasina receives the 'Global Diversity' award She received the “South-South Cooperation Visionary Award” upon her extraordinary role in advancing Bangladesh towards digital system and the expansion of education through revolutionary concepts. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the progress achieved by Bangladesh in the fields of economy and women development. Expressing his government faith in the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government.

 A US-based IRI (International Republican Institute) revealed a survey report saying, “The Ruling Awami League government gained support among a majority of Bangladeshi respondents”. “The (IRI) poll results also indicated positive public feelings about Bangladesh’s current economic position and optimism about both the respondents’ and the country’s economic futures,” the US research group said.

 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received Rotary Peace Prize from Rotary International at Platinum Jubilee of Rotary international DistrictA British newspaper, which also extensively interviewed Sheikh Hasina for its reports, outlined Bangladesh success under her premiership saying “she is credited internationally with helping Bangladesh achieve key UN anti-poverty and development goals and appears to enjoy a high level of domestic support”. The Guardian described Sheikh Hasina as “Bangladesh’s formidable, long-serving head of government” while in her interview with its journalists Simon Tissdal and Anna Ridout she said “My job is to assist the common people. I do politics for the people, not for me”. sk_hasina_v02_2105_enAccording to the present government’s tremendous success Bangladesh would be a middle-income country by 2021 and it would be a developed country in 2041. All the democratic institutions are working and people are satisfied with the government’s development and other wellbeing activities. Bangladesh is ideally placed to maintain and improve economic growth and achieve middle-income country status by 2021, the United World’s Bangladesh Report, 2015 said in a publication.

 HASINA QUEENThe publication focused on the country’s geostrategic importance, historical achievement in the fields of economy and human development, and highlighted especially on the significant success of the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in fostering economic growth, strengthening regional and international relations and empowering women with creating more jobs.

 JAPAN-BANGLADESH-DIPLOMACYIt said Bangladesh maintained a constant 6-plus percent GDP growth in the past 10 years amidst an enviable situation in a time of global uncertainty. It attributed the economic progress to the government’s strategy of focusing on structural reforms, increased revenue and regional competitiveness, which also led the country to ‘Next 11’ status.

 hasina Ban-Ki+Moon+(3)Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh won a long-standing sea claim battle with India. On July 7, 2014, a Netherland-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) awarded Bangladesh 19,467square kilometres out of 25,602 sq km disputed area in the Bay of Bengal. It was Sheikh Hasina’s government that placed the issue to the international court in 2009.

 As a result, Bangladesh now owns 1,18,813 sq km territorial sea along with the ownership of all the 10 blocks India had claimed before. An exclusive economic zone extending to 200 nautical miles has also been owned by the country. Following this, Sheikh Hasina’s government successfully won significant marine territories from other neighbour country, Myanmar.

HASINA PUTIN Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made hectic efforts pushing her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to take sincere steps to resolve the longstanding unsettled matters including the two most important issues – Teesta water sharing treaty and the land boundary agreement. Later Indian Parliament passed the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).Some 37,369 residents of 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh became Bangladeshi citizens.

 Sheikh-Hasina-shakes-hands-with-Chinas-President-Xi-Jinping“The Government of Bangladesh has demonstrated political will and firm commitment to combat domestic and transnational terrorist groups, and its counter terrorism efforts made it harder for…terrorists to operate or establish safe havens in Bangladesh”, stated the US State Department in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2013.

hasina_modi_2 Special Envoy of New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Jim Bolger highly appreciated Bangladesh’s stunning successes in human development and millennium development goals (MDGs) under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad highly appreciated Bangladesh’s development in recent times in various areas, particularly in the field of infrastructure under Sheikh Hasina led government. Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma praised PM Sheikh Hasina for the rapid development in the health sector and women empowerment of Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina IN JAPAN The People of Bangladesh across the country poured out into the streets in the early hours of Sunday to celebrate the execution of two war criminals, BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, for their crimes committed against humanity in 1971.

Sheikh Hasina IN EMPERORS PALACE JAPAN The countrymen held their breath to hear the news of the execution of the death sentences of these two war criminals and hailed it as a milestone in the country’s history as both the war criminals sought presidential clemency confessing to their crimes committed during the War of Liberation. They brought out numerous processions expressing joy and happiness after getting the news of the hangings after a long wait of 44 years.

SHEIKJH HASINA AND MERKEL German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib are the other heads of state or government who have been named along with the Bangladesh Premier as leading global thinkers in this category this year. For her honest, patriotic, outstanding, dedicated and progressive performance as people’s leader and head of the government, people have designated Sheikh Hasina as Deshratna, jewel of the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with other heads of delegations at International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Deshratna Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947 at Tungipara in Gopalganj district. She was the eldest of five children of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa. In 1968, Hasina had tied nuptial knot with renowned nuclear scientist M Wazed Miah. Together they have one son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy and a daughter, Sayma Wazed Putul. Sheikh Hasina was in the then West Germany with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana on the fateful night of August 15, 1975 when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with the remaining members of his family was brutally assassinated. She was forced to live in exile in London and Delhi for the next six years.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

 Later on, she was elected the President of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981 in her absence and returned home on May 17 the same year. She was the first to raise voice against the autocratic regime of military ruler HM Ershad. Under her leadership, Awami League spearheaded the movement for democracy which brought about the fall of Ershad in 1990.

 This time, apart from the “Champion of the Earth” award, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister also received “ICT Sustainable Development Award” from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  While receiving the ICT award Prime Minister said, “It is a significant recognition as we are working to build a ‘Digital Bangladesh’. I deeply feel honoured to receive this award.” 01_Sheikh+Hasina_PM_Indonesia_220415_0003The Champions of the Earth award is the United Nations highest environmental honour recognizing visionary people and organisations all over the world that exemplify leadership and advocate action on sustainable development, climate change and a life of dignity for all.

 Past winners in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action include Sylvia Earle, Mario Molina, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Tommy Remengesau, Jr., Felipe Calderon, Tsakhia Elbergdoj, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev and Marina Silva.

 sheikh-hasina-protectorOn the same place of the UN, Sheikh Hasina received the MDG award in recognition of achieving the MDG goal-4.  At that time the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed the hope that Bangladesh would be able to achieve the rest of the goals in future under her prudent leadership.

 sheikh-hasina-a-survivorCommon people of the country have expressed their expectation that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should run Bangladesh further tenure to develop and reach the country in a prestigious position.

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The writer is a senior staff report
AUGUST 02, 2016

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BANGLADESH’S HIDDEN STORY: A BOOMING ECONOMY

BANGLADESH’S HIDDEN STORY: A BOOMING ECONOMY

640px-garden_city_building_sylhetSAJEEB WAZED

A significant piece of news emerged from Bangladesh recently that received little notice outside the country. Last year for the first time, foreign direct investment from other countries into Bangladesh surpassed $2 billion, a 44 percent increase from the year before.

In other words, investors increasingly see Bangladesh as a smart place to put their money. And they aren’t alone.

fastest-growing_economies_focuseconomics_2016According to a March poll by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, 83 percent of Bangladeshis surveyed said the security situation in Bangladesh is very good or somewhat good and 77 percent believe the country is politically stable. In addition, 72 percent are optimistic that their personal economic situation will improve.

Top sectors for direct investment last year in Bangladesh included the ready-made garment industry, of course. But investors also poured money into oil and gas, banking, telecommunication and power generation. One reason is, unlike many of its neighbors, Bangladesh has a liberal investment regime that allows 100 percent foreign investment in many sectors and an unrestricted exit policy.

Stacking Intermodal container in Port of Chittagong

Stacking Intermodal container in Port of Chittagong

In recent years, Bangladesh’s economy has grown at a consistent, blistering rate of more than 6 percent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the past nine months, that pace accelerated to 7 percent. Today, the Bangladeshi economy stands at about $180 billion. According to the World Bank, that will rise to $322 billion by 2021, creating many more scalable investment opportunities.

Growth is driven by the already-well-known ready-made garment industry. But it’s a more dynamic industry than most people know. In fact, it’s a mistake to continue to think of Bangladesh as t-shirt maker to the world. Bangladesh garment manufacturers produce high-end clothing that sells in Europe’s best boutiques.

textileThe garment industry has fostered more than pure economic gains. Demography has also been a winner. Garment factories have become the great gender leveler in society.  Most employees and managers are women, which has led to their economic empowerment and rise in stature in society.

At the same time, the Bangladesh garment industry is developing an international reputation for being smart and nimble. “Bangladesh offers ease of doing business, importing-exporting is faster. R&D on new styles is faster as you can import fabrics in three days. In India, it would take 10 days,” Vijay Mathur, an official with the Indian Apparel Export Promotion Council, recently told the Business Standard.

As a result, Bangladesh garment exports are likely to hit $27 billion this year, up 10 percent from 2015.

womeninbangladesh_petercantonoxfamau_800x533-648x431The economic success story of Bangladesh has also improved the health of its citizens.

Twenty-five years ago the average Bangladeshi could hope to live only to age 56. Today, that figure is over 70, which is among the most notable improvements in modern history, according to the Asia Foundation. In fact, expected longevity in Bangladesh is more than four years longer than in neighboring India and Pakistan.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of poor in Bangladesh dropped 26 percent from 63 million to 47 million. Today, the overall rate of poverty in the country is 22 percent, down from 40 percent a decade ago.

Millennium Development Goal 5   UNDP in BangladeshThe World Bank reports that labor income has risen while birth rates have dropped, leading to lower dependency ratios and higher per capita income. The World Bank recently ranked Bangladesh as a lower middle-income nation for the first time.

1628129236_1deee556d2_zThe economic surge started after the Awami League, the nation’s ruling party, won in a 2008 landslide. The impressive growth has been nurtured and sustained by smart government programs, savvy foreign investment and the entrepreneurial spirit of Bangladeshis, especially its young people who are increasingly English speaking and digitally savvy.

The bottom line is that Bangladesh is a legitimate – if underreported – economic success story, and one that is only in its beginning.

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Sajeeb Wazed is the chief information technology adviser to the government of Bangladesh and the son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
MAY 02, 2016

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BANGLADESH’S GROWTH STORY IMPRESSIVE

BANGLADESH’S GROWTH STORY IMPRESSIVE

cskjinsuaaamy2cMD FAZLUR RAHMAN

In conversation with The Daily Star, Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters speaks on both local and global economies

The brutal militant attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery that killed 17 foreign citizens suddenly made Bangladesh a scary place to do business.

The July 1 attack had stoked doubts whether foreigners would keep visiting Bangladesh or working in the country.

Despite a feeling of unease in the air, top officials of foreign companies continued coming to Bangladesh, thanks to stern responses by the government following the attack — to tackle the rise of militancy.

One of those officials is Bill Winters, a star banker and group chief executive of Standard Chartered, who came to Bangladesh on Tuesday on a two-day visit delivering a positive signal to the local market.

“I am happy to see a serious response from the government. I know there is no easy fix to this. It is a global phenomenon,” Winters told The Daily Star in an interview.

“It is a concern in Bangladesh as it is in many of our other markets.”

“The human cost is enormous. Its economic cost is huge,” he said.

downloadWinters said he is sure there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the most calamitous effect on local or global economy.

Winters joined the London-based but Asia and Africa-focused bank in June last year as its new chief executive.

He said he is familiar with Bangladesh and impressed by the progress the country has made in the past several decades, especially in the past several years.

Standard Chartered Bangladesh has become a strong local bank, promoting trade, investment and exports and bringing in capital to the country, he said.

The American banker, who spent 26 years with JPMorgan in diverse leadership roles, said South Asia is a bit of an oasis as it is largely free from geopolitical tensions.

South Asian economies have remained strong partly due to good policies and the import of commodities whose prices are falling, he said.

Banner_economic_success“Our Bangladesh business remains very strong. No complaints… I know that our team is focused on ways to do better, and we are doing better on the back of the investments we are making.”

In South Asia, the bank’s position is strong in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal while there are challenges in India.

“But our programme remains the same: to invest in technology and people so that we can become a best-in-class service provider and gradually redeploy our capital to higher returning areas from lower returning areas.”

He said, like in India, the bank has repositioned itself quite well in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. He praised Africa, saying the continent offers a fabulous position for the bank.

He said Bangladesh Bank is very professional when it comes to supervision. “As an organisation, they are quite professional. I don’t think there is a supervision deficit in the country,” he said, adding that there is always room for improvement.

When asked about the health of state-run banks in Bangladesh, he said he has seen in a number of markets around the world that when “you have reasonably high level of government interference in a bank, accidents tend to happen.”

RMG-is-the-Basic-rote-of-economical-standardization-for-Bangladesh-economyHe said, during the financial crisis the US government’s interference came in the form of massive subsidies to the US housing market.

“As a result of the subsidies the housing market created the biggest bubble in the financial history, probably. It caused an extraordinary amount of pain everywhere in the world,” he said.

“I am a very strong advocate of governments staying out of markets because when they are getting into markets bad things tend to happen.”

After taking the helm of the British bank, Winters laid out an aggressive strategy to ensure that the bank is financially strong, raised enough capital from shareholders to dispel capital risks and began the process of cleaning up the balance sheet.

He said, in the last one year the bank made great progress and returned to profitability in the first half of 2016. “Our income is growing albeit slowly. Our expenses and risks are under control, and the investments are beginning to bear fruit. We have quite a bright future.

“We are concentrating on getting it right. We don’t have to look further than Bangladesh where we have a strong market with high customer satisfaction.”

He, however, said the bank takes risks and operates in markets that are risky themselves. “I expect to have some higher than normal level of non-performing loans for a bit longer. But it is under control.”

slow-economic-growthBut he said the bank has to be more efficient. Winters has set a target to slash expenses by $3 billion by 2018, and the bank is halfway done and most of that came from trimming the management ranks.

“The flip side of saving the $3 billion is that the bank is investing every penny of the savings back into its business. Half of the investment will go into technology to be the best-in-class digital bank.”

Winters said the bank is already the best in mobile banking and online banking. “We need to automate not just the frontline but also our entire process.”

Winters said the bank is investing in new capabilities and Bangladesh is already a recipient of significant amount of the new investments.

“We are hoping to add branches and corporate client base. We are making investment in technology here. We would like to ensure that we remain at the leading edge of digital banking in Bangladesh.”

Winters said the bank has very strong business in Bangladesh and high customer satisfaction in a growing population. “We are very happy to be part of that.”

Bangladesh is, in some ways, a role model for Standard Chartered, he said. “The country is a core market.”

export-import-growth1Ajay Kanwal, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered for Asean and South Asia region, who was also present during the interview, said it is fair to see that Bangladesh will be among the bank’s top ten markets. “It continues to be a strong investment destination for us.”

Apart from catering for local economy and businesses, the bank is successfully bringing in international businesses, capital and investors to Bangladesh. Half of the capital coming to Bangladesh is coming through Standard Chartered, according to Winters. “We are a big promoter of capital coming into the country and a big promoter of exports going out of the country.”

He said China plans to shift its excess manufacturing capacity and capital to other countries such as Bangladesh.

When the Chinese are looking to finance infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UAE, Nigeria or Kenya, the natural partner for them is Standard Chartered because it has a big operation in the world’s second-largest economy and also operates in the countries where China wants to invest in.

“We are a very natural arranger of those sorts of financing. That’s exactly what we are doing.”

Winters said as the remotest part of the population is getting access to digital economy through mobile phones, there is opportunity for the bank to bring in a much larger portion of the unbanked population under the banking operation.

He also thinks that it is not a big issue for Bangladesh that local firms are borrowing from external sources to benefit from low-cost funds.

Abrar A Anwar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, said the country’s total debt is 15 percent of its gross domestic product.

“It is very low. Sometimes we wonder whether it is detrimental to our own growth as we have been so conservative and don’t borrow to grow.”

Of the $8 billion that entered Bangladesh’s private sector as loans from international sources, $3.5 billion has been raised by Standard Chartered for power projects, aviation and export-oriented industries.

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SEPTEMBER 08, 2016

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THESE ARE THE ’10 EMERGING MARKETS OF THE FUTURE’

THESE ARE THE ’10 EMERGING MARKETS OF THE FUTURE’

151230104643-emerging-markets-custom-780x439CHLOE PFEIFFER

A new report from BMI Research has identified the “10 emerging markets of the future” — the countries that are set to become new drivers of economic growth over the next 10 years.

BMI estimates that these countries will cumulatively add $4.3 trillion to global GDP by 2025 — roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy.

In general, manufacturing and construction are the sectors that will drive the economies. BMI reports that new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and that these countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries. And construction growth is going to be widespread throughout all the countries — partly to facilitate increases in urban populations and partly to help develop the manufacturing sector.

On the other hand, extractive industries — like mining, oil, and gas — are going to play a far smaller role in driving growth than they have the past 15 years.

While it might provide bright spots for some countries, the report states, “the ubiquitous commodity-driven growth model that was derailed by the 2012-2015 collapse in commodity prices is not coming back.”

Here are the 10 new emerging markets and the sectors that drive their growth:

BANGLADESH

bangladesh-flagPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Garments, agricultural products

2015 GDP growth: 6.4%

Unemployment rate: 4.9%

Exchange rate: 77.42 Bangladeshi taka per US dollar

“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years.”

EGYPT

egypt-flag
Primary sector: Natural gas

Key exports: Oil, fruits and vegetables, cotton

2015 GDP growth: 4.2%

Unemployment rate: 12.8%

Exchange rate: 7.72 Egyptian pounds per dollar

“We expect continued investment across the housing sector in Egypt, given the almost 1 million additional urban residents per year that we forecast over the next 10 years. There will be some investment in Egypt’s large manufacturing export base in a continuation of recent investment in the autos and food sectors.”

ETHIOPIA

ethiopian-flagPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Coffee, oilseeds, vegetables, gold

2015 GDP growth: 10.2%

Unemployment rate: 16.8%

Exchange rate: 21.55 Ethiopian birr per dollar

“Construction to meet rapid urbanisation and ambitious state infrastructure targets will be the main driver of economic growth in Ethiopia … Ethiopia’s construction industry will record the highest growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, averaging real annual growth of 10.7% between 2016 and 2025.”

INDONESIA

indonesiaPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Mineral fuels, machinery parts

2015 GDP growth: 4.8%

Unemployment rate: 5.5%

Exchange rate: 13,577.6 Indonesian rupiah per dollar

“Growth in Indonesia will be far less commodities-centric than over the past decade, as the mining and oil and gas sectors will stagnate … The government remains committed to developing a manufacturing-based export economy by boosting infrastructure spending and streamlining bureaucracy.”

KENYA

kenya-flag-768x1366Primary sector: N/A

Key exports: Tea, horticultural products, coffee

2015 GDP growth: 5.6%

Unemployment rate: 40%

Exchange rate: 99.73 Kenyan shillings per dollar

“As Kenya imports almost all of its energy needs, lower average oil prices over the next decade compared to the previous decade will boost both Kenyan consumption and non-energy investment. Growth will be centered in … infrastructure (including renewable energy), financial services and retail trade.”

MYANMAR

myanmar_flag_0Primary sector: Mining

Key exports: Natural gas, wood products

2015 GDP growth: 7%

Unemployment rate: 5%

Exchange rate: 1,171.8 Burmese kyat per dollar

“Investment will continue to pour into a range of industries as Myanmar reaps the benefits of substantial political reform enacted since 2010. We believe that the trends of economic liberalisation and political democratisation will remain in place and keep the economy on track for strong growth over the coming years.”

NIGERIA

nigeriaPrimary sector: N/A

Key exports: Oil, cocoa

2015 GDP growth: 2.7%

Unemployment rate: 23.9%

Exchange rate: 196.9 Nigerian naira per dollar

“The significant growth that we forecast for Nigeria’s economy will be principally driven by the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. Financial services are a bright spot due to the relatively low penetration of financial services in the country. Retail sales will grow strongly, though mostly in the low value goods segment due to the fact that essentials spending remaining at around three quarters of total household income.”

PAKISTAN

pakistanPrimary sector: Agribusiness, oil

Key exports: Textiles, rice

2015 GDP growth: 4.2%

Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Exchange rate: 101.45 Pakistani rupees per dollar

“Pakistan will develop as manufacturing hub over the coming years, with the textile and automotive sectors posting the fastest growth at the beginning of our forecast period. Domestic manufacturing investment will be boosted by the windfall from lower energy prices compared to the last decade, and improved domestic energy supply.”

PHILIPPINES

philippinesPrimary sector: N/A

Key exports: Semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment

2015 GDP growth: 5.8%

Unemployment rate: 6.3%

Exchange rate: 45.503 Philippine pesos per dollar

“Key sectors will include autos and construction. Robust private consumption and a booming construction sector will translate into growing demand for both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles … Ongoing economic and business environment reforms, such as an anti-corruption drive, have made the Philippines more conducive for investment.”

VIETNAM

vietnam-1242275_960_720Key exports: Clothes, shoes, electronics

2015 GDP growth: 6.7%

Unemployment rate: 3%

Exchange rate: 21,928 Vietnamese dong per dollar

“We expect the manufacturing and construction sectors to outperform… thus helping to underpin growth in the broader industrial sector. These sectors will remain attractive to foreign investors, owing to relatively low labour costs [and] the government’s gradual relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions rules.”

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JULY 10, 2016

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BANGLADESH TOPS ‘EMERGING MARKETS OF THE FUTURE’

BANGLADESH TOPS ‘EMERGING MARKETS OF THE FUTURE

rtx17q7kSun Online Desk

Latest research by major global rating agency identified Bangladesh as the toppers among leading ’10 emerging markets of the future’ — the countries that are set to become new drivers of economic growth over the next 10 years .

On Thursday, Business Insider reports, according to recent by Fitch Ratings’ BMI Research firm, new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and other seven countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries.

BMI Research estimates that these countries will cumulatively add $4.3 trillion to global GDP by 2025 — roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy.

7-opyFitch Ratings Inc. is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies”, the other two being Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years.”

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JULY 07, 2016

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TOP EIGHT MOST PROMISING MARKETS OF 2016

TOP EIGHT MOST PROMISING MARKETS OF 2016

gdp-map_top_emerging_markets

Atradius picks the top 8 markets for business opportunities in 2016. These emerging markets have been showing strong performances over the past three years and are expected to improve further in 2016.

Economic conditions across emerging markets deteriorated sharply in 2015. The headwinds facing these markets are likely to continue into 2016. There are, however, some clear bright spots that are bucking the trend and showing strong performance. These are the markets with great opportunities for businesses.

Why are these markets doing so well?

Emerging markets in the spotlight

Supportive policies – In general these are all markets that have stable political conditions combined with decent macroeconomic policies. For example Peru has developed strong institutions and Colombia has recently become much safer making government policies more effective.

Commodity importers – Most of these markets benefit from the lower commodity prices, such as oil and metals, as they heavily rely on import. India, for instance, imports 75% of its oil and saved an estimated USD 2.5 billion in 2015 on fuel subsidies.

Growing middle class – These markets show strong internal dynamics with rising investment and a growing middle class. The total population in Kenya, for example, has grown by 50% over the past fifteen years, boosting the domestic economy.

Best performing sectors in these markets

Opportunities by sector

Chemicals and plastics

In India, with further growth in industrial activity and an improving performance outlook for key end-user segments, import demand for plastics and chemical goods is expected to remain strong.

Construction

In Peru, construction is a growth sector due to continued investment by the Peruvian Government. In Kenya and Tanzania dedicated construction businesses from abroad could benefit from infrastructure growth, including the building of new ports.

Retail, consumer durables and electronics

gdp-groth-2016The Asian markets of Bangladesh, India and Vietnam all provide business opportunities for exporters in the consumer durables and electronics segments, due to increasing disposable incomes, urbanisation and rising living standards. India’s retail market is expected to nearly double to USD 1 trillion by 2020 from USD 600 billion in 2015. In Vietnam there is a perceived preference for foreign brands, deemed to be of better quality and hygiene standards.

Colombia is expected to be the most attractive retail market in Latin America for foreign investors over the next five years, with private consumption forecast to remain a major driver of economic growth and as formalisation in the industry will increase (about 50% of total food retail still account for the informal retail sector).

At the same time ICT is one of the most promising growth sectors in Peru, as the penetration rate in this market is still low: only 30% of population have access to internet service. In Vietnam, the government supports the increase of household PC penetration in rural areas.

Machinery and capital goods

rmg-summit-2014A growing economy and increased infrastructure investments  provide export opportunities for machinery and capital goods businesses in India, Vietnam, Kenya and Tanzania. However, in the two latter markets price competition from Asian machinery businesses is high.

Pharmaceuticals and medical devices

Vietnam is expected to become a growth market for pharmaceuticals, as the government aims to improve the health system. Vietnam has a large, yet unmet need for healthcare and medical devices, and continued major investment is required.

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JANUARY 20, 2016

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BANGLADESH AMONG 10 COUNTRIES SET TO BECOME NEW DRIVERS OF GLOBAL GROWTH

BANGLADESH AMONG 10 COUNTRIES SET TO BECOME NEW DRIVERS OF GLOBAL GROWTH

Economic-Zones-Attracting-investment-for-growthKAYES SOHEL

Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years

Bangladesh has been named one of 10 emerging markets that are set become new drivers of global economic growth over the next 10 years.

BMI Research report says the economy is heading for impressive growth, lifted by the apparel and construction sectors.

fitchThe report released last month by the US-based research firm of the Fitch Group has identified Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan as “10 emerging markets of the future.”

The countries will add about $4.3tn to the global gross domestic product by 2025, providing significant opportunities for investors and roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy, the report said.

gdp-groth-2016“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years,” according to the report.

In general, manufacturing and construction are the sectors that will drive the economies.

BMI reports that new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and that these countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries.

And construction growth is going to be widespread throughout all the countries — partly to facilitate increases in urban populations and partly to help develop the manufacturing sector, it said.

bangladesh-inflation-cpiOn the other hand, extractive industries — like mining, oil, and gas — are going to play a far smaller role in driving growth than they have in the past 15 years.

While it might provide bright spots for some countries, the report stated: “The ubiquitous commodity-driven growth model that was derailed by the 2012-15 collapse in commodity prices is not coming back.”

Growth_Gaining_Pace“In order to shortlist the countries, we considered those with per capita income of about $3,500 and below, that enjoy strong enough economic and political institutions to enact reforms, are set to enjoy rapid economic growth, boast a potentially large domestic market and have an infrastructure deficit that will lead to productivity-enhancing investment,” it explained.

6316432-flag-of-bangladesh-national-country-symbol-illustration-finance-economy-dollarBMI said a large domestic market implies strong growth opportunities for consumer industries.

“Moreover, large populations will provide significant opportunities for infrastructure and construction as urbanization rates rise,” it said.

RMG-is-the-Basic-rote-of-economical-standardization-for-Bangladesh-economyStronger institutions are typically associated with better policymaking, the protection of property rights and reform, which help to underpin growth, it added.

The think tank said the countries that experience strong economic growth will provide strong investment opportunities and returns.

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JULY 14, 2016

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BANGABANDHU’S UNFULFILLED DREAM

BANGABANDHU’S UNFULFILLED DREAM

bangabandhu_return_after_9_months_of_detention_by_saidulislam-d71imxmSHABBIR AHMED

The students of history of South Asia know it too well that the partition of India into two nations did not bode well for us, the inhabitants of the then East Pakistan.Punjabi clique ruled our motherland for a long time and that includes the military and the communal forces of Pakistan. These Islam-based communal forces tried to suppress the secular political and cultural tradition of our ancestral homeland. To implement their sectarian Islamic Ummaism, the communal ruling class of Pakistan denied the right of the Bengalis to use their language in the state of Pakistan. Even the communal ruling class tried to ban and restrict the cultural activities of our people. Most of the non-communal political and intellectual forces of erstwhile East Pakistan were frustrated under the rule of the communal system of Pakistan.

At that time, Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman organized the secular and non-communal intellectuals and other social forces of our motherland to stand against the military and their allied fundamentalist “Muslim Leaguers” of Pakistan. He received a full support (except a few pro-Pakistani collaborators) for the political and cultural freedom of the Bengalis. He continued his relentless struggle and suffered for a long time in the jails of Pakistan.

Father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur RahmanIt was possible for a towering and charismatic leader like Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to unite our people against the communal ruling classes of Pakistan, who were using Islam at all levels to keep our motherland under their Ummatic system. Bongobondhu was a believer in Islam but opposed to the use of Islam in politics. That is precisely why the first parliament in Bangladesh wrote the constitution that banned all the Islamic political parties. Bongobondhu had this farsightedness to realize that the aspirations of Bengalis could never be met by the religious traders who kowtowed the ruling Punjabi clique from the then West Pakistan.

Unfortunately, after Bangladesh’s independence the banning of the communal politics using Islam did not prevent the pro-Islamic political goons from continuing destructive politics by joining hands with many other extremists. Most of the cadres of the Islamic parties went underground. At the same time, the Maoists/communists formed underground political parties with armed cadres to carry on armed revolution inside our motherland.

Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the parliament, 1973.In the aftermath of the independence of Bangladesh, all these underground extremists created a terrible condition in the newly born republic. Even the ultra-leftists formed political parties and their armed wings (such as Gonobahini) to implement “scientific socialism,” a term not quite clear even to the proponents. To protect the country and its independence, Bongobondhu took a temporary measure to unite all the pro-liberation forces of our motherland under Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BKSAL).

Unfortunately, he along with most of the members of his family was murdered before he could  implement the programs under BAKSAL. In the wake of the independence of Bangladesh, there was a need for bringing stability in the country before allowing free-will politics. However, Bongobondhu was a leader who believed in multi-party political system. That is why, immediately after the independence he allowed political activities of all parties except the Islamic parties that performed genocide and spread communalism in Bangladesh under the occupation of Pakistani army for nine long months in 1971.

bangabandhu-comilla-military-academyAt a later stage, it was necessary to go for a restricted democracy due to the extremists of the armed wings of the communists and the defeated Islamic forces. But disregarding the restricted democracy under BKSAL, one would find pragmatism for the development of the future of Bangladesh under the leadership of Bongobondhu. The administrative reforms that were supposed to take place under BKSAL would have brought significant effects on the condition of Bangladesh.

BANGABANDHU NAVY 7All the districts were supposed to be getting autonomy under a representative executive body headed by the governor. Under this system, most of the development programs could have been implemented directly by the district administration. The bureaucratic system under the secretariat was supposed to be cut down to a minimum level. The central ministry was supposed to be mostly providing funds to the districts. The agricultural reforms could have brought self-sufficiency in food a long time ago. It was planned to cultivate under cooperatives where the government would provide modern equipments and other resources. According to the plan, the owner, the government (for providing resources), and the laborer (for providing labor) would get the share of the
production. A massive plan was undertaken to bring all the lands (including the ones that are not cultivated by the owner) under cultivation.

Bangabandhu and his cabinet after the Liberation WarUnfortunately, Bongobondhu  was  not able to materialize his vision of reforms especially in administration and agriculture because of his assassination by a few disgruntled army officers. It is noteworthy that the disgruntled army officers first declared Bangladesh an Islamic republic after the assassination of Bongobondhu. The Wahhabi hate kingdom “Saudi Arabia” and their partner Pakistan recognized Bangladesh only after the death of our great leader Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

7036_303280559807323_972374549_nMany researchers in Bangladesh and abroad wrote on the life and politics of Bongobondhu. Of them, Dr. Habibur Rahman, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Independence of Bangladesh” in 1989. Based on his Ph.D. research, Dr. Rahman later wrote a book titled “Bangladesher Obvhuddhoy O Sheikh Mujib (Rise of Bangladesh and Sheikh Mujib)” in 1991 (City Press and Publishers, Dhaka, Bangladesh). In the preface, Dr. Emaj Uddin Ahmed (a former vice chancellor of Dhaka University) wrote on Bongobondhu as “a leader ever memorable like Mahatma Gandhi, Sukornao, Kamal Pasha, et al.”

mujibIn this book, Dr. Rahman wrote elaborately and neutrally like a researcher on the rule under Pakistan and the political programs and organization under the leadership of Bonbondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Especially, he wrote about the difficulties encountered by the government under Bongobondhu in the post-war Bangladesh. He mentioned about the destructive activities of the opportunists in his own party and the extremists belonging to the armed wings of different underground political parties. Despite the failures in controlling the chaotic condition in the post-war Bangladesh, Dr. Rahman wrote about some far reaching successes of the government. In particular, he highlighted the decision of the government in taking over the financial responsibilities of all the primary schools in the villages and tax exemption for the poor farmers (up to 25 bighas of land).

We can come to know from his research that the government for the first time provided forty thousand power pumps, ten thousand shallow pumps, and three thousand deep pumps to the farmers of Bangladesh. Dr. Rahman elaborately mentioned about the programs (under BKSAL) taken by then government a bit early to eradicate poverty and hunger through massive cooperative programs in the agro-based areas in the villages throughout Bangladesh.

bangabandhu-in-islamic-summit-1974Those who observed Bongobondhu closely and studied his policies and rule, gives overall positive high marks for his sincerity to eradicate poverty and communal Islamic politics from the soil of Bangladesh. It is a tragedy that the people of Bangladesh lost such a great leader only after three and half years of the independence of Bangladesh. All the Bengalis regard him as the founder and the father of the nation of Bangladesh except a few followers of the military rulers and the followers of the political Mullahs who were our Fifth Columnists.

The descendants of the communal forces ideologically attached to the Mullah-Military alliance of Pakistan and Bangladesh try to create controversy on Bongobondhu. In fact, their followers are now in the catbird seat of power. They are the ones who are re-writing the textbooks to inject confusion amongst the future generations of Bangladesh. But, they won’t be able to succeed because it is the “truth” that ultimately will prevail.

bangabandhu-231Bongobondhu’s contribution for Bengalis will remain afresh in the minds of millions of people. It is a small wonder that in a BBC survey he was voted as number one Bengali to set foot in this mortal world.

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The writer , a researcher and  commentator, writes from Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
SEPTEMBER 08, 2016

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THE SHEPHERD KING

THE SHEPHERD KING

bangabandhu-immortalSAIFUL ISLAM AZAD

This year the nation observed the 41st death anniversary of the founder of Bangladesh, the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On August 15, 1975 he was brutally murdered by a group of assassins, along with most of his family members. On the darkest day of our history, the loving and affectionate Begum Mujib, her sons and their newly married wives, 10-year-old Russel, and other members of the family were killed.

We mourn this loss more and more with each passing year, as his towering image dawns on our mind and consciousness, with greater relevance — and we express our wrath and abhorrence towards the disgruntled military officials who were involved in the massacre, more with each passing year.

It is true that a bullet can kill a human’s life, but it cannot kill the ideologies, thoughts, and achievements of a man like Mujib as he was a rare personality in contemporary history. He was a statesman — handsome, charismatic, confident, popular, simple, farsighted, and patriotic.

540464_409014129148865_1125195452_nNewsweek Magazine on April 5, 1971, following the declaration of independence on March 26, 1971, said: “Tall for a Bengali (he stood at 5 feet 11 inches), with a touch of graying hair, a bushy moustache, and alter black eyes — Mujib can attract a crowd of million people to his rallies and hold them spellbound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric. He is a poet of politics. So his style may be just what was needed to unite all the classes and ideologies of the region.”

Time Magazine, on January 17, 1972, wrote: “The history of the Indian sub-continent for the past half-century has been dominated by leaders who were as controversial as they were charismatic — Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Jawaharlal Nehru. Another name now seems likely to join the list, Sheikh Mujibur (“Mujib”) Rahman, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.”

BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN AND THE SAUDI KING FAISALThe great modern Bengali novelist Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay said: “From the ocean of time, the eastern part of Bangladesh — otherwise known as East Bengal or East Pakistan — is emerging with a new spirit, a new aura, in a new magnificent figure. She is borne up on the head, deity-like, by the 75 million people of East Bengal.

Mujib was such a revolutionary leader that his name and fame spread worldwide. The Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro said: ‘I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas’

IWDRFGTYH“Their leader is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the friend of Bengal. A historical conflict has drawn to a close and a new chapter is being written.”

Mujib was indeed a popular leader who had reached the pinnacle of political fame and authority by the hard work of ceaselessly addressing the people’s problems, and not by whining about his own misfortunes.

bangabandhu-with-BREZNEVJames J Novak said: “Sheikh Mujib brought an immediacy to the political environment. He never tired the people by sophisticated ploys or half-measures. He had no love for the government office.”

bangabandhu-with-marshall-titoNovak portrayed Mujib’s personality by saying: “As for the Sheikh, hard work shaped his style. Indefatigable, he walked across fields from village to village, and mingled with the people, sharing their rice, dal and salt, remembering names, praying at mosques, sweating in fields, visiting flood sites, weeping at funerals and milads.

He empathised mightily, instituted sympathetically, and reached out and touched — not golf clubs and club chairs but the people’s sweaty hands. He knew what the people believed because he could explain things not only in terms they could understand but in one they respected. Knowing that, they believed he did not need to lie.”

bangabandhu-immortal-2Mujib was such a revolutionary leader that his name and fame spread worldwide. The Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro said: “I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas.”

Castro made these observations after he met Bangabandhu in 1973 during the Non-Aligned Summit in Algiers. His remarks reflect the height of respect Bangabandhu commanded, internationally.

Journalist Cyril Dunn of the London Observer said: “In the 1,000-year history of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib is the only leader who has, in terms of blood, race, language, culture, and birth, been a full-blood Bengali. His voice was redolent of thunder. His charisma worked as magic on people. The courage and charm that flowed from him made him a unique superman in this time.”

mujibIt was Bangabandhu who brought freedom to this land named Bangladesh, which never existed as a free state in greater Bengal before.

This portion of Bengal was once part of Vanga, Samatata, and Pundra State and it was also part of large empires such as the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, and part of the regional Buddhist Pala Empire (8th-11th century) and Sena Empire (11th–12th century).

Thirteenth century onward, the region was controlled by the Bengal Sultanate, Hindu kings, and Baro-Bhuyans landlords under the suzerainty of the Mughal Empire, until the British East India Company took control of the region from the Mughals in the late 18th century.

The historic homecoming day of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur RahmanThe greater Bengal was divided during India’s independence in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal (a state of India) and East Bengal, a part of the newly created dominion of Pakistan that later became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971.

After the pre-historic period till 1971, no leader or king ruled this part of Bengal (Bangladesh) as an independent state. And no ruler was a Bangalee like Bangabandhu in terms of blood, race, language, culture, and birth.

We know about many kings who were prone to extend their state’s area, but they never thought or fought for the freedom of the people like Bangabandhu did.

As a human being he had too much belief and confidence in his people for whom he struggled his entire life, not realising that all good people had enemies. History will remember him as a person who loved his country and its people — unconditionally.

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AUGUST 20, 2016

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BANGABANDHU AND HIS IDEOLOGY

BANGABANDHU AND HIS IDEOLOGY

bangabandhu-and-his-bangladesh

ARUN KUMAR GOSWAMI

THE UNDYING IDEOLOGY OF BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN

The most recent observation of Public Administration Minister, Syed Ashraful Islam, M.P. on Bangabandhu’s assassination in the night of 14 August is worthy enough to analyze the tragic episode through the prism of ideology. Islam said, ‘The night of 14th August was chosen to kill Bangabandhu, because Pakistan was born on this Day. Bangabandhu’s sin had been that he led the birth of Bangladesh by breaking their (killers) desired Pakistan. For this reason only, those who opposed the liberation war had brutally killed Bangabandhu.

Such conspiracies are still going on.’ Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman  and India’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had been the worst victims of violence. The assassinations were most atrocious form of national tragedy that the two nation-states had witnessed. However, the ideological consequences of Bangabandhu’s assassination in 1975, were much more grievous than the killing of Mahatma in 1948.

young-mujib-suhrawardySince the assassination of Bangabandhu actually, a culture of violence has been growing in Bangladesh with the active patronization of ‘dominant groups’. The process could be termed as Pakistanization of Bangladesh.  Nevertheless, the trial of assassinating Mahatma had been accomplished within a very short time. On the other hand, trial of killing Bangabandhu had been fully stopped by beneficiaries by enacting `indemnity law’. Besides, it was none other than the daughter of Bangabandhu, who dared to repeal the notorious law for bringing the killers into book.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at a rally of the 21st February (Language Martyrs Day)Bangabandhu witnessed Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent action to stop the blood-spattered hostility during ‘Direct Action Day’ of Muslim League in 1946, when communal violence had broken out in Kolkata. Written during Bangabandhu’s stay in jail as a state prisoner between 1967 and 1969, “The Unfinished Memoirs” begins with his recollections of his days as a student activist in Kolkata in the run-up to the movement for Pakistan.

sheikh-mujib-agartalaDescribing about a time when people had been attacking and killing each other every now and then and an occasion when Gandhiji did not speak to anyone or give speeches as he did on Sundays, Bangabandhu wrote, “The Mahatma wrote something for the occasion and his secretary read it out. The man was a magician. People cried out immediately, ‘Muslims and Hindus are brothers.’ The whole atmosphere changed instantly.” Bangabandhu cited another instance when rioters pledged not to indulge in violence after Gandhiji told them that he would resort to a hunger strike if they did so.
After Kolkata, Gandhiji had gone to Noakhali on 7 November, 1946. He stayed there for four weeks.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MUJIB TAKEN PRISONER 26TH MARCH 1971‘In Noakhali, Gandhiji went from village to village through the muddy paddy fields. He carried his holy books. He appealed to Hindus and Muslims, men and women that they should pledge not to kill each other and ensure peace. …All the Muslims were pleased to see him and respected him (Shaheen Choudhury 2012).’

Both Bangabandhu and Mahatma were not in favour of leaving one’s motherland. With a few exceptional situations, they were also not in favour

bangabandhu sheikh mujib-06It is often pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi came to Noakhali (Bangladesh) to stop Hindu-Muslim riot, on the other hand, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah came to
Dhaka (Bangladesh) to confiscate Bengalee’s mother tongue in the name of religion. However, since Gandhiji’s mission of peace in 1946 (in Bangladesh), two most important things happened.  The British colonizers left and Bangladesh was entrapped into the religious-colony of Pakistan in 1947.

Dhaka 1972 - Founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman holding kerchief weeps upon his entrance into a liberated DhakaLater on, after bloody struggle led by Bangabandhu against Pakistan, the country became independent in 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. Like the general perceptions of the people, legendry Professor Abdur Razzak had considered Bangabandhu as “a symbol of Bangladesh”. In a seminal talk at the University of Dhaka in 1980 Razzak said “. . . in those dark days, in that testing time, among the millions wh00o would constitute the nation, there was no misunderstanding and there was no ambiguity.  Bangabandhu alone was the symbol.”

1954 Jukta Front Cabinet Members, From left(front) - Khairat Hossain, Sheikh Mujibur RahmanHowever, the ugly face of communalism reappeared more violently following the assassination of Bangladesh’s Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman in 1975. When Gen Zia-ur-Rehman became the president of Bangladesh and launched the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, he rejected ‘Secularism’ and ‘Bengali nationalism’ from the constitution. The erosion of the secular character of Bangladesh further deepened when Gen Ershad declared Islam as the state religion. However, the promotion of Bangladeshi nationalism and the declaration Islam as the state religion by the martial law regimes of Gen Rehman and Gen Ershad aimed to provide legitimacy to their undemocratic rule.
Mentionably, losing the Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation of India just after the hard-won independence under his leadership was the biggest misfortune for the country.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman talks with journalists upon his arrival in London from Pakistan on 8 JanuaryHowever, Bangabandhu’s assassination on 15 August 1975 deprived Bangladesh of its founding father at a time when the process of nation building had been going on.
The assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse was arrested immediately after he assassinated Gandhiji, based on a F. I. R. filed by Nandlal Mehta at the Tughlak Road Police station at Delhi. The trial, which was held in camera, began on May 27, 1948 and concluded on February 10, 1949. He was sentenced to death.  On the other hand, to save the killers, the beneficiaries of Bangabandhu’s assassination, declared notorious ‘Indemnity Ordinance’. Later on, another beneficiary and the martial law administrator and President General Ziaur Rahaman incorporated this ‘ordinance’ in our holy ‘Constitution’ as ‘Fifth Amendment’.  The killers were “sent abroad as diplomats,” observers said. “Many countries, especially in the Middle East, accepted them.”

bangabandhu-and-the-six-point-magna-cartaTo mark the day of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi the Republic of India observes 30 January as ‘Martyr’s  Day’. However, Bangladesh began the trial of Bangabandhu’s
assassination after his daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, who was abroad during the coup, became prime minister in 1996 and overturned the notorious indemnity law after 21 years of its enactment. Apart from the beginning of the trial, the government had declared 15 August as National Mourning Day.  Nevertheless, the murder of Bangabandhu, along with his family members, was followed by a series of killings. In November 3, 1975, four of his close associates and veteran leaders of liberation war were brutally killed in Dhaka Central Jail.

bangabandhu-1953This event both damaged and produced a crack within the nation which has not yet been bridged. This dissection and decay of the polity deflected Bangladesh from the course set by its liberation struggle which had provided the basis for the foundational principles of the Bangladesh constitution: democracy, nationalism, secularism and socialism.
Since that fateful day in August, each of these basic principles has been uncovered to contestation or even utter repudiation. This assault on the very principles of our
nationhood has destabilised the nation, compromised the working of our democratic institutions and thereby  weakened the process of governance. It could, thus, be safely
said that the bullets which killed Bangabandhu were also intended to destroy the very idea of Bangladesh for which the liberation war was waged.

bangabandhu-with-marshall-titoThe assassination of Gandhiji was a culmination of decades of systematic brain-washing. Gandhiji had become a thorn in the flesh of the hard core Hindus and in course of time this resentment turned into a phobia. Beginning with the year 1934 over a period of 14 years on as many as six occasions attempts were made to kill Gandhiji. The last one by Godse on 30-1-48 was successful. The remaining five were made in 1934, during the months of July and September 1944, September 1946 and on 20th January 1948. Godse was involved in two previous attempts. When the unsuccessful attempts of 1934, 1944 and 1946 were made, the proposal regarding the partition and the matter regarding release of Rs. 55 crore to Pakistan were not in existence at all. The conspiracy to do away with Gandhiji was conceived much earlier. The grounds advanced for this heinous crime are clever rationalization to hoodwink the gullible. The staging of the play entitled, “Mee Nathuram Godse Boltoy” is a clear proof of the fact that the mindset that led to Gandhiji’s assassination has not disappeared from the national psyche of India.

the-founder-of-bangladesh-was-not-always-the-separatist-and-nationalist-he-was-projected-to-be-supporters-cheering-banglabandhuUnder the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter,  today we have already brought some of the killers to justice.  We are honouring Bangabandhu’s memory through forty days of mourning.  But can we reignite the message of his life by re-establishing the values of humanity, democracy, secularism, nationalism and social justice which guided his political life? Can we construct a society which can re-establish the rule of law, which punishes criminals irrespective of their political colour, which can let our minorities enjoy the same rights and opportunities open to the majority community, not just in principle but in practice?

598560_501581459876258_359202241_nCan we look forward to a Bangladesh where the landless could aspire to cultivate their own land, the property-less could become shareholders in the corporate empires of the business world, the slum-dwellers could expect to own their own homes, our small farmers could share in the value created by their insistent work on the farm-land or our millions of women who sustain our garment industry could expect to share in the profits created by their long hours of labour?

When the followers of Banglabandhu speak of implementing his dreams, they should keep such goals in mind. Otherwise, Bangladesh will continue along the long path we
have travelled since 15 August 1975, which has distanced us from Bangabandhu and his ideology.

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The writer is Chairman, Department of Political Science and Director, South Asian Study Circle, Jagannath University, Dhaka
SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

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SOUTH ASIAN REGION MISSES BANGABANDHU’S LEADERSHIP, SPEAKERS IN NEW DELHI

SOUTH ASIAN REGION MISSES BANGABANDHU’S LEADERSHIP, SPEAKERS IN NEW DELHI

dailysun_bangabandhuSun Online Desk     16th August, 2016

 

Recalling their personal memories during the 1971 War and the post-war reconstruction period, speakers at a discussion in New Delhi on Monday said the era ‘badly missed’ the tall leadership of Bangabandhu, particularly in the context of slow progress in establishing shared peace, progress and prosperity in the whole South Asian region.sheikh-mujibur-rahman-and-indira-gandhiWith his ‘dynamic and charismatic’ leadership, peace and prosperity in the region could have been established much earlier, they said at a panel discussion paying tributes to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, reports unb.But they commended the ‘bold leadership’ of his daughter, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for taking forward the sentiment and dream of his father in absence of him for the betterment of peace and prosperity in Bangladesh as well as in South Asia and beyond.

HK Dua, a former member of the Rajya Shabha, former member of National Security Advisory Board and renowned journalist, Muchkund Dubey, President of the Council for Social Development, former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and former Foreign Secretary of India and Brigadier General Onkar Singh Goraya, a valiant fighter of Bangladesh’s Liberation War were among the panelists.

Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the parliament, 1973.The panel discussion on the theme of ‘Bangabandhu’s vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond’ was organised followed by screening of a documentary on the glorious life of Bangabandhu at the High Commission, according to a message received here from Delhi on Monday night.

High Commissioner of Bangladesh Syed Muazzem Ali moderated the session.

Bangabandhu_Sheikh_Mujibur_Rahman_in_Bangladesh_Liberation_War-1972The High Commissioner in his opening remarks mentioned that despite all adversaries, Bangabandhu dedicated his life to the freedom and independence of his people.

“His undaunted and relentless demand for Independence of Bangladesh was the source of inspiration and aspiration to all freedom fighters to fight for our Liberation War in 1971.”

Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi observed the National Mourning Day 2016, the 41st Anniversary of Martyrdom of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation today at the High Commission with due solemnity.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman RETURNSThe programme was attended by a large number of ambassadors, diplomats, dignitaries and expatriate Bangladeshis.

On this day in 1975, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of independent Bangladesh, was assassinated at his residence along with most of his family members by a group of derailed soldiers in one of the bloodiest assassinations in the history of the world, causing an irreparable loss to the nation.

bangabandhu_sheikh_mujibur_rahman_3The High Commissioner of Bangladesh hoisted the National Flag at half-mast in the morning.

Messages from President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and State Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out.

Special prayers were offered seeking salvation and eternal peace of the departed souls of the Father of the Nation and his martyred family members, as well as continued peace, progress and prosperity of Bangladesh.

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AUGUST 16, 2016

DAILYSUN

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COMMISSION ON BANGABANDHU MURDER NOT ALLOWED TO WORK

COMMISSION ON BANGABANDHU MURDER NOT ALLOWED TO WORK

Bangabandhu-his-family-members

A commission was constituted in London headed by Sir William Thomas, QC, MP to carry out investigation into the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, most of the members of his family on August 15, 1975 and four national leaders on November 3, 1975. But the commission which was formed on September 18, 1980, failed to conduct its activities as the then government refused to give visa to one of the members of the commission to visit Bangladesh for the investigation purposes, according to a book titled “Bangabandhu Killing – Facts and Documents” by Prof Abu Sayeed.

sheikh-hasina-17-may-1981-1President Ziaur Rahman was the head of the government at that time. According to the book, the commission was formed in response to the application of two daughters of Bangabandhu present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, son of Mansur Ali Mohammad Selim and Syed Ashraful Islam. The commission was formed to investigate the reasons that were hampering the legal and trial process of the incident. After the formation of the commission, the first meeting of it was held at the committee room of the House of Commons with Sir William Thomas in the chair in September, 1980.

nixon-kissinger-1A statement was given at a press conference on the same day highlighting the formation of the commission and its working procedures. After examining all evidences, the commission came to a conclusion that the incident was committed by a few number of military personnel led by some retire and existing officials.

front-1975-newspapersAmong the officials who fled the country included Lt Col Faruk, Lt Col Abdur Rashed, Major Shariful Haq (Dalim). Lt Col Faruk, Lt Col Abdur Rashed, Major Shariful Haqwere identified as the leaders of the military coup. The commission also took the interview given by Lt Col Faruk in the Sunday newspaper, London on August 30, 1976 admitting his responsibility of killing of Bangabandhu, most of his family members and four national leaders. It decided to send a member of the commission to Dhaka on January 13, 1981 to investigate the reasons that are hampering the legal and trail process of this incident.

Bangladesh High Commission in London informed the commission that it would give visa but later, it informed that the High Commission would not give the commission member visa. After this incident, the commission came to a conclusion that the legal and trail process was not allowed to go in its own course and it held the then government responsible for it.

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AUGUST 19, 2015

bangladesh-sangbad-sangstha-bss (2)

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