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4th Bangladesh Investment Summit, Hong Kong, April 26, 2016

    The fourth Bangladesh Investment Summit was held on April 26, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Hong Kong. This summit has been held in earlier years also but this time it was held at a new venue and this is also the first time it was held in Hong Kong. The Standard Chartered Bangladesh, the City Bank, DFDL Lanka Bangla Investments and PWC sponsored this whole-day event, which was supported by the Board of Investment, Bangladesh. The summit was organised by FinanceAsia, a leading financial journal in Asia and the Pacific, in association with AsianInvestor, a magazine focused on asset management, mutual funds, alternatives, private banking and financial services in the region.

  02. A good number of policy makers and high level dignitaries from Bangladesh spoke at the event. Prominent private sector representatives, both from multinational and home grown, including, Energy Pac, Rahimafrooz, DFDL, Singer, Aamra, Viyellatex, DMS , Lankabangla, SwissPro invest, etc also took part in the discussion. Attended by prominent political, economic, financial and business figures, the summit attracted around 250 participants not only from Hong Kong and China, but also from all over the globe. Investors as well as business representative from different parts of the world attended the summit who sought access to information and actionable advises about Investing in Bangladesh. It helped to generate understanding and positive image about our country.

03. Keynote presentation by the Hon’ble Finance Minister:

  The Hon’ble Finance Minister of Bangladesh, Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith presented the “Keynote Speech” entitled, “Perspective; Investment for Bangladesh’s Future”. He elaborated about the strength and stability of Bangladesh economy, as the growth sustained over the last eight years in a sustainable manner even when the rest of the world faced recession. He added that the effective market is considerably large in Bangladesh and it’s still growing, where the demographic dividend is a positive factor of influence.

  The necessary conditions for taking off the Bangladesh economy have been created, said the Hon’ble Finance Minister in his keynote speech. He highlighted that the inflow of foreign direct investment into Bangladesh rose 27.19 percent year-on- year to $1.45 billion in the July, 2015-February, 2016 period, according to central bank data. Over the last six years, Bangladesh consistently recorded progress on various socio-economic indicators, including GDP growth, per capita income, food production, low inflation, job creation, social mobility and women’s empowerment, he said. He mentioned that the average GDP growth was at 6.4 percent, per capita national gross income rose by 9.7 percent each year, inflation rate came down to 6.1 percent at the end of March this year from almost a double-digit figure six years ago. He added foreign exchange reserves rose to $29 billion from $7.5 billion six years ago. He continued, the country used to produce only 11.1 million tonnes of food grains in 1972, but now produces 38.2 million tonnes, while arable lands declined 6 percent during the period.

  Effective macroeconomic plans, along with the implementation of the sixth and seventh five-year plans, have helped Bangladesh avert the impact of the global economic downturn and sustain the economic growth over the last six years, he said. He observed sustained accelerated growth is the fact over the country's development policy, which is aligning with three dimensions of sustainable development goals: promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment and promoting social progress.

  Referring to Bangladesh's current status of lower middle-income country, he said when a country reaches the coveted position, it forgets about domestic demands. He remarked, “It is my view that the stagnancy you witnessed in some countries is mainly because they forget their original objectives, which is increasing the domestic demand. So, how do we increase the domestic demand by taking more people out of poverty? We are developing their capacity to earn and also to spend.”

04. Keynote presentation by the Hon’ble energy Adviser:

  A Keynote Presentation’ on ‘Energy Outlook for Bangladesh' was presented by Dr. Tawfiq-e- Elahi Chowdhury, BB, PhD, the Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Ministry of Power Energy & Mineral Resources. He remarked, “Bangladesh's is an unfolding story. Join us. We will make money, you will make money and Bangladesh will make its future.” Prior to making the appeal, he cited the robust growth in power generation over the last seven years. During the period, $8 billion was invested in the power sector in public-private partnerships and another $13 billion are in the pipeline, he said. He added the investment has resulted in access to electricity for nearly 80 percent of the population, whereas seven years ago, it was only 47 percent.

  Observing that there are unlimited opportunities of investment in the power sector, as we will need to generate some 46,000MW power by 2041 with $15 billion worth of investment, he invited the foreign entrepreneurs to invest in gas and coal-based power projects. He remarked, “We need this investment so that we can supply smooth power to the industrialists and entrepreneurs.”

05. The Hon’ble SM for ICT: ‘Export Potential and ICT developments':

  The Hon’ble State Minister for ICT, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, moderated and chaired a ‘panel discussion’ on ‘Export Potential and ICT developments', where the panelists deliberated on key export sectors, ICT growth and potential and developing the ICT market in Bangladesh.

06. The Hon’ble SM for Foreign Affairs: ‘Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh: Foreign Investors ':

  The Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam , moderated and chaired a ‘Panel Discussion’ on ‘Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh: Foreign Investors', where the Panellists, including Major General Mohd. Habibur Rahman Khan, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), discussed topics like Key sectors for development and investment, accessing local companies for foreign investors, Regulations impeding investment flows, Capital controls and profit repatriation, Legal framework for investing in Bangladesh. He mentioned that Bangladesh is globally applauded for its development miracle. But the country started from a very low base and turned all its liability into assets today based on years of planning and hardship. The RMG products often epitomize Bangladesh, but there is more to come. Bangladesh has a target to turn this USD 25 Billion market of RMG into USD 50 Billion in next six years' time.

07. Other Speakers:

  The Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Mr. Paban Chowdhury, delivered a ‘Keynote Presentation’ on ‘Investing in the Economic Zones’. Mr. Biru Paksha Paul, Chief Economist, Bangladesh Bank delivered a ‘Keynote Presentation‘ on ‘Monetary Policy for Tomorrow’s Bangladesh'. He also a chaired a ‘Panel Discussion’ on ‘Bangladesh Investment today', where issues like regulatory changes to stimulate investment, interest and exchange rate environments, developing capital markets and FDI and bringing Bangladeshi companies to the international stage, were presented. Md. Abdul Mazid, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange moderated and chaired a ‘Panel Discussion’ on ‘Bangladesh Capital Markets: On ‘PPP and their role in Bangladesh Infrastructure Development and Financing', Mr. Nabhash Chandra Mandal, Executive Member, Board of Investment Bangladesh, moderated and chaired a ‘Panel discussion; where issues ranging from Key sectors: Power, Energy and Infrastructure, Project finance opportunities- role of local and foreign banks, Safeguards for foreign investors, and Private investment projects, were deliberated on.

  Mr. Ajay Kanwal, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank for the ASEAN and South Asia region, in his opening remarks said Bangladesh has a very strong and resilient economy and maintaining a progressive growth since its independence. “So, it's a lucrative investment destination,” he said, adding that the key factors that can attract foreign investors are there: stable GDP growth, steady currency and a stable government for many years. For a foreign investor, good returns, capital safety and dividend or capital repatriation are the three major issues.

  Mr. Hossain Khaled, President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Bangladesh is the next destination of foreign investment after China and India. Human capital is one of the demographic advantage, as three million people join the workforce every year, he said, adding that Bangladesh can continue the supply of the workforce until 2045. There are seven core areas where billion dollar investment opportunities are lying -- physical infrastructure, power, backward linkage industry for garment and textile, automotive, pharmaceuticals, leather and shipbuilding, he said.

  Mr. Shahwar Nizam, country partner of DFDL Bangladesh, said the legal regime is very much investment friendly. Foreign investors can replicate their investment in Bangladesh, he said, while referring to dividend repatriation.

Design and Developed by AKM Mahfujur Rahaman