Pursue economic diplomacy, PM asks Bangladesh envoys


Dhaka, July 21: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the Bangladesh envoys in European countries to pursue the economic diplomacy alongside the political one as she joined the first-ever Bangladeshi envoys conference in the British capital.“We need to focus more on economic issues besides political diplomacy so the ongoing development in Bangladesh to continues,” PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted her as saying while briefing reporters after the conference late Saturday.

She simultaneously asked them to put in their efforts to attract more investment in the country, boost trade and commercial relations and enhance Bangladesh’s image further in Europe.

The premier said at the same time the envoys would have to provide better and faster services to expatriate Bangladeshis living in different countries.

A total of 15 Bangladesh ambassadors, high commissioners and permanent representatives posted in different countries of Europe attended the conference titled “Envoys (in Europe) Conference” at a local hotel on Saturday afternoon (London time).

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also spoke on the occasion while State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Premier’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque were present.

The press secretary said the prime minister held discussions with the Bangladeshi envoys on various other issues including the Rohingya crisis and migration to Europe and gave them necessary directives during the conference.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary celebrations and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence were also discussed as well in the conference.

Sheikh Hasina told the envoys that world was changing fast which required them to take effective and time-befitting action plans for establishing deeper and broader relations with the foreign countries.

“To this effect we need to explore opportunities for boosting investment, trade and skilled manpower export in countries particularly in the European states,” she said.

The premier said through a massive skill development campaign Bangladesh now has a very big and skilled youth force to meet the global job markets demand while by now the government “introduced apps to help people learn nine different languages” as well.

Sheikh Hasina suggested the envoys to assess the markets of their respective country of assignment and identify the barriers to bolster economic ties.

The prime minister said her government was working with specific target of making Bangladesh a developed nation by 2041 and asked the diplomats to draw their own specific targets in line with the goal.

“We have already attained over 8.1 per cent GDP growth and set a target of 8.2 percent GDP growth for the current 2019-20 financial year,” she said adding that the per capita income will reach at US$2000 in 2020.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh was also no more dependent on aid as “we’re sourcing over 90 per cent of Tk 5, 23,190 crore national budget from our own resources”.

The prime minster noted that some groups including those, who failed in the elections, were carrying out propaganda against Bangladesh to halt the country’s ongoing development.

In particular, she said BNP raised questions against the last general election after doing “nomination trade” instead of meaningfully participation in it.

Sheikh Hasina said people in Bangladesh no more believe in propaganda, instead they put their faith in the socioeconomic development efforts and achievement of the government of Awami League.

Referring to the foreign policy, enunciated by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the prime minister said that the foreignpolicy of “friendship to all malice to none” put Bangladesh in a prestigious position at the global stage.

She said her government solved many contentious issues including exchange of enclaves with India through diplomatic dialogues, following this policy.

“Similarly, we hope the Rohingya issue will also be solved through discussions,” she said.

Pointing to the geographical position of Bangladesh, she said the country could be a bridge between the East and the West.

The envoys who attended the conference were Abu Zafar (Austria), Mohammed Shahdat Hossain (Belgium), Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Denmark), Kazi Imtiaz Hossain (France), Imtiaz Ahmed (Germany) , Jashim Uddin (Greece), Abdus Sobhan Sikder (Italy), Sheikh Mohammed Belal ( Netherlands), Muhammad Mahfuzur Rahman (Poland) , Ruhul Alam Siddique (Portugal), Dr. S.M. Saiful Hoque (Russia), Hassan Mahmood Khandker (Spain), Nazmul Islam (Sweden), Shameem Ahsan (Switzerland) and Saida Muna Tasneem (United Kingdom).

At the conference each of the envoys made separate presentation on the activities, challenges and future plan of actions for their respective country of assignment.

The prime minister arrived in London on Friday afternoon on an official visit to the United Kingdom to attend the envoys’ conference and other programmes.