Saudi Investment in Bangladesh New Horizon of Economic Cooperation

Publish: 9:55 AM, September 24, 2023 | Update: 9:55 AM, September 24, 2023

M.Shahadat HossainTaslim : Friendly relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are developing and strengthening.Bangladesh people have sincere, cordial and fraternal relations with the people of Saudi Arabia.Every year 1,27,000 pilgrims perform Hajj and about 4 lakh perform Umrah.About 2.8 million Bangladeshi expatriatesare engaged in various jobs in Saudi Arabia, whose foreign remittance sent to Bangladesh plays an important role in the development of the country.Currently, the relationship between the two brotherly countries is not limited to Hajj and Umrah and Bangladeshi expatriatesworkers in Saudi Arabia.Saudi Arabia has now emerged as an important development partner of Bangladesh.The role of Saudi Arabia in global politics is also very important as Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Muslim and Arab world.Relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have grown stronger over the past five years. Saudi Arabia’s investment in Bangladesh has increased significantly.

In the last five years, the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh has visited Saudi Arabia 4 times. Had a productive bilateral meeting with Custodian of two Holy Mosques King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and King of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As a result, the relationship between the two countries has reached new heights. Four important ministers of Saudi Arabia visited Bangladesh in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and Saudi investment in Bangladesh gained momentum and important investment agreements were signed. As a result, the proposed Saudi investment in Bangladesh will create employment for many people and will play an important role in the economic development of Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia is a powerful oil-rich economy. Saudi billionaires have many investments in the US and Europe. Currently, as Saudi investors are rushing towards Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, a country with a strong economy, has been added to the list of countries investing in Bangladesh.

In December 2021, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Eng. Saleh Al Jasher visited Bangladesh and signed an agreement to establish a Special Economic Zone “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib IndustrialZone” in Bangladesh for Saudi investors. For this purpose, Bangladesh has allocated 300 acres of land in Chittagong. If this special industrial zone is established, many people of Bangladesh will be employed and Bangladesh will be benefited financially through the export of products produced here.A large number of Big investors in Saudi Arabia have established large industrial enterprises in many countries around the world. Once the Designated Economic Zone for Saudi Arabia is launched, Saudi Arabian investors will start to feel comfortable and safe to invest in Bangladesh.Investing in Bangladesh is particularly attractive to Saudi investors because of low-wage worker available in Bangladesh

A very important figure in the Saudi Cabinet, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Al Fahad, visited Bangladesh in March 2022. He paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister and assured the Prime Minister that Saudi Arabia’s cooperation and investment will further increase in the development of the brotherly country of Bangladesh.Mr. Majed bin Abdullah Al Kashab, Saudi Minister of Commerce visited Bangladesh in March 2023. During his visit he signed a deal worth US$ 5 billion. In addition, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Interior Minister Mr. Nasser Ad Dawood visited Bangladesh in 2023.In August 2023, the Minister of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiyyah visited Bangladesh with 161 companions, including another minister and 3 deputy ministers.Among the important ministers of Saudi Arabia, the visit of the Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Commerce, Deputy Minister of Interior and Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah shows that the mercury of warmth in the relations between the two brotherly countries has reached its highest level.

The immigration of Hajj pilgrims which supposed to take place in Jeddah or Madinah in Saudi Arabia is currently taking place in HazratShahjalal International Airport at Dhaka. Sparing millions of pilgrims the irony of long queues at Jeddah or Madinah airports in Saudi Arabia. Even their baggage was taken from Dhaka’s Ashkona Haj camp by Saudi authorities and delivered to pilgrimsMakkah/Madinah hotels in Saudi Arabia. This has eased many of the ironies of Bangladeshi pilgrims. Especially the elderly pilgrims do not have to carry the hassle of bag handling at the airport and going to the hotel.

Apart from performing the Hajj and Umrah, the cherished dream of Bangladeshi Muslims, and the workplace destination of 2.8 million Bangladeshiexpatriates, Saudi Arabia is nowimportant development partner of Bangladesh.Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s famous power generation company, “Aqua Power” has signed an agreement to invest USD 3.5 billion in the power sector in Bangladesh.Saudi Aqua Power Generation Company has started construction of a 730 MW power plant. Also the work of setting up a 1000 megawatt solar power plant is underway.The relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are historical, brotherly and cordial. As this relationship grows stronger, the opportunities for mutual cooperation are also limitless.Investment proposals in Bangladesh by many famous Saudi Arabian business firms are currently under process.In the future, the relationship between the two brotherly countries will be strong in financial cooperation and will emerge as a major development partner. Both brotherly countries treat each other with due respect, importance and dignity.

Since the arrival of Isa Yusuf Isa Alduhailan, the current Honorable Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh as ambassador, the relationship between the two brotherly countries has become stronger and stronger, and new horizons have been opened for increasing Saudi investment and economic cooperation in Bangladesh.

About 2.8 million expatriates of Bangladesh are engaged in various activities in Saudi Arabia. Their remitted foreign currency plays an important role in the development of the country. The highest amount of remittances sent by expatriates comes from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has offered Bangladesh government to set up a modern Arabic language, cultural and technical institute. They want to establish this institute in Dhaka with Saudi funding. Through which our Saudi job candidates will get Arabic language and Saudi cultural and technical training. At present, most of our expatriate workers go to Saudi Arabia without any prior work experience or training and language knowledge and are forced to work for low wages. If specialized Arabic language education, cultural and training centers are established with the funding of Saudi Arabia, our expatriates will be able to earn more money by working in Saudi Arabia and our country will be more benefited. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has taken the initiative to build large new economic zones and special cities, where there is a huge possibility of employment opportunities for many more Bangladeshis in the future. On the occasion of the National Day of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of all the people of brotherly Bangladesh, warm wishes and congratulations from the government and people of Bangladesh to the brotherly Saudi people and government. Hopefully, the brotherly relationship between the two countries will be stronger and stronger in the future. Saudi Arabian investors will be benefited by investing more in Bangladesh and Bangladesh will also benefited from it. The fraternal relations of the two countries are gaining mutual development and expansion the partnership of economic relations.

The Writer is President, Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh.