Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh eyeing African mkt

Bangladesh eyeing African mkt

News Report Bangladesh should tap business potential in Africa that is a market of 100 crore people as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing economic slowdown in European counties and the USA, trade analysts say. Such suggestion comes as the country's export industries are reopenong to deliver on pending orders from the western brands and retailers despite continuing anti- corona lockdown with prospect in future years looking cloaked in uncertainty--maybe, a new boom time in a 'new normal' or new Great Depression. The European Union, the United States of America, Canada and Australia are major export destinations of Bangladeshi goods like readymade garments, leather goods, jute goods and frozen foods. According to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank predict global economic growth will drop sharply in the developed countries, resulting in poor consumption of consumer goods. A BGMEA leader apprehends that export market of readymade garments may decrease in the EU and the USA in the post- COVId-19 scenario. Sources in the FBCCI and BGMEA said Bangladesh should explore new markets to export readymade garments, pharmaceuticals, jute and jute goods, plastic goods, ceramics. Against the backdrop of economic slowdown in middle-eastern countries, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) leaders can also visit African countries to explore new labour-recruiting countries. After years of civil war, political instability, famines and economic corruption, political stability has return to a number of African countries. Countries like Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda enjoy political stability and better business environment opening a new window of trade opportunities with other countries, said Abul Hossain, a leading businessman of the country, and honorary consul of Uganda. China, India and Nepal are increasing business opportunities with African countries, he noted. In terms of population and geography, Africa stands out as second continent in the present world. This continent has 54 countries and some 100-crore-strong population. Abul Hossain, a leading businessman of the country, and honorary consul of Uganda, while talking to The News Today, said Bangladesh should explore market of plastic goods, pharmaceuticals, jute goods, readymade garments and IT products. "Economic competition will intensify in post -COVID-19 scenario and Bangladesh should prepare itself to face new environment," he said. Abul Hossain, Vice President at Consular Corps in Bangladesh, also said China, India and Nepal have invested in African countries and exporting goods to the USA and EU countries besides catering to local African countries. Exporters in Africa can enjoy special trade privileges in EU, US, Canadian and Australian markets. Mr Hoosain suggests that Bangladesh Bank should meticulously examine the investment opportunities of Bangladeshi businessmen in the agriculture sector in Africa that encompasses vast tracts untilled. Abul Hossain, also Managing Director and CEO of Fazila Group, also said, "The agro producers want to invest in Africa thanks to the availability of vast areas suitable for cultivation of vegetables and rice and the presence of a potential market to sell the produce. We need a guideline from the banking watchdog which can ensure protection of the money Bangladeshi businesses invested abroad." No less than 300 local organisations, particularly from agriculture and garment sectors, are looking to invest in African nations to avail the advantages of the rising economies of the continent. Amin Helali, secretary of Bangladesh- Africa Investment Forum, said, "(They) contacted us to make investment in Africa. Many Bangladeshi investors have already poured money into different projects in Africa. Most of these investors belong to the group of people who left the country years ago for jobs and are now residing in African countries. They did not make investment in Africa by remitting money from Bangladesh." Bangladesh Bank has so far got more than 100 applications looking for consent to invest in Africa and given proceeds to six of them. The managing account controller is currently looking at the recommendations case-by-case to offer endorsement to the organisations intrigued to put resources into Africa. The interest for prepackaged agro- items and readymade food is high in Africa. For example, the foods prepared in Bangladesh by Brac, Pran and Square have gigantic demand in African nations. The garment manufacturers need to put resources in Africa to take advantage of the tax-free entry in the US for items made in Africa under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The administration has given the green light to nearby DBL Group to put resources in the African article of clothing segment. MA Jabbar, managing director of DBL Group, a Bangladeshi garment exporter, says they have relocated their production unit to one African country. "We have started production in our Ethiopian factory this year. We will make the first shipment this month". He also said that he has a target to export $38 million worth of garment items from the Ethiopian plant every year. Helali, also director of Dosh Disha Group, consented to an arrangement with the Ugandan horticultural service to get 20,000 hectares of land for cultivating paddy and other agrarian items in 2011. The task is yet to be executed as the administration is deferring endorsement for remote speculation. Bangladeshi organisations looked for administrative help to invest in African countries before other Asian nations, yet they are lagging a long way behind, say the trade analysts.

Share |