UK minister links strong democracy to foreign investment in Bangladesh
A strong democratic system as well as instrumental arrangements could attract more foreign investment in Bangladesh, UK Minister for Communities and Local Government John Denham MP has observed.
Addressing a pre-departure news conference at Bay's Galleria in the capital yesterday, he said developing investment vehicle would make it easier for the British-Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in the country.
UK-Bangladesh trade was worth over 800 million pounds in 2008. Despite the global economic downturn, the bilateral trade has seen a healthy increase up to June this year. Much of this is due to the British and Bangladeshi businessmen and women.
Denham said there are opportunities to increase the level of investment by the British-Bangladeshi businesspersons.
In reply to a question, the British minister declined to comment on the current political scenario where the opposition is abstaining from the parliament.
“We support full functioning democracy.”
He said the British government wanted to see the return to parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh where Britain had played a significant role in preparing the digital voter list ensuring free and fair elections on December 29, 2008.
During his three-day visit, the senior UK minister held series of meetings with prime minister, LGRD minister, education minister and foreign minister and had interactions with community representatives in Sylhet division.
Denham reiterated UK's commitment to assist Bangladesh in education, climate change and democracy.
During his visit to Sylhet, a memorandum of understanding was signed to implement Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction project at a cost of 60 million pounds.
He visited the UK-funded poverty-eradication programme and had discussion with British- Bangladeshis on issues, including forced marriages.
On climate change, the minister said Britain and Bangladesh worked together and wanted to achieve a legally binding agreement at the COP15 in Copenhagen.
He said both the countries would work to achieve the goal in future and it is important to mobilise funds from donors to support the adaptation plans prepared by Bangladesh, recognised as a most vulnerable country to the global warming.
British High Commissioner Stephen Evans was also present.