Bangladesh has potential for sustainable development: Korean envoy
South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Park Young-sik said today that he is confident that Bangladesh will be able to overcome the issues following its LDC graduation and achieve the goals of Smart Bangladesh as a developed country by 2041.
"Bangladesh has the potential to achieve sustainable economic development. We have already witnessed a tripling of Bangladesh's per capita income over the last decade," he said.
The ambassador said South Korea would not have been able to achieve its current status without the support and assistance of the international community.
"With the help of our friends, Korea could develop its economy in just a few decades. Therefore, Korea is willing to repay our debt by sharing our development experience with other developing countries," he said.
Ambassador Park was speaking at a programme titled "Korea-Bangladesh Economic Cooperation: Sharing Development Experience and Exploring Opportunities" at a Dhaka hotel.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam is scheduled to join the closing session as the chief guest while State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak as special guest.
South Korean experts Prof Hyeok Jeong, Dongsoo Kim and Jaehan Cho also spoke at separate sessions.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and South Korea.
"It is the right time to discuss how to enhance bilateral cooperation in the next fifty years," said the ambassador.
South Korea has been with Bangladesh from the very beginning of the growth and prosperity of the latter's RMG industry.
"It is a well-known story that the partnership between Bangladesh's Desh Garments and Korean company Daewoo Corporation in 1979 planted the seed of Bangladesh's RMG industry," Ambassador Park said.
The two-way trade surpassed $3 billion last year.
South Korea and Bangladesh are currently discussing the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The EPA, if reached, will greatly increase bilateral trade in mutually beneficial ways, said Ambassador Park.
Korea's investment in Bangladesh is the fifth largest in terms of accumulated amount.
The first country-specific private Export Processing Zone, KEPZ, established in Chattogram has been a symbol of Korea-Bangladesh business ties.
"The above-mentioned remarkable development of economic relations between our two countries has been made possible by the efforts of businessmen from both countries," said Ambassador Park.
Looking to the future, he said, Bangladesh is marching towards graduation from LDC status in 2026, and Smart Bangladesh as a developed country by 2041.
"Both journeys offer great opportunities and challenges simultaneously," he said.
The outlook for Bangladesh's economy is very positive, said Ambassador Park.
According to the latest report of World Economics, published in June 2023, Bangladesh has the fastest growing economy out of 32 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Another good news is the potential for infrastructure development. The LDC graduation will give a positive signal to the international business community, making it easier to attract foreign capital needed for Bangladesh's infrastructure development," said the Korean envoy.
"Korea wishes to become an important partner in Bangladesh's infrastructure development as we have done in the past in the RMG industry," he said.
The envoy hoped that the Meghna Bridge Project on the Bhulta-Araihazar-Bancharampur Road (R-203) and Supplying of Treated Water from Meghna River to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN), which are being discussed through the mechanism of Joint PPP Platform Meeting, will make rapid progress.
These two projects can become a litmus test for Korean companies to consider further investment, he said.
The ambassador said Korea is also recognised as the most dynamic democratic country in Asia and the most innovative country in the world. South Korea is an industrial powerhouse in shipbuilding, semiconductors, mobile phones, etc, he said.