Citi holds forum on Belt and Road Initiative | The Daily Star

Citibank NA Bangladesh has recently hosted a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) underlining the bank's commitment to support Bangladesh, global clients and investors with the opportunities offered by the programme launched by China.

In the programme titled “Belt and Road Forum Bangladesh 2018”, James Morrow, Citi's sub-cluster head for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, outlined why Citi is focusing on BRI widely known as “One Belt One Road” initiative.

“We are banking with clients in 58 BRI markets, more than any other bank globally and we have over 100 years of history of operating across the countries along the Belt and Road,” said N Rajashekaran, managing director and Citi country officer for Bangladesh.

“We look forward to continuing our tradition of serving our clients by enhancing connectivity and facilitating the entry and operations of foreign investors in Bangladesh,” Rajashekaran said at the event at the Westin Dhaka hotel.

Shams Zaman, head of corporate and investment banking for Citi Bangladesh, discussed the need for creating access to long-term financing to support BRI projects in the most competitive and structurally efficient fashion keeping in view their long-term viability.

“Developing capital market solutions in each country in addition to overseas financing should create more sources of liquidity.”

“With our local expertise and long-standing relationships with clients and regulators along the Belt and Road, it places Citi in an excellent position to be the partner of choice for clients as they move forward on the BRI,” said Johnson Yuan, head of corporate and investment banking for Citi China.

The BRI is an attempt to foster trade and investment with an inter-continental scope.

At the event, Md Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for SDGs affairs at the Prime Minister's Office, shed light on the investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh with its excellent growth track-record and prospects offers good opportunities to foreign investors, experts said at the event.

“The business and industrial communities are the major players for BRI,” said Zhang Zuo, ambassador of China to Bangladesh.

“Their contributions and wisdom are vital to the win-win cooperation between China and Bangladesh. Working together, we shall usher in a more prosperous era for China-Bangladesh cooperation.” Citi commenced operations in China in 1902 and is best placed to support the investors from Bangladesh and other BRI countries, the bank said in a statement.

Supporting and facilitating global trade is at the core of Citi. In the 1860s the bank supported the laying of the first transatlantic cable, in the 1900s the opening of the Panama Canal that brought trading nations closer together.

Also covered during the event was an overview of Citi's capabilities across the Belt and Road from areas such as corporate and investment banking, treasury and trade and forex solutions.

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