BRAC University hosts dialogue on Russia-Ukraine war

Students and distinguished guests at the programme. Photo: Courtesy of BRAC University

A dialogue on the Russia-Ukraine war was held at BRAC University recently, about the Russia-Ukraine war's impact on Bangladesh's economy.

It was organised by BRAC University's Business and Economics Forum. The speakers at the event included Shamim Ehsanul Haque, Assistant Professor at BRAC Business School and Sifat Islam Ishty, Senior Lecturer of Economics, BRAC University. Dr David Dowland, Registrar, BRAC University, was also present at the event as a guest and the distinguished individuals shared their valuable opinions regarding the agenda at hand by engaging students in a fruitful discussion.

The first speaker, Sifat Islam Ishty stressed on the important trade relations Bangladesh has with both Ukraine and Russia, especially with the latter. With geo-political pressure from India and China added to that, Bangladesh has opted to remain neutral regarding this conflict in an attempt to minimize the commercial damage. He further talked about the rising inflation rate and the myriad of consequences resulting from this on-going war. Exports stuck at the Chittagong port, rising account deficit, how the SWIFT ban on Russian banks are affecting Bangladesh were some of the details he deviated towards. He referred to this situation as "a very vicious economic cycle".

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is a significant project being built by Russia that will cost USD 12.65 billion and be finished by 2025. The orator mentioned that the current conflict and economic sanctions against Russia may cause this costly project to be delayed, resulting in cost increases in Bangladesh. It entails bigger loans and a greater strain on the government.

The honuorable speakers discussed the toll of the invasion on Bangladeshi businesses and their measures of adaptability. Businesses that are figuring out new ways of exchanges such as, third party payment methods are sustaining sufficiently, they added. The export from the RMG industry, worth almost $32B, was the point of focus for the speakers as this is the largest export industry of Bangladesh and Russia is a huge market for it.

 Shamim Ehsanul Haque shared similar views with Sifat Islam Ishty. He further talked about the cursory assessment and statistics of the war, describing losses for both sides. He said this war is almost a "mutual destruction of sorts", Shamim expressed.


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