Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the developed countries to stand beside Bangladesh in its journey towards prosperity saying their assistance is needed to achieve the sustainable development goals, dealing with environmental change and climatic threat.
"Ensuring the supply of finance is the big challenge to achieve sustainable development goals. For this, the developed countries will have to come forward with financial and technical assistance," she said inaugurating the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF)-2018 at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on Wednesday morning.
The premier said Bangladesh also needs global support in dealing with challenges posed by environmental and climate change, and the international community must give more attention to the impending problem.
"In our journey to prosperity we consider private partnerships including international countries and organizations as our important development partners," she said.
Sheikh Hasina also urged the developed countries to be more courteous about a flexible world trade regime to help the developing countries like Bangladesh to achieve their overall development, poverty alleviation and employment generation.
"Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF)" is a high level event where the Government and its development partners work to explore further partnerships to foster inclusive economic growth.
It brings together ministers, government policymakers, multilateral, regional and bilateral development institutions from the north and the south, think tanks, universities and civil society organizations to discuss how to foster partnerships to take the national and international agendas forward.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Director-General and CEO of OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, World Bank vice president for South Asia region Annette Dixon, vice president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wencai Zhang, deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Minoru Masujima and Rensje Teerink, ambassador, delegation of European Union to Bangladesh spoke, among others, on the occasion while secretary of the External Resources Division Kazi Shofiqul Azam gave the welcome address.
Cabinet members, lawmakers, diplomats of different countries and representatives of international development partners attended the inaugural function.
Terming Bangladesh a country of huge potentiality, Sheikh Hasin said, "We have the confidence and resources to demonstrate ourselves as a dynamic economy before the world."
Bangladesh is ready to stand with developing countries after coming out from the status of LDCs in March next and 'a strategic preparation has been taken to face the impact', she said.
Pointing out Bangladesh's remarkable success in various fields of socioeconomic development, the prime minister said government's policy as well as action plan for its proper implementation has made Bangladesh a role model of development in the global arena.
"Our all-out efforts for sustainable economic and social development have been continuing," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has embarked on a five-year development plan designed on 'Vision-2021' and UN's SDGs, aimed at becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and developed one by 2041.
She recalled that Bangladesh was on the road of preparing its 7th Five Year national development plan when the UN agenda for SDGs was in its initial stage. As a result, Bangladesh was able to contribute in making the world development agenda, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the SDGs are very much supplementary to Bangladesh's national development priority and we are expecting to achieve the goals within the period of our 8th and 9th five year plans, she said.
Sheikh Hasina sought development partners' advice and opinion on Bangladesh's development plans saying, "We need cooperation from development partners, civil society, intellectual and private sectors to implement the development goals and programmes."
Highlighting Bangladesh's economic progress over the last few years, the prime minister said in 1991 the poverty rate was 56.7 percent which now reduced to 22.4 percent.
By 2021 poverty will come down to 14 percent, she said. In last decade, she said, average GDP growth rate of Bangladesh was 6.26 percent which has increased to 7.28 percent in the last fiscal year. At the same time, Bangladesh's export and remittance became triple whereas foreign exchange reserve has increased almost nine-times.
Sheikh Hasina said now Bangladesh is the 44th largest economy in the world on the basis of GDP and its position on the basis of purchasing power is 32nd. According to international financial analysts, by 2030 and 2050, Bangladesh will become the world's 28th and 23rd largest economy based on GDP and purchasing capacity, she said.
Pointing out the digital advancement of Bangladesh over the years, the prime minister said more than 13 million mobile SIMs are being used while 80 million people have access to internet.
Digital centers have been established in each union. From there people get 200 types of services. The per capita income of the people is now USD 1,610, she said.
During the current fiscal year, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh could attract Foreign Direct Investment equivalent to about US$ 3 billion. The electricity production capacity has risen to 16,350 mw, bringing 83 percent household under its coverage. Average life expectancy of people has increased to 72 years.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has given emphasis to smooth regional connectivity and infrastructure development, capacity building, employment generation, use of technology, institutional strengthening, economic and social equality, woman empowering and equal opportunity for everyone.
She said the government has now taken initiatives to establish 100 economic zones in different areas of the country for foreign direct investment.
The government is working for infrastructure development and necessary reforms to create a foreign investment-friendly environment. In this regard, she said Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has been formed by merging Board of Investment and Privatization Commission.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that the BDF will play an important role in determining collective action strategies and formulating necessary recommendations for building a poverty-hunger-free and prosperous Bangladesh.