The thirteenth Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia began today in the National Economic Council's conference room – in Dhaka's Sher-E-Bangla Nagar.
Officials of the two countries will hold discussions in six groups on cooperation and investment during the two-day meeting.
Manoar Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Relations Department (ERD) for Bangladesh, at the inauguration of the joint meeting, said, "Bangladesh provides huge investment opportunities. Investors from different countries are interested in investing in Bangladesh. Because of this, foreign investment in Bangladesh has recently increased. Saudi investors can utilize this opportunity."
"Economic growth in Bangladesh is 8.15 percent. We are expecting Saudi investment to assist Bangladesh in becoming a developing country by 2024 and a developed nation by 2041."
"For sustainable development, Bangladesh needs massive investment in the: rail connectivity, ports, energy-power, information technology, agriculture, fisheries, and education-health sectors," the secretary said.
He added that a significant number of Bangladesh's labour force works in Saudi Arabia. Among them, most workers are skilled and semi-skilled.
"Bangladeshi workers have many problems. All these issues will be discussed at the Joint Economic Commission meeting. Bangladesh is prioritising Saudi investment," Manoar said.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mahir Abdul Rahman Gassim, head of the Saudi delegation and Deputy Minister of the Saudi Labor Ministry, said, "Bangladesh has been creating opportunities for investment since 2018. Additionally, a large number of private sector entrepreneurs are represented. They are interested in investing in Bangladesh – in different sectors."
Twenty-nine representatives of 21 Saudi companies arrived in Bangladesh for the meeting.
"There are a good number of representatives of private companies as well and they are eager to invest in Bangladesh," Gassim said.
A total of 1.6 million Bangladeshi workers – 13 percent of Saudi Arabia's total workforce – are working in Saudi Arabia.
"They are contributing to Saudi Arabia's development," the minister added. He concluded by saying that the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia has recently become more cordial.