Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Per Olsson Fridh has said Sweden will remain a partner of Bangladesh for its future journey as the partnership in the past decades grew stronger.
"The visit has confirmed for me the great potential of the Swedish-Bangladeshi partnership to tackle our mutual challenges," he said at the conclusion of his visit on Friday.
During the weeklong visit from March 13, the Minister had constructive discussions with representatives of the government, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal and Environment Minister Md Shahab Uddin.
He also met the civil society, youth and national and international development partners to get their view on developments, and the opportunities and challenges of the future.
In his meetings with Bangladeshi counterparts, the Minister held discussions on areas where Sweden and Bangladesh might cooperate more closely, including climate change adaption and mitigation, social dialogue and rights in the workplace.
Olsson Fridh also raised topics of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as gender equality as areas where Sweden is ready to deepen engagement with Bangladesh.
He said the Swedish-Bangladeshi partnership for the first 50 years is full of success stories. "Today, we are ready to work with Bangladesh to tackle the many common challenges that we face for the future," the Minister said.
The Swedish government has recently decided to continue developing cooperation with Bangladesh for the next five years, the current strategy running up to the end of 2025.
"At the same time, we will work to support our expanding trade relations and people-to-people contacts, which have become pillars of our partnership in their own rights," Olsson Fridh said.
During his visit to Bangladesh, the Minister had the opportunity to visit Cox's Bazar, interacting with both Rohingya refugees and the host communities.
Olsson Fridh also visited the Sundarbans to see first-hand the effects of climate change on vulnerable communities in Bangladesh and how Swedish development cooperation support Bangladesh in its adaption measures.
"I have been warmly received in Bangladesh on my first international visit after being appointed Minister," he said.