Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today called for finding out a strong path for recovery in both trade and investment among the Commonwealth countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finance Minister made the call while addressing the "Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit 2021" virtually. The theme of the summit has been set at "Commonwealth trade: The lever for future prosperity".
Kamal said that the whole of the global community is now passing a crisis time as the COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly threatened the global economy, even the Commonwealth countries are not exception to this, said a Finance Ministry press release.
He said due to the impacts of COVID-19, the global economy has shrunk by 3 percent last year while the economies of the Commonwealth countries have been squeezed by 10 percent which was a major reason for a fall in global trade and investment.
Citing a report of the UNCTAD, the Finance Minister said the global foreign direct investment has declined by 42 percent in 2020 while the Commonwealth economies of the Asia and the Pacific region have been affected by more than 50 percent.
Under the circumstances, he said that the noble goal of this summit should be to find out a strong path for recovery in both trade and investment among the Commonwealth countries.
Recalling the farsightedness and firm leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Kamal said that Bangabandhu, during his participation at the 20th Summit of the Commonwealth in 1975, had called for ensuring optimum utilization of resources and framing a new economic system for the manpower of the developing economies.
Following the economic philosophy of Bangabandhu, he said that Bangladesh, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has attained unprecedented economic growth over the last one decade.
The Finance Minister said perceiving the intensity of the adverse impacts of the pandemic on the country's economy, the Prime Minister has so far announced some 28 stimulus packages worth $22.08 billion which is also 6.23 percent of the country's GDP. The economy of Bangladesh has been enjoying its good results, he added.
Citing different data and statistics of FDI flow and global trade, he said that the existing policies and strategies of the Commonwealth related to trade are not satisfactory for the Commonwealth countries.
Under the circumstances, the Finance Minister said that he firmly believes that through concerted efforts, it is possible to enhance inter-Commonwealth trade and investment and thus finding out a path for economic recovery. Side by side, it is also possible to regain back the proud past of the Commonwealth, Kamal added.
Commonwealth trade and investment council chairman Lord Marland, British Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Elizabeth Mary Truss, among others, spoke at the Summit.
All the participants expressed their hope to work together for finding out a path for economic recovery through increasing trade and investment among the Commonwealth countries.