We agree with the Asian Development Bank that improving connectivity is key to unlocking the untapped potential our region has to grow trade and prosperity.
Bangladesh’s geographical location between the large and growing economies of South and South-East Asia, places it in a strong position to benefit from the rapid growth in trade between these markets.
Since 1990, trade between the eight countries of South Asia and 10 nations in South-East Asia has multiplied rapidly from only $4bn, to over $90bn by the end of 2013.
The ADB reports that the time is ripe to invest in enhancing transport infrastructure to increase integration between the South and South-East Asian regions.
It expresses confidence that addressing the bottlenecks caused by low port capacity and improving poor rail and road links between Bangladesh, South-West China, India, Myanmar, and Thailand is key to growing a regional market of over 2.3 billion people.
The government should look to drastically increase the proportion of GDP, currently only 3%, which is invested in infrastructure. Overhauling our existing overstretched transport networks and power supplies is vital to release existing bottlenecks to growth and to attracting more FDI.
Investing in improving our ports and transport connections clearly has huge potential to help Bangladesh become a major driver for future growth in the Asian economy. The government should strongly advocate further efforts to boost integration via regional initiatives such as BCIM and pursue the new funding sources becoming available via new institutions such as AIIB to boost investment in infrastructure.
With our own large domestic market, strategic location, and relatively small flat-land area, we have good reason to invest now in building faster railway and road networks and expanding our deep sea port facilities.
This is vital to improve the attractiveness of our economy to investors and make it easier to draw trade from improvements to regional connectivity. It is essential that the government pays heed to the need to improve infrastructure to help keep growing our economy so it can provide the future jobs we need to keep reducing poverty.
Source: dhaka tribune