Bay of Bengal initiative has big potential

Japan’s support for the BIG-B initiative can help build confidence and FDI

A Japanese delegation is to visit Dhaka to discuss the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative with Bangladesh.

The BIG-B industrial initiative offers huge scope to boost economic opportunities in our region. By proving a strategic framework to energy and transportation infrastructure, it has huge potential to help build trade and industry and spur the creation of new jobs.

The meeting comes ahead of the planned visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 6, which is expected to discuss key projects such as the Ganges Barrage, Jamuna multi-modal tunnel and bridge, and the ecological restoration of four rivers around Dhaka.

We hope that the official visit will help speed the pace of these important projects.

Although Bangladesh received a historic high  of $1,730.65 million worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2012-13, this still lags behind many competing nations. According to Myanmar government data,  over 20,000 jobs have been created in Burma during the current fiscal year by overseas investors and in the first five months of its 2013-14 fiscal year, Myanmar’s  FDI topped $1.8 billion, mostly focused in the garment manufacturing sector.

Japan’s support for the BIG-B initiative, which includes JICA’s assistance for the 1,200MW coal-fired power plant at Matarbari, can help build confidence and create a more congenial atmosphere for foreign investment by helping the government improve infrastructure.

By developing linkages between Southeast Asia and South Asia, the initiative can help develop Bangladesh as a gateway for the region’s economies.

Source: Dhaka Tribune


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