Belgian businesses urged to invest in Bangladesh

Belgian businesses have a wide range of investment opportunities in Bangladesh, from high-end apparel to fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies, said Bangladeshi lawmakers and business leaders at a seminar on Monday.

“Belgian investors can substantially invest in our high-end RMG, medical equipment, automobiles, electronics, trade logistics, agro-processing, construction, maritime economy, Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) and 4IR technology above all 100 economic zones and 28 hi-tech parks,” said Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Md Sameer Sattar.

Wallonia Export Investment Agency and Flanders Investment and Trade, the Trade Promotion bodies of Belgium organised the seminar titled “Innovative Business Opportunities from Belgium” at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka.

“Belgium is our 14th largest export destination and bilateral trade has reached $1.035 billion where Bangladesh’s export was $900 million and import was $135 million. Which can be enhanced to $2 billion rationalising the trade gap,” added Sameer Sattar.

Speaking as a keynote speaker, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud said Belgium investors can invest in the IT sector that would be the best innovative sector in Bangladesh.

In a response a question from journalists, he said, “We hope this business delegation will help to bring about $1 billion investment in Bangladesh from Belgium.”

Political stability is necessary to bring any FDI, which has been continuing for the last 15 years, added the minister.

DCCI President Sameer Sattar further said apart from traditional items, bicycle, RMG, ceramic, home textile and jute goods can be imported from Bangladesh.

He also urged private sectors of two friendly nations to explore mutually beneficial business options.

“More Belgian investments in our promising export sectors can be made to re-export to the regional, Africa and European market under the market diversification initiative,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Arif Dowla, consul of Belgium in Bangladesh and managing director at ACI Ltd, said, “Our country has a tremendous need for economic development as we are scheduled to graduate from LDC by 2026.”

Some frontier technology companies come to Bangladesh, he said, adding that Belgian technology may be helpful to move to the next level.

Belgium technologies are very relevant to move the next level of Bangladesh, added Arif Dowla.

Didier Vanderhasselt, ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, has given a welcome speech at the event.

A 10-member business delegation from Belgium arrived in Dhaka on 27 March to explore the Bangladesh market. The delegation represents technologies for different sectors, including agro, medical, utilities, transport, and construction.

The delegation will stay in Bangladesh till 31 March.

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Iram Hoque

Mohd. Iramul Hoque (Iram) completed his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 2018 from Purdue University.

He joined Deloitte Consulting LLP as a Consulting Analyst based out of New York City having previously worked in similar roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP & Landis+Gyr.

Iram left consulting and returned to Bangladesh to take up the family business. Realizing the opportunity in the capital market in Bangladesh, Iram worked relentlessly to found Columbia Shares & Securities Ltd in 2021.

Md Saiful Hoque

Md. Saiful Hoque received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Columbia University in 1986 followed by a master’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1988. Upon completion of his Graduate Degree, he joined Gulf Interstate Engineering Company in Houston, USA serving as a Project Engineer.

He returned to Bangladesh in 1992 to join Columbia Enterprise Ltd., the family business of Shipping and Freight Forwarding services. In addition, he has built flourishing businesses manufacturing Garment’s Accessories and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods.