At a news conference held on Monday at her official Ganabhaban house, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized a number of significant points about her most recent trip to Japan, the US, and the UK.
The Prime Minister said in her written remarks that during their bilateral discussions, the leaders of Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank all expressed their appreciation for Bangladesh’s outstanding socioeconomic success under her leadership.
Additionally, they pledged to continue supporting her government’s efforts to transform Bangladesh into a “Smart Bangladesh,” she said.
“We had taken enough precautions to minimize the damage. I myself took constant inquiries and gave various instructions. We opened 7040 cyclone shelters in 13 coastal districts. More than 7.5 lakh people took shelter in the cyclone shelters. Directives have been given to take up rehabilitation activities quickly,” she said, thanking Almighty Allah for sparing Bangladesh from the significant loss of life and property caused by the extremely severe cyclonic storm “Mocha.”
The following is the Prime Minister’s address on her trip to Japan:
On April 25, 2023, I traveled to Tokyo at the request of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
On the morning of April 26, I paid His Majesty Emperor of Japan Naruhito a courtesy visit.
The Japanese Prime Minister welcomed me to his office that evening and gave me a guard of honor; later, a formal bilateral summit between the heads of government of the two countries was held at the Japanese Prime Minister’s office. Concerned ministers, including the honorable agriculture minister and the honorable foreign affairs minister, expressed their hope that the relations between the two countries would deepen further.
The bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Japan has been upgraded to a “Strategic Partnership” as a result of my visit.
Issues such as speeding up the conclusion of an Economic Partnership Agreement between the two nations, enhancing regional connectivity through the BIG-B project, developing economic infrastructure, fostering an environment that is friendly to investment, resuming the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers Project, increasing trade, Japanese investment in Bangladesh’s special economic zone, a free Indo-Pacific region, a direct flight between Dhaka and Tokyo, etc. were discussed during the meeting.
The Japanese government promised to provide Bangladesh 30 billion yen in budget support aid.
I thanked the Japanese government for helping the Rohingyas in Bhasanchar at the meeting and pleaded for Japan’s support in hastening the Rohingyas’ return to their homeland.
Eight agreements and memorandums of understanding on a variety of topics, including agriculture, metro rail, industrial upgrading, ship recycling, customs issues, intellectual property, defense cooperation, ICT, and cyber security cooperation, were signed at the outset of Bangladesh and Japan’s Strategic Partnership.
I also signed a joint declaration with the Japanese Prime Minister outlining the framework of bilateral ties between Bangladesh and Japan, and I subsequently attended a dinner hosted at the Japanese Prime Minister’s house in my honor.
In addition to the summit, the two nations had several bilateral talks.
The wife of the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the President of JEBIC, the Foreign Minister of Japan, the President of JICA, the Chairman and CEO of JETRO, the Chairman of the Japan-Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (JBCCEC), and the Chairman of the Japan-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship League (JBPFL) paid me a courtesy visit.
I attended a meet-and-greet with the CEOs and business executives of Japan’s top business organizations on April 27 at the Westin Hotel in Tokyo.
In his remarks at the Bangladesh Business Summit, which was held at the same hotel, the president of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industries praised Bangladesh’s potential for trade and economic growth.
Eleven memorandums of understanding were signed between the business leaders of the two nations, and I appealed for more investment and trade in Bangladesh, citing the current political stability and the tremendous growth achieved in recent years.
Tadao Ando, a well-known Japanese architect, met me in the afternoon, and we went to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation of Japan (Miraikan Museum).
For the purpose of establishing a children’s library in Dhaka, Tadao Ando Architect and Associates and Bangladesh National Museum have signed a memorandum of agreement.
On that day, I went to an award ceremony at Akasaka Palace to see four Japanese nationals receive the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” for their unique involvement in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
The honorees are Mr. Tadateru Konoe, a former head of the International Red Cross Society, Professor Gyalpo Pema, Mr. Hideo Takano, a deceased politician, and Mr. Taizo Ichinose, a deceased photographer.
On that day, I spoke with NHK and Nikkei reporters in the afternoon.
Later, I went to a civic gathering held at the Westin Hotel in Tokyo by Bangladeshi expats living in Japan.
Regarding her trip to the USA, she stated:
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the cooperation between Bangladesh and the World Bank, I traveled to Washington, DC, on April 28 at the request of World Bank President David Malpass.
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, paid me a courtesy call on the afternoon of April 29, the first day of my trip to the United States.
She complimented Bangladesh’s substantial improvement in infrastructure, communication, upholding law and order, and macroeconomic stability even during the Covid-19 outbreak at the conference.
The managing director of the IMF emphasized her belief that Bangladesh needs strong leadership, such to that provided by the present administration, to move the nation toward prosperity despite all challenges.
The same day, I requested the managing director of the IMF to continue the IMF’s cooperation in numerous ongoing socio-economic development initiatives of the government of Bangladesh and was interviewed by Voice of America, a US-based media outlet. She referred to Bangladesh as a role model of the world in terms of overall development.
On May 1, I spoke as the keynote speaker at a panel discussion at the World Bank’s headquarters titled “Reflection on 50 Years of Bangladesh-World Bank Partnership” on the socioeconomic progress of Bangladesh.
At the event, World Bank President David Malpass lauded Bangladesh’s incredible success in increasing per capita income and reducing poverty. In my speech, I called upon the World Bank and other international organizations to continue their cooperation in the journey of building a knowledge-based ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041.
David Malpass expressed the commitment that the World Bank will continue its cooperation and support to Bangladesh in its development journey. He cited Bangladesh’s success in a number of indicators, including poverty alleviation, combating climate change, and women’s empowerment.
In the show, I said that Bangladesh has never defaulted on its debt payments or fallen into a so-called debt trap, and that the current position is an indicator of our economy’s development potential and its flexibility.
When Bangladesh was founded in 1971, a lot of development specialists had doubts about its future.
Our people have shown to the globe that even the most severe obstacles can be surmounted with perseverance via their work to construct Father of the Nation Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave World Bank President David Malpass a painting of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
I gave World Bank President David Malpass a bound picture of the Padma Bridge at the conclusion of the occasion.
Five loan agreements totaling $2.25 billion were signed between the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank for the advancement of regional trade and connectivity, disaster preparedness, and environmental management at the conclusion of the discussion in my presence and that of the World Bank President.
The agreements were signed on behalf of Bangladesh by the Economic Relations Division Secretary and on behalf of the World Bank by the Bangladesh Country Director.
The contracts are
- Resilient Infrastructure Building Project: This $500 million ($50 crore) project is the first significant investment to execute the “Delta Plan 2100,” which will enhance preparation for inland flooding disasters.
- The Bangladesh Environmental Sustainable and Transformation (BEST) initiative is a 250 million dollar initiative with a budget of US$25 crore.
- Bangladesh Phase-I of the ACCESS (Accelerating Transport and Trade Connectivity in Eastern South Asia) project is worth US$75 crore 34 lakh and 50 thousand (753.45 million).
- The country’s transition to green and climate-resilient development would be aided by the US$50 crore (500 million) first Bangladesh Green and Climate Resilient Development (GCRD) Project.
- The Sustainable Microenterprise and Resilient Transformation (SMART) Project is a $250 million (S$25 crore) undertaking.
I met with the WB Board of Directors on the same day that I and the WB President unveiled a multimedia exhibition celebrating Bangladesh’s growth tales and celebrating the 50-year cooperation between Bangladesh and the WB.
The World Bank’s incoming president, Ajay Banga, paid me a courtesy visit on May 2 in the morning, and I requested that they support Bangladesh in creating “Smart Bangladesh” during our discussion.
The US-Bangladesh Business Council’s top executives and I met in private that day.
In addition, I served as the keynote speaker at a high-level meeting with representatives of major US business associations, where I spoke about the significance of boosting trade between the US and Bangladesh while also highlighting the investment-friendly initiatives and incentives implemented by the Bangladeshi government.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the advisor to the prime minister on ICT matters, and others at the event also discussed Bangladesh’s socioeconomic status and business climate.
Suzanne P. Clark, president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, paid me a visit out of the kindness of her heart.
That evening, I attended an event hosted by Bangladeshi citizens residing in the United States, and ‘The Economist’ also interviewed me.
After all, the World Bank’s strong relationship with Bangladesh in its development path is reflected in the team from Bangladesh’s visit to Washington, D.C. in the US to commemorate 50 years of partnership.
Regarding her trip to the UK, she stated:
From May 4 to May 8, I traveled to the UK at His Majesty the King’s invitation to attend the coronation and reception for him and Queen Camilla as well as the Commonwealth Leaders event, which was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General.
I attended both the reception and the coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla, which were held on May 5 and 6, respectively, at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, respectively. I also exchanged greetings with the monarch at the Commonwealth Leaders event, which was held at Marlborough House.
On May 5, I attended the Commonwealth Leaders event hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General at Marlborough House in the afternoon. I congratulated the King and the Queen at that time and extended an invitation for them to visit Bangladesh.
The same day, I had a meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Marlborough House. I congratulated Rishi Sunak on becoming the first person of Asian descent to hold the position of Prime Minister in the UK, and I called for more investment from UK businesses in Bangladesh. He praised our role we played in various international forums, including climate change and providing houses to the landless and homeless people of Bangladesh at government expense.
I thanked the UK for its ongoing support on the Rohingya issue and invited the UK Prime Minister to visit Bangladesh to see the plight of the Rohingyas, and he accepted. He praised the economic development of Bangladesh and praised Bangladesh for providing shelter to Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds in Bangladesh.
On May 6, UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly paid a courtesy visit to me at my hotel suite in London. He said that Bangladesh is a key country to the King because of its strong position in these two cases, and that the Bangladesh-UK Climate Accord and Aviation Partnership will play a significant role in advancing relations between the two countries.
My younger sister Sheikh Rehana was there at the meeting when the Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema made a courtesy call on me in my hotel room.
On May 7, Baroness Patricia Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonwealth, paid me a visit out of politeness and invited me to serve as the Commonwealth Artificial Intelligence Champion.
She expressed appreciation for Bangladesh’s accomplishments in the areas of digitization, e-governance, etc. and asked to share Bangladesh’s expertise in these areas with other Commonwealth developing nations.
Additionally, she requested Bangladesh to host a meeting of the Commonwealth Environment Ministers before to the subsequent COP-28.
Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, also paid me a visit on the same day.
On May 7, I went to a civic reception at a nearby hotel in London. I also spoke with the BBC on this trip.
During my visit, the governments of Bangladesh and the United Kingdom inked a Joint Communique on Aviation Trade and Investment Partnership.
The Joint Communique was signed by Mr. Salman F. Rahman, my adviser on private industry and investment affairs, and Lord Dominic Johnson, Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade, on behalf of the Bangladeshi government.
Interest in working together, sharing experiences, and improving the effectiveness, safety, and sustainability of Bangladesh’s aviation industry were all emphasized in this Joint Communiqué.
I am certain that this visit will improve ties between Bangladesh and the UK and promote Bangladesh’s standing within the Commonwealth.