During his official bilateral visits to South Africa, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen joined a meeting with the officials of the Black Business Council located in Bryanston, Johannesburg, South Africa on 23 august 2021. The delegation of Hon’ble Foreign Minister comprised Foreign Ministry officials and Bangladesh High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr. Noor e Helal Saifur Rahman. At the outset of the meeting, the Secretary General of the Black Business Council, Ms. Judi Nwokedi welcomed the Bangladesh delegation to the Council for the meeting. The Business Council’s officials informed that they facilitate business relations in various business sectors including infrastructure, construction industry, tourism, medicine etc.
At the outset, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister remarked that South Africa is one of the most leading economies in Africa and has important economic relations with the African and Southern African countries. The Hon’ble Foreign Minister briefed the Council members about the remarkable progress that Bangladesh has attained in the socio-economic sectors. He briefed the business council officials that during pre-corona situation the rate of economic growth was more than 8%. He mentioned that Bangladesh has excelled in the readymade garments industry. And has advanced a lot in the agriculture, agro-processed products, pharmaceuticals, ship building and ICT industries.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister mentioned that Bangladesh is a leading country in the area of women empowerment. He particularly mentioned that owing to the targeted approach of the government, the participation of women in workforce has reached 38% from 6%, since the present government had taken power. He informed that thousands of women have been engaged in E-commerce in Bangladesh.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister proposed that joint venture industries may be established between Bangladesh and South Africa. To develop trade and economic relations, he emphasized on developing networks between the business bodies of the two countries. He underscored the importance of exchange of business delegations on a regular basis. The Secretary General of Black Business Council echoed the ideas shared by the Hon’ble Foreign Minister and underscored the need of P2P relations for enhancing business and trade relations. The Black Business Councils officials mentioned that there lie scopes for cooperation in trade and business in many areas including electrical constructions and energy management areas. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh suggested that cooperation may be established in joint ventures and import of jute and pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh.
The Secretary General commented that a framework of cooperation may be outlined and suggested cooperation in the form of G2G between Bangladesh and South Africa. She mentioned that business opportunities may also be explored under the framework of IORA. At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed to maintain contacts in order to promote the huge potentials of trade and business that lie between Bangladesh and South Africa.
Meeting with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA):
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister met with the Chief Executive Officer of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) at his office on 23 August, 2021. He was accompanied by a delegation of the Foreign Ministry, Dhaka and the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Pretoria. At the outset of the meeting, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Cas Coovida informed that Business Unity South Africa is a confederation of various business associations of South Africa. He informed that the business platform is engaged in macroeconomic policy matters and business sustainability matters.
At the outset of the meeting, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister informed that Bangladesh is observing the birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh. He apprised the Chief Executive Officer of BUSA about the remarkable socio-economic progress that Bangladesh has made after its independence. He particularly mentioned that Bangladesh has made a lot of advancement in the agricultural sector. Owing to the remarkable economic growth, he added that Bangladesh is considered as a land of opportunities.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister apprised him that Bangladesh offers various incentives for investments in the country. A good number of Economic zones and High-tech park have been established for foreign investors in Bangladesh. The Hon’ble Foreign Minister suggested that there may be joint collaboration between the two sides by sharing knowledge and expertise.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister invited the South African companies to invest in Bangladesh. He also suggested that there may be enhanced institutional cooperation and exchange of visits of business delegations between the two countries. He informed that Bangladesh is exporting fabricated ships, jute, leather agricultural, pharmaceutical and food etc products to many countries of the world. The Chief Executive officer of the Business Unity of South Africa (BUSA) suggested that the potentials of cooperation should be explored and there should be follow up meetings on trade and business matters by both sides. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh, who was also present at the meeting, requested BUSA for facilitating the process of concluding the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation between Bangladesh and South Africa. At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed to continue the cooperation in trade, economic and business sectors between the two countries.