Dynamic Alliances: Exploring The Future Of Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia Relations

0
81

The diplomatic relationship between Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Bangladesh spans five decades, characterized by strong economic and development ties. As Bangladesh aims to transition from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026 and achieve developed economy status by 2041, Saudi Arabia emerges as a key market for trade and investment. A recent visit by KSA’s Minister of Investment underscores a commitment to strengthen ties, particularly in sectors like food, energy, logistics, and manufacturing.

To fully leverage this opportunity, Bangladesh seeks Saudi investments in infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing. The double taxation agreement is viewed positively, encouraging Saudi investors to explore economic zones and hi-tech parks. Collaboration in technology, renewable energy, and healthcare is emphasized for mutual innovation and competitiveness.

Beyond trade and investment, strengthening cooperation in education, culture, and tourism is seen as vital for expanding the long-term economic partnership. Efficient communication between chambers of commerce and frequent business delegations are proposed to pave the way for new opportunities. The impending LDC graduation of Bangladesh marks a new chapter, with Saudi Arabia viewed as a strategic partner capable of facilitating the economic transformation of Bangladesh.

Financial Support and Investment Commitment

In 2023, Bangladesh witnessed a substantial boost in Saudi Arabia’s investment interest, signifying a pivotal advancement in their bilateral relations. The Saudi Fund for Development played a crucial role, extending a loan assistance of $533.23 million and a grant assistance of $106.38 million for Bangladesh’s infrastructure development. This financial support underscores Saudi Arabia’s dedication to fostering economic progress in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and KSA Key developments 2023 

Aspect of Relations Key Developments: Diplomatic Relationship & Economic Ties

– The diplomatic relationship spanning five decades remains robust, with a focus on strong economic and development ties.

– Saudi Arabia recognized as a key market for trade and investment as Bangladesh aims to transition from LDC status by 2026.

– The visit by KSA’s Minister of Investment underscores a commitment to strengthen ties, particularly in sectors like food, energy, logistics, and manufacturing.

Economic Transformation and Cooperation

– Bangladesh’s ambition to transition from LDC to a developed economy by 2041 positions Saudi Arabia as a crucial partner.

– Saudi investments sought in infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing.

– Positive view of the double taxation agreement to encourage Saudi investors in economic zones and hi-tech parks.

– Collaboration emphasized in technology, renewable energy, and healthcare for mutual innovation and competitiveness.

Diversification Beyond Trade & Investment

– Strengthening cooperation in education, culture, and tourism viewed as vital for expanding the long-term economic partnership.

– Efficient communication between chambers of commerce and frequent business delegations proposed for paving the way for new opportunities.

Financial Support and Investment Commitment

– Significant boost in Saudi Arabia’s investment interest in 2023 with a loan assistance of $533.23 million and a grant assistance of $106.38 million for infrastructure development.

– Saudi Arabia’s dedication to fostering economic progress in Bangladesh highlighted through the financial support.

Elevating Economic Collaboration – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision for economic uplift emphasized during a concession agreement signing ceremony.

– Noteworthy projects like the 1,000 MW Solar Photovoltaic Energy initiative and the joint partnership project in Rampal underscored the commitment to economic collaboration.

Expanding Cooperation Across Sectors

– Milestone in cooperation marked by Saudi Commerce Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi’s visit to Dhaka.

– Potential $3 billion energy deal discussed, indicating Saudi Arabia’s keen interest in investing in Bangladesh’s power, agriculture, and logistics sectors.

Collaborative Projects and Global Issues

– ACWA Power actively engaged in developing a 300 MW Solar Electric Unit in Rampal and a 200 MW project in Payra port.

– Global issues addressed, with discussions on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the ongoing Palestine issue.

– Bangladesh’s assistance to Palestine acknowledged, reflecting diplomatic cooperation.

Diplomatic Engagement and Visa Intensification

– Diplomatic engagement strengthened with expedited visa processing, issuing approximately 5,000 visas daily from Dhaka by the Saudi Embassy in 2023.

– Saudi Arabia’s crucial role as the largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers highlighted, contributing significantly through remittance transfer.

Robust Economic Collaboration

– Flourishing economic collaboration evidenced by significant projects and bilateral trade reaching approximately USD 2 billion in FY2022.

– S. M. Saifee Islam is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

Published in Eurasia Review [Link]