SBF leads business mission to Bangladesh to explore opportunities in banking & financial services, infrastructure, engineering, construction, logistics and consumer sectors
- Its second since the inaugural mission in July 2017 and the visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Singapore in March 2018
- SBF to organise flagship Bangladesh-Singapore business forum in Dhaka
The mission aims to quickly follow up on the recent state visit to Singapore by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh earlier in March this year.
Led by Mr SS Teo, Chairman of SBF together with Mr Mohd Shahiduzzaman, President of BDCham and Mr Prasoon Mukherjee, Vice Chairman of SICCI, as deputy mission leaders, the delegation comprises 36 senior management executives from 24 companies (of which almost 90% are SMEs) and two government organisations.
The participating companies are from sectors including banking and financial services, engineering and construction, logistics, hospitality, general trading and professional services. More than half of the delegates are exploring opportunities in Bangladesh for the first time.
Besides being the largest Singapore business mission ever to visit Bangladesh, what is also of significance is the relatively large number of participants from our banking and financing community in Singapore. Nine representatives from two Singapore banks – DBS Bank and the Bank of Singapore together with two multinational banks – Standard Chartered Bank and DZ Bank of Germany, and a venture capital fund management company have joined this business mission. Their participation is a strong signal of the rising business confidence in Bangladesh as a market of untapped growth potential and opportunities.
Bangladesh is South Asia’s third largest economy and has shown consistent annual growth of 6-7% over the past three years. With its current population of over 160 million of which 48% are below the age of 25 years, it is ranked by the World Bank currently as the world’s 44th largest economy and is projected to be the 23rd largest economy by 2041. UBS has stated that Bangladesh’s current economic growth trajectory will place it as the 12th largest economy by 2050. Not surprisingly, McKinsey & Company has rated Bangladesh to be the “Next China”.
With a GDP of over US$285 billion, Bangladesh is a significant trading partner of Singapore, with bilateral trade amounting to S$4.3 billion in 2017. Singapore’s top exports include fuel oils, automotive diesel fuel, jewellery of other precious metals and non-monetary gold in semi-manufactured forms. Singapore is a major business hub with an estimated 150 Bangladeshi companies based here. Singapore also serves as a medical, education and travel destination.
Commenting on this business mission to Bangladesh, Mr SS Teo said: “There are synergies between Bangladesh and Singapore in the financial services, power, infrastructure and trade sectors. There is also substantive interest from the ICT industry. This is in-line with the Bangladesh government’s diversification to focus on the technology and innovation spheres.”
Mission participants will obtain first-hand understanding of the business environment and will be able to tap on emerging opportunities in their sector of interest. The delegation will also meet government agencies and prominent business conglomerates such as the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of ICT, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh High Tech Park Authority, AK Khan Group, Summit Group, Basundhara Group, PHP Family Group, and GPH Group.
A key highlight of the business mission will be the flagship Bangladesh-Singapore Business Forum organised by SBF in partnership with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka. The Honourable Commerce Minister, Mr Tofail Ahmed, will grace the event on 10 July as Guest-of-Honour.
The business delegation will also visit Bangladesh’s key commercial and international shipping hub of Chittagong which will be hosted to a Business Briefing Conclave by Mr Mahbubul Alam Talukder, President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry.