Expo 2020 Dubai: Bangladesh pavilion to showcase ‘strength of nation’
Country is now being moved from LDC (least developed country) category to a developing nation category by the UN.
The Bangladesh Pavilion at Expo 2020 will project the image of a strong and resilient country set on becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a high-income country by 2041, a top official said.
“We have come a long way since our independence in 1971,” said Masud bin Momen, foreign secretary, Bangladesh, in an exclusive chat with Khaleej Times at the Bangladesh Pavilion at Expo 2020. “Through this Expo, we will appeal to the world to engage more with Bangladesh through trade, investment, and strategic relationship. We are here to project our soft power and also showcase the hardcore economic progress we have achieved. In the last fifty years, we have reconstructed and rehabilitated our war-torn economy and achieved socio-economic progress at an impressive scale under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We are no longer the land of problems, floods, cyclones, etc. as many still perceive us to be. At Expo 2020 we will showcase Bangladesh as a more promising and forward-looking nation.”
Bangladesh’s economy has been consistently growing at more than six per cent since 2011. Even during the first year of the pandemic when economies of most countries shrank, Bangladesh’s GDP expanded at an impressive 3.8 per cent. The country is now being moved from LDC (least developed country) category to a developing nation category by the UN.
Bangladesh is poised to become a bridge between south Asia and southeast Asia. “We will also showcase some of our mega projects at the exhibition. Many of these projects are intended towards increasing connectivity in the region. Bangladesh is very strategically located. On one hand, we have southeast Asia, and on the other we have Nepal, Bhutan, India. We would like to become a connectivity hub for these two subregions,” said Momen.
Bangladesh is developing mega projects such as deep-sea port, power plants, exclusive economic zones, rail and road links with northeastern India, Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of India.
All these projects are aligned with the vision of ‘Shonar Bangla’ set by the Sheikh Hasina government.
Bangladesh has also been able to tap into its huge women workforce and has been able to create an inclusive environment ensuring prosperity for all. Today, Bangladeshis are vastly wealthier, healthier and better educated compared with previous decades. The literacy rate has soared too.
“Bangladesh is already graduating from LDC status. We want to maintain this pace of progress, economic and social development. Bangladesh is a model state for other countries. Through Expo2020, we wish to attract new opportunities for trade and commerce,” said Md. Abdur Rahim Khan, Joint Secretary, Minister of Commerce, Bangladesh, the nodal agency for Bangladesh’s pavilion at Expo2020.
“We credit our leadership for this progress. We believe that by mainstreaming women in the development process, we have achieved all this. Women’s participation is conspicuous in our urban workforce, the government workforce, and even in the rural areas,” said Momen.
The Bangladesh Pavilion in the Sustainability Zone will celebrate two important anniversaries of the country - the centenary birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation; and the golden jubilee of country’s independence.
The pavilion, which is still under construction, features three of its most important leaders at the entrance: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, President Adbul Hamid and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Inside, visitors will be greeted by a sculpture of Mujibur Rahman, and large interactive screens narrating the journey of Bangladesh and its vision. The pavilion will also have a kiosk selling some of the popular items from the country.
Momen is clearly impressed with what Dubai is putting up at Expo 2020. “It impresses me that Dubai has been able to pull off a project of this scale in such an impressive manner especially during the Covid era,” he said.
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