Rt Hon Desmond Swayne, the UK’s Minister for International Development has concluded his three day visit wishing for Bangladesh to be strong and successful as it leads its own development. During his stay, he visited UK funded projects in Dhaka and Kurigram to see how Britain’s support has been transforming lives of some of the poorest people in Bangladesh.
He met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, and the Founder and Chairman of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hosan Abed.
Mr. Swayne said:
“Over the past few days I have seen first-hand how UK aid is making a difference to the lives of so many people across Bangladesh by providing access to health, clean water and sanitation facilities. This is a fundamental part of our development support, but there is also a more powerful story here.
“Our work with urban communities has reached over three million and counting. Its success means that many of the poorest communities are being empowered to manage their own development including through representation at local government meetings.
“I have also met young women who, following training, have secured jobs including in the garment industry. Empowering girls and women is at the heart of everything DFID does and, while Bangladesh has made significant progress, there is still more to be done.
“Young Bangladeshi girls need life skills, education, training and access to health care so that they can positively contribute to the country’s economy and their own future. This means tackling child marriage and early motherhood.’’
As we approach the United Nations General Assembly meeting next month Bangladesh deserves to have its voice heard. The new global goals present a vital opportunity for Bangladesh to lead its own development towards middle income status and ensure that no one is left behind.”
Announcing up to £3 million of humanitarian support he then said:
“I am pleased to be announcing today up to £3 million of funding to help those most affected by the recent floods in Bangladesh. UK support to the World Food Programme and other trusted partners will bring much needed relief to more than 100,000 people in the south east affected by cyclone Komen and monsoon flooding.
“This region of the country, one of the poorest and most disaster prone in Bangladesh, faces very significant development challenges. Komen and monsoon flooding have exacerbated the situation there for already vulnerable people. UK support will play a vital role in assisting communities affected by these crises.”
Notes to editors
The UK Government is committed to supporting Bangladesh’s development. We are the largest bilateral grant donor in Bangladesh (£185 million in 2014/15), with an aid programme which will directly help millions of the poorest people in Bangladesh. By the end of 2015, our programme will help lift 1.5 million people out of extreme poverty, improve access to clean drinking water for 1.3 million people and adequate sanitation for 2.8 million, get more children a better quality education, improve family planning and reduce deaths in childbirth, and develop technical skills for more young women and men seeking employment.
2015 is an important year for development, with the new Sustainable Development Goals being launched in September and the 21st Conference Of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December. The Paris COP aims to seek agreement for a Legally Binding Agreement reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The UK is fully committed to securing the legally binding agreement.
The economy of Bangladesh has grown between 5.3% to 6.6% each year since 1996. GDP growth rate in 2013-14 is 6.1%. Garment exports, totalling some $23bn in 2013-14 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, totalling almost $14bn in 2013-14, accounted for over 27% of GDP.
The UK was the second largest cumulative investor/source of FDI into Bangladesh in the last financial year 12/13 (second to Malaysia) with £159.5m worth of investment projects. Some 100 UK firms have operations locally with the main centres of operation focused around Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. Major UK players include; Unilever, Reckitt, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and G4S.
Bangladesh export to UK in 2014 was £1667million (services and goods), 93% of the total export is from the RMG sector.