The Financial Express

Bangladeshi cos urged to expand operations in South Africa

| Updated: November 19, 2021 19:59:23

Bangladeshi cos urged to expand operations in South Africa

Admitting that the volume of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and South Africa is negligible, Dr Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, on Thursday urged Bangladeshi companies to expand operations in her country.

She was talking to the journalists after delivering a lecture on ‘Bangladesh- South Africa Bilateral Relations: Exploring the Potentials for Future Engagement and Cooperation’ in a programme, organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in the capital on Tuesday.

South African exports to Bangladesh stood at nearly US$130 million in 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

On the other hand, Bangladesh exported goods worth $110 million to South Africa in the same year.

Both the countries need to stretch their operations in other countries to buy and sell more goods, she opined.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, who was also present in the discussion, said that Bangladeshi companies already started to expand their operations in different African countries.

“One of our pharmaceutical companies has started their operation in Kenya”, he said.

In her lecture, Dr Grace mentioned different aspects of the bilateral ties that could benefit both countries.

The South African foreign minister also said that there is no plan to open a mission of her country in Bangladesh now.

“We have already closed 10 missions in different countries to reduce cost during the pandemic. So, we are not in a mood of opening”, she said.

However, she assured that she will pursue her government to provide consular services in Bangladesh so that people of this country do not need to go to New Delhi to obtain visas.

She said that as big powers always want to keep the developing countries in the Southern hemisphere poor, vibrant South-South cooperation is crucial to the economic emancipation of the Southern countries.

Major General Md. Emdadul Bari, Director General, BIISS, who delivered the welcome address and concluding remarks, said that Bangladesh and South Africa have a historic relationship since both of the countries share a common history of struggle and emancipation.

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