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Professor Rehman Sobhan

The Financial Express: A beacon of inspiration for future nation-builders

Bangladesh News
  • Professor Rehman Sobhan is undoubtedly one of the few living legends of Bangladesh, who has contributed greatly to the development of the country and its people. He is the most influential member, leader, mentor, friend, philosopher and guide of the academic-economist community in Bangladesh. Above all, he is truly a public intellectual extraordinaire. Last Sunday (March 12) marked his 88th birthday. Warmest birthday wishes to him.

  • Though Rehman Sobhan was born in Calcutta, he spent most of his school life in Darjeeling. Between the ages of 7 and 15, he was a student of St. Paul's School, Darjeeling. The school, established in 1823, is considered as one of the best boarding schools in West Bengal, India. He was not only a brilliant student but also very skilled in sports. He was the school's long-distance running champion and one of school's best football, hockey, and cricket players. He also took part in boxing.

  • Before concluding, I would like to quote Professor Rehman Sobhan's recent advice to future nation-builders. He said, "Freedom of thought, freedom of expression is nobody's gift to you. It will only come if you assert your rights to exercise that freedom". He advises them to always speak up and assert themselves in sufficient numbers to gain freedom.

Institute of Export and International Trade UK: Taking inspiration from Bangladesh, UK firms should make most of ‘Commonwealth Advantage’

  • Intra-Commonwealth investment is 27% higher than trade between non-Commonwealth countries, with bilateral trading costs on average a fifth lower among member nations.

  • UK businesses need to make the most of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘Commonwealth Advantage’. Intra-Commonwealth trade is cheaper and easier to do because of our shared history, legal systems and initiatives such as the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS).

The Financial Express: Exploring the fintech landscape & opportunities in Bangladesh

  • The financial technology (fintech) industry is currently experiencing a significant transition in both its technological advancements and business models. Regardless of whether one is the CEO of a well-established financial institution or the founder of a fledgling fintech startup, maximising investments is crucial for success.

  • The fintech industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by technological innovation, changing customer expectations, and regulatory pressures. While the industry faces unique challenges, fintech companies that prioritise innovation and investment optimisation will likely thrive in this evolving landscape.

  • In conclusion, the adoption of fintech education in Bangladesh has the potential to transform the country's economy and drive growth in the years to come. By increasing awareness, improving the quality of education, establishing partnerships, and investing in infrastructure, Bangladesh can position itself as a leader in fintech in the region and beyond. Why Bangladesh remains an economic bright spot in the neighbourhood

  • From Sri Lanka to Pakistan and even India, how has Bangladesh remained a bright spot in a neighbourhood grappling with economic crises and challenges? There might be some lessons for India as well in the explanations put forth by veteran economist Syed Akhtar Mahmood on Bangladesh’s resilient agriculture sector and economy.

  • Mahmood also touches upon how Bangladesh took a completely different journey from Pakistan, after independence and that the country’s approach continues to be driven by a focus on the poor and marginalised sections of society.

  • As a small country surrounded by India on three sides, Mahmood also talks of the big brother syndrome that Bangladesh faces. On how India looks from Dhaka, Mahmood talks of a perception about a decline in secular principles and increasing intolerance to dissent. But perceptions, he notes, can be important.

The Financial Express: Bangabandhu Cup Kabaddi: Bangladesh emerge group champions beating Iraq 49-33

  • Holders Bangladesh emerged Group A champions in the Bangabandhu Cup'2023 International Kabaddi Tournament with all-win record beating Iraq by 49-33 point at the Shaheed Noor Hossain Volleyball Stadium here on Saturday.

  • However, they still in the semi-final race from Group B securing six points from four matches and will play England in the remaining Group B match on Sunday to assure the semi-final berth.

  • Tuhin Tarafder and Arduzzaman both scored nine points each but Tuhin was grabbed the glittering trophy and the purse of BDT 10000 allocated for the Man of the Match.

The Business Standard Bangladesh: Monthly MFS transactions surpass Tk1 lakh crore for second time

  • The monthly transactions through mobile financial services (MFS), such as bKash, Nagad and Rocket, surpassed Tk1 lakh crore in January this year for the second time since the launch of the services in 2011, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.

  • The country saw the first record of crossing Tk1 lakh crore-mark in MFS transactions in April 2022, centring the biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr. Sector insiders believe that MFS transactions will register new records before this year's Eid as well.

  • An analysis of January data shows that transactions in all areas including cash-in, cash-out, person-to-person balance transfer, and salary distribution have increased substantially. The most significant growth, 14% year-on-year, was seen in merchant payments to reach Tk3,373 crore.

The Business Standard Bangladesh: Bangladesh's businesses see silver lining in local cloud computing solutions

  • Local cloud computing firms can provide businesses with affordable packages, keeping data within the country, and payment in local currency instead of the rapidly appreciating USD

  • They found out that while the big international providers offered a wide range of features and capabilities, their services were expensive. Moreover, the data would be stored outside the country and payments would have to be made in US dollars.

  • More than half the market is made up of foreign first-line suppliers, including Huawei, Google Cloud, Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle. Some 40% of the market is controlled by foreign low-cost players, such as Cloudflare, Liquid Web, DigitalOcean. The remaining 10% belongs to local players.

The Business Standard: From policy to practice: Bridging the digital divide

  • We must work towards bridging the digital divide and creating equal opportunities for all. By investing in digital inclusion, Bangladesh can leverage its digital potential and achieve its vision of becoming a developed nation by 2041

  • As we celebrate International Women's Day 2023 with the theme of "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality", it is important to reflect on the progress Bangladesh has made towards achieving gender equality but also on the challenges that remain. One of these challenges is the persistent digital divide, which disproportionately affects women in many parts of the world.

  • The National Women Development Policy 2011 suggests leveraging technology to promote gender equality. The Access to Information (a2i) Programme includes initiatives to increase women's access to digital technology and promote their digital skills and literacy. These policies aim to increase women's participation in the digital economy.

  • We must recognise that the digital divide is an opportunity divide and work towards creating equal opportunities for all. By investing in digital inclusion, Bangladesh can leverage its digital potential and achieve its vision of becoming a developed nation by 2041.

The Financial Express: PM asks school children to grow up as worthy citizens

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked primary school students to groom themselves as worthy citizens of the country by paying attention to study, sports and cultural activities.

  • The premier was addressing the prize distribution ceremony of Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament-2022 and Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament-2022 at the Army Stadium in the capital, reports UNB.

  • Hasina asked the small children to maintain a disciplined life always, obey their guardian, teachers and parents, maintain a good terms with their peers and behave well with disabled persons including autistic ones.

The Daily Star: Bangladesh launches ITC SheTrades Hub

  • The SME Foundation in partnership with the International Trade Centre has launched SheTrades Bangladesh Hub to address the barriers women face to accessing economic opportunities.

  • The three-day launching event, workshops on visual communications for 50 Bangladeshi women-led businesses and SheTrades Outlook Validation were organised where stakeholders discussed results and policy recommendations derived from data collected from 19 public and private sector institutions.

  • The services include training on product design development, product diversification, export readiness, digital marketing, business and financial management, product marketing, and buyer-seller and entrepreneur-bankers matchmaking events.

The Economic Times: China lobbies hard to bag railway contract in Bangladesh despite local authorities' cost concerns

  • China is lobbying hard to obtain a contract for upgradation of a railway network in Bangladesh despite concerns expressed by local railway authorities about higher cost estimates proposed by the Chinese company compared to similar other projects in the country.

  • China Railway Construction Project Engineering Bureau Group Company Limited refused to accept a reduced cost estimate of the project and is lobbying hard with certain authorities in Dhaka to accept original terms and conditions. India has expressed interest in providing funds to upgrade Sylhet-Akhaura metre-gauge line to broad gauge line.

  • It may be recalled that Bangladesh signed MoUs with China for implementing a total of 27 infrastructure projects on G2G basis during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2016 visit to Dhaka. In total, the Chinese government assured Bangladesh of providing $22 billion against the projects.

The Financial Express: Saudi Visa Service Centre launched in city

  • Saudi Company for Visa and Travel Solutions, a subsidiary of Tahakom, a PIF company, has announced the formal launch of the Saudi Visa Service Centre in Dhaka.

  • The Saudi Visa Service Centre in Dhaka will provide several facilities to applicants, local governments, Saudi government, the Saudi Embassy, and the broader community, said a media release on Tuesday.

  • Speaking on the occasion, Fahad Sulaiman Al Amoud, CEO of Saudi Company for Visa and Travel Solutions, expressed his gratitude to the Ambassador and the Government of Bangladesh for their support and guidance in starting the Saudi Visa Service Centre in Dhaka.


The Guardian: The Guardian view on the forgotten Rohingya refugees: lives without futures

  • More than five years after hundreds of thousands fled Myanmar, conditions in Bangladesh are deteriorating.

  • The hungry and desperate are now much more so. Last month, the rations to Rohingya living in the world’s largest refugee camp – Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – were slashed. Another drastic cut is due next month. This is, as a UN expert warned, a matter of life and death. The Rohingya have lived on a knife edge for too long.

Reuters: At least 19 killed in bus accident in Bangladesh

  • A speeding bus veered off a major expressway in central Bangladesh and plunged into a ditch, killing at least 19 people and injured dozens, police said.

Dhaka Tribune: Bangladesh drops 24 notches in World Happiness Report 2023

  • Bangladesh has ranked 118th out of 137 countries in World Happiness Report 2023, drastically dropping by 24 notches from last year's position.

  • Bangladesh again dropped out of top 100 nations in this year's ranking, according to UN-sponsored World Happiness Report-2023 published on Monday.

  • And it is exactly ten years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281, proclaiming 20 March to be observed annually as International Day of Happiness. Since then, more and more people have come to believe that our success as countries should be judged by the happiness of our people, said the report.

UK Government: The worsening situation in Myanmar

  • The worsening situation in Myanmar means conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingya are not in place: UK Statement at the UN

  • Statement by Political Coordinator Fergus Eckersley at the UN General Assembly debate on Myanmar

Newage Bangladesh: Economists in Bangladesh ask govt to check inflation, bad loans

  • Economists in a pre-budget discussion on Sunday suggested that the government take measures for checking inflation as well as defaulted loans in the banking sector against the backdrop of sharp downturn in the country’s economy.

  • Finance minister AHM Mustafa assured the economists that the government would accommodate their suggestions in the upcoming budget to be announced in the parliament on June 1.

  • The economists also advocated for shunning the practice of taking development projects without feasibility study.

Eurasia Review: Limits Of 2022 US Human Rights Report On Bangladesh – OpEd

  • The USA recently released a report on the human rights situation of 198 countries in 2022. In 2022, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, suppression of expression and media, use of force in gatherings, obstruction of national and international human rights institutions, etc. continued as usual in Bangladesh.

  • Various operations by the security forces continued throughout the year. Although primarily to combat terrorist activity, drugs, and illegal firearms, some operations have resulted in arrests and suspicious deaths during other law enforcement operations. Members of the security forces have frequently denied their role in such deaths. They claimed that when they took a suspect into custody to recover weapons or identify the conspirators, they opened fire on the police, the police returned fire and the suspect was killed in the ensuing gunfight.

  • Human rights organizations and the media have claimed that many of these crossfires are extrajudicial killings. Human rights organizations claim that in some cases law enforcement agencies have detained, interrogated and tortured suspects, brought them back to the scene of their original arrest, executed them and attributed the death to lawful self-defense in response to violent attacks.

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