Bangladesh has made remarkable strides: Haas
US Ambassador Peter Haas yesterday said Bangladesh's economic development over the last 50 years has been remarkable and that the US has been a proud partner in this transformation.
"We look forward to working with Bangladesh over the next 50 years and beyond," he added.
The US envoy said this while delivering the opening remarks at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum Infrastructure Panel titled "Mobilising Infrastructure Investment in Bangladesh and the Indo-Pacific".
For the past 50 years, Haas said the US has partnered with the governments and the people of Bangladesh by providing over $8 billion to tackle issues like public health, education, energy, environment, food security, natural disasters, and more.
"We're also working with the government through technical assistance programmes to create more efficient logistics systems and unleash private investment in areas like clean energy, ports, and railways," Haas added.
In Bangladesh, as in other low and middle-income countries across the region, infrastructure is critical to driving inclusive and sustainable development.
Infrastructure connects workers to good jobs; allows businesses to grow and thrive; and creates opportunities for all segments of society, including underserved communities.
"But delivering high-quality infrastructure takes more than just financial investment. It also requires working to support the necessary institutional and policy frameworks, regulatory environment, and human capacity to structure projects to attract private investment," said the ambassador.
It requires strong engineering, environmental, social, governance, and labour standards to ensure a positive impact, he added.
Infrastructure comes in many forms and sizes, from the large-scale energy systems that power inclusive economies to the local healthcare networks that contribute to global health security, to cellular towers and undersea cables that move our data and enable a seamless, open worldwide exchange of information.
Meeting infrastructure needs across the Indo-Pacific requires a wide range of public and private financing options.
"No one country can go it alone. That's why in June 2022, President Biden announced the United States aims to mobilise an additional $200 billion in investment as part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment," said the envoy.
The US has always been a strong supporter of development finance through the multilateral system, Haas added.
The US embassy co-hosted two panels for this year's Indo-Pacific Business Forum with the Japanese embassy in Bangladesh featuring Ambassador Haas, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori and Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan.
Panellists discussed how to ensure infrastructure investment benefits bring a positive impact across society, and how connecting major corporations with women-owned businesses can foster women's economic empowerment.