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Bangladesh the “Development Miracle”

13 September 2019

Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General: Asia and Middle East led a South African delegation to Bangladesh to attend and co – chair the 5th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) between South Africa and Bangladesh on 3 September 2019, in Dhaka. South Africa hosted a successful 4th Senior Officials Meeting on 12 July 2017.

Photo: Deputy Minister Sotyu, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Mr Momen and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina at the opening session of the third IORA Blue Economy Meeting held from 4-5 September 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh will take over the Vice Chair of IORA at the meeting in the UAE in November and become the Chair in 2021.

Ambassador Sooklal also participated in the commemoration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Bangladesh, as well as the Third Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Ministerial Conference (BEC-III) under the theme; “Promoting Sustainable Blue Economy- making the best use of opportunities from the Indian Ocean".The Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Sotyu led the South African delegation to the BEC-III.



Photo: Exchanging the Joint Communique at the conclusion of the 5th Senior officials meeting between SA and Bangladesh on 3 September

The SOM has proven to be an effective instrument and umbrella body in contributing directly to the improved two-way trade and investment, and has given practical substance to the political commitment on the part of the two countries to work together.  The 5th SOM provided the opportunity for expanding relations with Bangladesh and identified new areas for political and economic cooperation. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Bangladesh has grown significantly over the past 25 years from a mere R28 million in 1994 to R4.6 billion in 2018, with South African exports amounting to more than R3.2 billion and South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of R1.8 billion.

South Africa has identified Bangladesh as a country with enormous potential for the expansion of trade and economic relations.  Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina, the Government of Bangladesh has recorded a steady GDP growth of over 6.6 per cent over the past decade.

The Government of Bangladesh is implementing a national development plan Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, having already attained the status of a low middle-income country and crossed the thresholds for graduating out of Least Developed Country category. Due to the socio-economic achievements of the present Government, Bangladesh is now recognised worldwide as a “Development Miracle”.



Photo: Ambassador Anil Sooklal at the Senior officials meeting of the Third IORA Blue Economy Meeting with the SG of IORA Ambassador Nokwe

On the multilateral front, Bangladesh and South Africa share a common vision on a range of global issues and South Africa regards Bangladesh as an important partner to jointly advance the development agenda of countries of the South in global fora such as the UN, the G77 plus China, Commonwealth, NAM and IORA. Bangladesh will take over the chair of IORA in 2021. The promotion of democracy, human rights, sustainable development and challenging the prevailing global system and power structures, as well as the global financial architecture, are pivotal in the foreign and domestic policies of both countries.




February/March 2020













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