Bangladesh is a land of opportunity and enthusiasm. This was the recurrent theme that was echoed by a good number of Dutch investors in an investment seminar held in The Hague yesterday. Bangladesh Embassy in the Hague hosted a seminar titled: “Bangladesh: Opportunities and Best Practices” organized in collaboration with Nyenrode University of the Netherlands. This event brought as many as 50 Dutch investors.
Dutch investors were unanimous in their appreciation for the entrepreneurial spirit and high level of enthusiasm and commitment they happily witnessed in the people of Bangladesh. The investors, it seems, anchored their attention to Bangladesh as a “land of untapped potential with huge market size of its own.” According to them, Bangladesh is slowly but surely emerging as the gateway to South Asia given its geostrategic location with both China and India on either side of her border.
The rise of ASEAN common market makes it even more auspicious for the potential investors to consider Bangladesh as their next investment destination.
Mr. Andre Nijhof of Nyenrode acted as the moderator of a lively panel discussion. When asked why they choose Bangladesh as their investment destination, Mr. Peter Van Bergen, proprietor of Budgetview and Impel IT solutions with big IT offices both in Dhaka and in Amsterdam, highlighted that he found the commitment of the people of Bangladesh as highly praiseworthy and also he found the level of spoken English very satisfactory.
Mr. Peter also stated that compared to other countries he found working in Bangladesh “easier”. Mr. Vicenta Ariza, representative of Maruboshi Europe BV in Bangladesh was very candid to say that he found “commitment” and “enthusiasm” of people of Bangladesh unparallel. Mr. Ariza was unhesitant in his appreciation of the huge potential of Bangladesh when he said that he will continue his stay in Bangladesh for at least next 10/15 years. Mr. Ariza also informed the audience that despite “strike” or “hartals” his shippers in Bangladesh never failed to deliver.
When the question of “strike” was posed, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal sought their understanding and reassured them about government’s steady resolve to maintain peace and stability in the country. Ambassador Belal drew their attentions to the European Union resolutions where the Union was candid in indentifying the roots of instability when they urged BNP to unequivocally distance itself from Jamaat-e-Islami and Hafezat-e-Islam. Copies of the resolutions were made available to the participants.
Professor Desiree, Associate Dean of Degree Programmes, Nyenrode University reaffirmed the same sentiments highlighting the enormous potential of Bangladesh. Prof. Desiree informed the audience that Nyenrode University will continue their partnership with Bangladesh as a country, in her words “represents the future of Asia”. Mr. Andre Nijhof of of the same university acted as the moderator of a lively panel discussion.
Mr. Rene Beerepoot of RVO made a presentation on Dutch assistance for firms to expand their business in Bangladesh. Mr. Beerepoot informed that there is a Dutch fund of 750 million Euro for Dutch businesses to expand their business in the world’s 66 countries including Bangladesh. Dutch SMEs, if approved’ could receive low interest loan for up to 10-15 million Euro for business in Bangladesh.
Overall mood of the audience was highly in favour of more investment and business with Bangladesh. Dutch investors in Information Technology, Logistics, waste management, water management, business consultancy etc participated in the event. Besides the business community, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CBI, RVO, PUM, Schiphol Airport, Bangladesh Next have also attended the seminar.