Governor urges foreign banks to help build bond market

Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman has urged international banks to help Bangladesh raise longer-term external financing for corporate houses and develop the domestic bond market.

Rahman spoke at a meeting on business and investment opportunities, organised by Habib Bank AG Zurich’s Bangladesh representative office, at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Friday.

There are ample opportunities for international banks to help boost international trade, raise external financing, develop domestic bond market and engage with the government in fund raising abroad, he said.

It is possible to expand international banks’ domestic presence from representative offices to branch offices so that they can also expand activities here, he said.

He also suggested some potential sectors for new foreign investment: textiles, ceramics, leather products, infrastructure, energy, toll bridges, shipbuilding industry, light engineering, tourism, health care and ports.

Bangladesh has stable sovereign credit ratings, BB- and Ba3 by S&P and Moody’s respectively for the last four consecutive years, he said, while explaining Bangladesh’s suitability for foreign investment.

The World Bank ranks Bangladesh ahead of India, China, and Vietnam in protecting investors’ interest, he said.

Also, the middle class consumer group in Bangladesh is larger than the total population of Malaysia, Singapore and the combined population of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Rahman said.

Electricity generation was more than doubled between 2009 and 2014 (from 4,931MW to 10,341MW) and is projected to reach 19,701MW by 2017, he said.

“Foreign investors can also benefit immensely from demographic dividend of the large youthful workforce in the country.”