Time to tell success stories
Analysts say showcasing bright image of Bangladesh will brand it better
Star Business Report
Bangladesh has a lot of success stories to share with the rest of the world and time has come to portray achievements to attract more trade and investment, analysts said yesterday.
They also stressed a positive image of the country, better political culture and infrastructure, quality products and their timely delivery to buyers, to brand Bangladesh better.
They came up with the recommendations at a discussion on the sidelines of the inaugural function of the second biennial German Trade Show 2011 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
Bangladesh German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI) organised the three-day show.
The panellists also called for not being too self-critical of the nation’s ability to move forward.
“Bangladesh has a strong story to tell. There are many stories. It is not only in the business, but also in other areas,” said German Ambassador Holger Michael, citing the country’s success in reducing child mortality and putting in place a system of inclusive growth.
He said Bangladesh should share these stories with the German people and the media, which are now showing interest about Bangladesh.
“People are interested to learn about Bangladesh,” he said, referring to the country’s economic growth of 5-7 percent. “They are looking for the reasons for this success story.”
Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Faruk Khan said the country exports products from T-shirts to ships.
He said many Germans think Bangladesh is a country of floods and cyclones.
“That is correct. But it is also correct that we know how to face natural disasters, and in recent times we have proved we know how to face and manage economic disaster,” said Khan.
“Bangladesh tackled the recent recession very well and its exports grew 40 percent during that period. We need to let the German people know (this),” the minister added.
Khan said there are some challenges towards branding Bangladesh abroad. Noting the problem of traffic jam due to a poor road and rail infrastructure and an electricity shortage, he said making of flyovers will ease tailbacks.
He also said, if the Bangladeshi companies fail to deliver products timely to their buyers, it will create a negative impression among the foreigners.
The minister also feared another recession in the global economy and its possible impact on the balance of payments of Bangladesh, which has a huge trade gap due to higher import payments.
But he said the Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have the ability to withstand any shock.
The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam, who moderated the discussion, said: “Bangladesh is being taken seriously in the world today because Bangladesh has changed.”
“Image reflects facts. If the facts are steady and positive, image is bound to become positive,” said Anam.
“Change the fact, the image will change by itself.”
He also stressed increasing self confidence. “Sometimes we underestimate ourselves very much. The world recognises us a little earlier sometimes we ourselves recognise us,” said the editor of the leading English-language daily in Bangladesh.
“We can make it if we work together,” said Anam. “We need to improve our politics to improve our brand image.”
He said Bangladesh has done far better than Greece and Ireland.
“We have established democracy ourselves,” he said.
Noting the recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and a roadshow led by the commerce minister in Germany, BGCCI President Saiful Islam said the event highlighted the economic, political and social achievements of Bangladesh.
“It has also underlined the potential of the country to become the next biggest manufacturing hub after China and India,” said Islam.
The roadshow also helped dispel the negative image of Bangladesh, he added.
“The economy of Bangladesh has reached such a level of maturity that we now need trade, not aid,” said Islam.
Islam said the formation of Bangladesh German Journalist Forum will help portray positive image of Bangladesh.