Malabar Gold and Diamonds, one of the largest jewellery retailers in the world, said it will invest up to $100 million in the next three to five years in Bangladesh, a senior company official announced at the 3rd Bangladesh Economic Forum that concluded at the Movenpick Grand Hotel in Dubai.

Another Dubai-based company, Danube Homes – the home improvement arm of Danube Group – also announced its foray into Bangladesh with a franchise partnership agreement with Dhaka-based Daffodil Group signed at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

The partnership agreement will see Danube Homes rolls out multiple stores across Bangladesh.

More than 300 delegates comprising business leaders from the UAE and Bangladesh were present at the forum in which Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen and Salman F Rahman, Advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister on Investment and Private Industries, delivered keynote speech.

Dr Momen, in his keynote speech, urged the UAE investors to invest in Bangladesh. “Our bilateral relations with the UAE is currently at the highest level. Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is currently leading a large delegation to the UAE to further deepen our ties with the UAE.

“The business community should take advantage of the strong UAE-Bangladesh relations and come closer to tap the untapped economic potential and create a win-win situation.”

The high-profile event also saw presentations by Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Sheikh Yousuf Haroon, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) and Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, Chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

Rahman urged UAE investors to visit Bangladesh and see the new Bangladesh for themselves. “The Bangladesh that you see today, is a changed Bangladesh. However, unless you visit and see the changed Bangladesh, you wouldn’t realise the new ground reality. So, I urge all of you to come and visit Bangladesh and see what Bangladesh has to offer and how you could benefit from the growing opportunities in Bangladesh where 165 million people are becoming economically empowered.

“Our team will be happy to host you and show you around for you to see the changing dynamism and the economic opportunities.”

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and senior officials of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) led a 75-member delegation to Bangladesh Economic Forum.

Malabar Gold and Diamond is currently searching for a suitable location to set up its jewellery manufacturing unit, to be followed by the opening of its showroom in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is a very promising market for us. Bangladeshis represent a sizeable customer base amongst our global customer base. We see the demand for quality gold and diamond jewellery is growing rapidly in Bangladesh, which prompted us to enter the country,” Ameer CMC, Director of Finance and Administration, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, said.

“We expect faster return on investment in Bangladesh due to low-cost of operation that could result in higher return and increase our global footprint. We believe it is the right time to enter the market.”

Adel Sajan, Managing Director of Danube Group and Sabur Khan, Chairman of Daffodil Group, Bangladesh signed an agreement to cement their partnership at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

Sajan said: “Bangladesh offers a very promising future and we have decided to move into Bangladesh at the right time with the right partner.

“By this summer, we are going to open our first showroom in Dhaka and I hope to open more outlets in Bangladesh as the economy is growing fast, in fact so fast that the per capita GDP jumped four times in just 10-12 years.”

Both the deals were facilitated and structured by Bangladesh Economic Form and its founder Saifur Rahman, who welcomed the delegates at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

“The whole objective of launching Bangladesh Economic Forum was to bring the business communities of the UAE and Bangladesh close. Bangladeshi exporters have not been focusing on the UAE and GCC markets for a long time. It is time for them to come to the UAE and use the global connectivity of Dubai and use it as a hub to penetrate the Middle East, Africa and Central Asian market," he said.

“We are talking to many UAE investors to invest in Bangladesh and we are willing to find partners for your investment.” 

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