Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

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After dramatic diplomatic achievement in Middle East and Arab world, Israel is gradually moving to build a shared future between Israel and Asian nations, and successfully preparing Israel for a secure and prosperous future in the 'Asian Century'.

For more than 20 years, Israel’s ties with countries in Asia have gradually increased, enough to warrant talk of Israel’s own pivot to the region. But it is not just a pivot. Instead, it is a major realignment of Israel’s foreign policy on a broad scale, supported by geopolitical developments and motivated by Israel’s slowly eroding political relations with Europe and the United States. According to World Polities Review Israel deepens Asia ties in gradual realignment of Foreign Policy.

Two years ago, on 13 August 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel and the US released a joint statement publicly announcing the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern countries. On 15 September 2020 the Emirati Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, signed the peace agreement known as the 'Abraham Accords' at an official ceremony chaired by the former US President Donald Trump at the White House.

The formalisation of the UAE-Israel entente has brought about a major reconfiguration of the political and security makeup of the Middle East by broadening the scope of Israel’s allies in the Arabian Peninsula. The Emirati and Israeli leaderships welcomed the 'Abraham Accords' and presented the diplomatic achievement to their citizens as a powerful political construct that would allow the two countries to better deliver on their national priorities.

The UAE and Bahrain’s mutual recognition deal with Israel broke 50 years’ policy. Following Sudan, Saudi Arabia became the next Arab state to normalise relations. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister pops up on Saudi state-run television from Tel Aviv. An Israeli-American declares himself the “chief rabbi of Saudi Arabia” after arriving on a tourist visa. A prominent Saudi family invests in two Israeli companies and doesn’t bother to hide it. According to media reports Israel and Saudi Arabia: No Longer Enemies But Not Quite Friends Previously clandestine links are increasingly visible as rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties.

Meanwhile, Israel is also willing to work towards establishing ties with Southeast Asia's Muslim majority nations, its ambassador to Singapore said media frequently.

All these recent events would have been unthinkable not long ago. But previously clandestine links between Saudi Arabia and Israel are increasingly visible as some of the Middle East’s deep-seated rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties. Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to accelerate his plans to overhaul an oil-reliant economy, while Israel is keen to build on 2020’s diplomatic breakthroughs with smaller Gulf nations.

“We do not view Israel as an enemy, but rather as a potential ally,” Prince Mohammed said in a striking reassessment of one of the region’s most consequential fault-lines.

On the other hand, in the case of Indonesia, despite the lack of diplomatic ties with Israel, there is currently about $500 million of direct and indirect annual bilateral trade between the two countries (not including defense). But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Tremendous untapped potential exists between Israel and Indonesia in sectors such as education, healthcare, agtech, foodtech, water technology, fintech, cybersecurity and mobility, to name just a few.

Ms. Rebecca Zeffert, the founder and executive director of the 'Israel-Asia Center', an Israeli not-for-profit organization dedicated to informing, empowering and connecting the Israel-Asia leaders of tomorrow toward building a more sustainable future in the 'Asian Century' wrote, "I was in Indonesia to lead a unique delegation of Israelis in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country: alumni and advisers of our Israel-Indonesia Futures program. This was the second year that we had run this program with this Southeast Asian giant – despite the lack of diplomatic ties with Israel. The program had been borne out of COVID, when all of the Israel-Asia Center’s leadership programs had to be put on hold."

Currently, the 2022 host of the G20, Indonesia is projected to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2030. This growth is not surprising when you look at the figures. With a population of 275 million spread across 17,500 islands, Indonesia ranks as the fourth-largest country in the world – and the world’s third-largest democracy, she mentioned in her article published in a leading Israeli newspaper adding "Indonesia has 202 million Internet users and an Internet economy growth rate of 49% per year – projected to reach $330 billion by 2030. The country also has the world’s fastest-growing smartphone adoption rate, estimated to reach 239 million users by 2026."

However, Rebecca further pointed out that this economic giant is still being largely overlooked by Israelis. In all of our meetings that week, responses from our Indonesian counterparts were warm, welcoming, overwhelmingly positive and inspiring – and opened our eyes to the future we can build between our two nations. What’s more, they are eager to visit Israel and take these relationships to the next level.

Diplomatic ties, if and when they eventually happen, won’t take place overnight and shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as the only option for Israel. Unlike the UAE and Bahrain, Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy. Any normalization with Israel would likely follow formal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, in the case of Indonesia, it would be a gradual process. Israel should be open to other arrangements that could look similar to what we have with Taiwan: an economic and cultural representative office in each country, rather than high-profile diplomatic ties. Whatever that future looks like, so much is possible in the interim. And as ties do warm up gradually, existing barriers will be removed. Israel has a unique opportunity to start preparing for that moment.

Ultimately, this is all about people-to-people relationship-building. The Israel-Asia Center is paving the way for that, and we are seeking partners who wish to work with us in growing these relationships and investing in the human capital that is bringing these two countries together in a way that’s making the world better for everyone.

Apart from specific observations on Indonesia, Rebecca Zeffert focused on Israel-Asia Relations that according to her 'balancing economic And National Security of the region'. In an interview with Mercy A. Kuo that published on May 21, 2018 in a prestigious journal named 'The Diplomat', Rebecca Zeffert identify three key areas of cooperation in Israel–Asia relations: It is hard to speak of cooperation between Israel and Asia as a whole. Asia is a vast continent and each country in the region has unique bilateral relations with Israel, while some don’t have diplomatic relations with Israel at all. What is important to note about these relationships in recent years, is that we see a clear acknowledgment from both the public and private sectors in Israel of the strategic importance that Asia holds, both politically and economically.

This is evident through the numerous visits over recent years by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin to China, India, Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam, and recent visits to Israel by [Indian] Prime Minister Modi, [Japanese] PM Shinzo Abe, [Chinese] Vice Premier Liu Yandong, [Singaporean] PM Lee Hsien Loong and senior members of Vietnam’s politburo.

When we look at Asia’s superpowers, the Israeli government has been very clear about its intention to advance these relations, going as far as to pass a specific resolution obligating different ministries to allocate funds to enhance relations with China, India, and Japan specifically.

We are also seeing increased efforts on the Israeli side to engage with Asia beyond the traditional areas of agritech, defense, and security. These include collaboration across a range of innovation and technology sectors, in education, and even in disaster relief, resilience-building, and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, automotive, telecoms and electronics companies – from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Singapore – are establishing R&D centers in Israel to tap into the country’s tech talent and innovation ecosystem.

Explaining key commercial trends in Israel’s relations with China Rebecca said: as the world’s most populous nation and second largest economy, China’s commercial interests in Israel – the “Start-Up Nation” – are largely focused on Israel as a source of technology and innovation. Israel’s commercial interest in China is clear: Israel’s market is too small for its flourishing tech and innovation ecosystem and Israeli companies tend to think global from the outset. As the world looks east for market opportunities and financial resources, so too does Israel.

The traditional areas of collaboration between the two countries (even before diplomatic relations were established) were agriculture and water technologies, especially measures to combat desertification in the more arid parts of China. As China increasingly seeks solutions to challenges of food security, clean water, an aging population, air quality, and mounting strains on its growing mega-cities, these traditional areas are taking new shape and scale to include not only agritech and water-tech but also biotech, medtech, cleantech, artificial intelligence, smart city technology, waste management, and food security and safety. A clear demonstration of this has been seen in investments in and acquisitions of Israeli homegrown brands by Chinese companies – such as Tnuva dairy products. Other commercial trends beyond tech include China’s interest in Israeli insurance and infrastructure development (including sea ports, tunnels, and railways).

Explaining the focal points of Israel’s relations with Japan and India, Rebecca said: after years of what can only be described as stagnant relations resulting from the from the Arab Boycott and Japan’s dependence on Arab oil, the Japan-Israel relationship has finally started to thaw – and even flourish – with two visits by PM Shinzo Abe to Israel in the past three years. The relationship, which still has a long way to go in fully realizing its potential, is based mainly on trade, technology, and innovation – particularly cybersecurity technology in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics. But there is also potential for growing collaboration in fields such as intelligence and defense. However, two key obstacles from Israel’s perspective, that are preventing advancements in trade and tourism in particular, are the lack of direct flights between the two countries and the travel warning issued by Japan on visiting Israe

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a multipolar world order. As such, Israel’s relations with the United States, China, India, and other nations are not a zero–sum game. Israel has always enjoyed a strong and close relationship with the United States – and will continue to do so. However, there is no reason why this relationship should come at the cost of Israel’s growing relations with China, India, and other countries in the Asia region. My feeling is that these are each bilateral relationships that will only continue to flourish, explained Rebecca'.

It is important to note here that with an important geographic position, Israel is a country in the Middle East and is considered the Holy Land by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The country’s capital city is Jerusalem, while its financial and technology hub is Tel Aviv. The official languages spoken in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Israel has a total land area of 20,770-22,072 square kilometers, 440 square kilometers of which are water. In 2017, the country has an estimated population of 8,760,000, and a population density of 395 people per square kilometer.

Israel is located on the continent of Asia having close connection with other continents of the worls. Israel is, however, geographically located in Asia. The country borders Lebanon to the north, Jordan to east, Syria to the northeast, and Egypt to the southwest. Israel also borders the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank to the west and east, respectively. The continent of Asia covers regions that range from Turkey in the far west, through Japan and Russia, to the islands of Indonesia in the south. Israel is located on the far left of Asia.

Since Israel's independence in 1948, it has been in conflict with most of its Arab neighbors in the Middle East. Moreover, in spite of Israel being located in Asia, the country has strong cultural, historical, and economic ties with Europe. In fact, since the 1990s, Israel has been competing in European sporting contests. Currently, the country is a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Furthermore, Israel borders one of Africa’s largest countries. As such, there is some level of confusion about the continent in which Israel is located. This confusion was further increased by a 2013 article by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming that Israel “…lies at the location of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.”

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong and Associate Editor,

James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

News desk,
James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

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James Gardiner, Economic Officer, who focuses on technology issues for the U.S. Embassy, spoke about the importance of continuing education and skills development and access to U.S. digital platforms for Bangladeshis in the ICT sector. Mr. Gardiner made the statement last evening at the Certificate and Award Giving Ceremony organized by CodersTrust at Banani Main Office.

During the ceremony, about 150 trainees who recently completed their training at CodersTrust, received certificates. The event was attended by the Founder and Chairman of CodersTrust, Mr Aziz Ahmad, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Adviser of CodersTrust, Dr. Abdul Karim, former Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, ICT Division and Ministry of Education and Adviser of CodersTrust, Mr. Nazrul Islam Khan, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park, Mr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, and Dean of National University, Prof. Dr. Md. Nasiruddin Mitul.

While stressing on the need of develponing our young generation to skilled human redources the guests of honor spoke highly of CodersTrust highlighting many success stories of producing highly skilled human resources in our country and placing them in the global job market. CodersTrust is an Edtech Company working in Bangladesh since 2015 and now expanding its ventures both at home and abroad through collaboration with different international development agencies like the UNDP and Universities in Bangladesh like BRAC University, ULAB and National University. Since its activation, CodersTrust Bangladesh trained over 60,000 people including women who have been self-employed. CodersTrust has been contributing to international online IT jobs and achieved a reputation as one of the most trusted skill development institutes in Bangladesh.

`Sheikh Hasina government’s important goal is to develop the country'

News Desk,
Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing

Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing

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Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP said, The hill region is the land of immense beauty. Bandarban has already been identified as an attractive city for tourists. He said a new plan has been taken to decorate the tourist city Bandarban.

The government has taken initiatives to further modernize various roads and important points and sights in the municipal area. The tourism industry will play an important role in the economic development of the country and the unemployment of the locals of the hill areas.

Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing said this while speaking as the chief guest at a meeting of the Law and Order Committee at the conference room of the Deputy Commissioner organized by the Bandarban district administration.

Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji presided over the function, among others Bandarban Police Super Mr. Tariqul Islam, Bandarban Civil Surgeon Dr. Nihar Ranjan Nandi; Bandarban Municipality Mayor Mohammad Islam Baby, Chittagong Hill Tracts District Council member Laxmipada Das and senior officials of Bandarban district were present on the occasion.

Speaking as the chief guest, Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, MP, also added that the development work of internal roads, including highways, is underway so that tourists can travel comfortably in the tourist city of Bandarban. The important function of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is to develop the country. In continuation of the government's development, once there will be great success in the tourism sector of the hill areas. Minister Bir Bahadur said the tourism sector will be more prosperous in the future.

Bandarban will move forward, and the socio-economic condition of Bandarban and the quality of life of the local people will improve. The Minister Bir Bahadur also added that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman worked for the freedom struggle of this country and his worthy daughter, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been working relentlessly for the development of Bangladesh under the ideals of her father. He called upon all concerned to work unitedly for the overall development of the country.

The law and order situation in the district and recent issues were discussed in the meeting. The health department informed the meeting that 15,000 malaria patients have been identified in the country, out of which 12,000 have been identified in Bandarban. The issue of health awareness is very important in the meeting. The meeting also discussed in details the modernization and expansion of the tourism industry.


Both are promising countries for foreign investors: Guner Ureya

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

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Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya said, Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

He said this in an interview with Bangladesh Travel Writers Association (BDTWA) recently.

In this interview, Lee Guner Ureya also said,

BDTWA president Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal, executive member Shakil Bin Mushtaq and Md. Zakaria Mondol were present in the interview session.

Here is the interview of the Excellency-

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: According to the current state of both country’s bilateral trade status, how does H.E see future trade relations?

Guner Ureya: Considering the fact that only a few years ago, we had almost zero trade between the two countries, we should not underestimate our current trading volume.  According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics in 2021 trade volume between the two countries was around 13,200,000 Euros. In the first 8 months of 2022, our trade volume was around 11,602,000 Euro. These figures are very promising. Kosovo is pleased with the improvement in trade and other relations between the two countries and is confident that the trade volume will steadily increase in the upcoming years.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How can we work together for Bangladesh–Kosovo’s bilateral tourism development?

Guner Ureya: The most important factor affecting tourism cooperation is mutual perceptions. It is strengthened by multifaceted cooperation and convergence of mutual perception. Cooperation in cultural, trade, and other fields will both increase interaction and help us get to know each other better. In addition to all these, tourism portfolios of both sides, attractions, modern infrastructure, and promotional events like fairs and familiarization trips, will also lead to the development of our cooperation in the field of tourism.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Which country has the most investment in KOSOVO and in which sector?

Guner Ureya: Most of FDIs are from Switzerland, Germany, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Albania, particularly in real estate and services. There are considerable foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as well.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the challenges you see for more Kosovo investment in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Let me clarify a thing. Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Many people visit to TURKEY from Bangladesh and its only 1h 40 minutes from Istanbul to Kosovo. Can Kosovo consider this for the frequent travelers to visit Kosovo and facilitate their Tourist visa from BANGLADESH?

Guner Ureya: Tourism is very important for the promotion of the values of our countries and for our economies. Sure, we recommend tourists visiting the countries of the region to visit Kosovo as well. We also started to provide visa services at our Embassy in Dhaka. Besides Kosovar visas, those who have multiple Schengen visas can easily visit our beautiful country. Our doors are always open to those who want to see the beauties of Kosovo. I just have to highlight an issue. There are those who see tourism as an area of exploitation for illegal immigration. As Kosovo, we are very strict on this and we do not allow such abuses.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How do you see Bangladesh economically in 10 or 20 years?

Guner Ureya: If you keep this development trend and ensure progress in income sharing, your country will be qualified as developed as planned in 2041. Economic growth will lead to the allocation of more financial tools for better infrastructure. Investments to be made in areas such as education and health will help the development of the whole society. In a word, a more prosperous atmosphere will be provided for everyone.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Have you visited any tourist places in Bangladesh? How were your experiences? Do you have any favorite places in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Alongside historical monuments and sites, Cox's Bazar caught my attention. The routes to the historical places are tiresome, but you feel good after you arrive. Cox's Bazaar is excellent, but there is still a lot of work to be done to attract foreign tourists. Accommodation prices in the hotels are very high there. This is a situation related to the high demand for accommodation from domestic tourists. Honestly speaking, more investments and other arrangements are required to attract foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar. In the tourism sector, "being only beautiful" is not a sufficient criterion for success.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what impressed you the most?

Guner Ureya: The hospitality and friendliness of Bangladeshi people fascinated me the most. Your people are very nice and friendly.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what disappointed you the most?

Guner Ureya: Traffic.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Kosovo citizens live in Bangladesh? What are the major reasons behind their stay?

Guner Ureya: We have a very small number of Kosovars with residence in Bangladesh. Besides diplomats and their family members, there are Kosovars working for international organizations. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the top five exports and Imports between Kosovo and Bangladesh? Are there any potential sectors that both countries are missing?

Guner Ureya: I'm sure that in a few years we'll be counting to 5 or even more articles of import and export between the two countries. Currently, the main trade items are RMG. Of course, there is also the modest pharmaceutical products trade. Food, furniture but also ICT services are among other potential sectors for the trade of goods and services between the two countries. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Bangladeshi students go to Kosovo each year and how many of them got Scholarships?

Guner Ureya: The doors of Kosovo universities are open to international students. We would be pleased to have Bangladeshi students studying in our country. So far, we have identified only one Bangladeshi graduate from one of Kosovo's universities. We hope this number will increase. For the first time, there is ongoing work on a scheme for a scholarship for international students in Kosovo. An announcement will be made once the process is completed.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any High official visit this year and how many were in between the two countries?

Guner Ureya: Recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Kreshnik Ahmeti visited Dhaka. On the other side, Hon'ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh participated Women Peace Security Forum held in Prishtina on 22-23 October 2022.  The Prime Ministers of both countries have sent invitations to each other for an official visit. Both Excellences have very busy schedules. I hope it comes about soon.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any tax-free agreement/FTA between Kosovo and Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: There is an ongoing process of negotiation for the finalization of the Agreement for Economic Cooperation and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the two countries. On the other hand, the Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the European Union is in force and Kosovo’s aim is to be a part of this great European family through the integration process. Therefore, we have to comply with EU criteria regarding FTAs. Our trade arrangements with Bangladesh will proceed in parallel with the arrangements your country will make with the EU.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: We heard one Kosovar Girl has been to Bangladesh and wrote about BANGLADESH, we will be happy to have her write up about Bangladesh and what were her experiences in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Yes, Ms. Lavdi Zymberi visited different parts of Bangladesh and she left here with friendly impressions. As far as I know, she posts her impressions on her own blog. I will forward your write-up request to her.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: BDTWA wishes to invite some Kosovar Travel Writer, Professional photographer to visit Bangladesh for 7 to 10 days and BDTWA wish to visit Kosovo as well to write a travel book and to make a travel blog about Kosovo, can you arrange a FAM trip to Kosovo? 

Guner Ureya: Of course, we are aware that such familiarization trips are important. We have organized such trips for tour operators and journalists from a few countries before. In the future, taking into account the demands and priorities of the stakeholders in the tourism sector, we can organize such an event between Kosovo and Bangladesh as well.


BAT Bangladesh hosts Road Safety Workshop in Dhaka

BAT Bangladesh hosts Road Safety Workshop in Dhaka

BAT Bangladesh hosts Road Safety Workshop in Dhaka

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Road safety is a sustainable development challenge for the Asia-Pacific region, especially for Bangladesh. Amid the rising number of accidents, the country has observed National Road Safety Day on Saturday (October 22nd, 2022) under the theme "Follow the law on the road, return safely home".

According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the government has set goals to reduce road accidents by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 as per the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In alignment with the government's vision, the country's leading multinational organization BAT Bangladesh hosted 'Road Safety Workshop 2022' at the capital's Six Seasons Hotel on Sunday, October 30th. The primary objective of the workshop was to create a collaborative platform where we can showcase our best practices, discuss our shared challenges, and unite together as we work towards common goal of eliminating accidents and serious injuries from road networks. A total of 25 participants from multinational corporations and local businesses, including Unilever Bangladesh ltd., Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages Ltd., Linde Bangladesh Ltd., Daraz Bangladesh Ltd., A.H. Khan & Co. Ltd., RedX and Paperfly Pvt. Ltd attended the workshop.

Mr. Bora Gulpinar, Regional Head of Sustainability-BAT and Swad Us Sami, Country Sustainability Manager-BAT Bangladesh, delivered opening speeches and shared their expectations.

The forum acknowledged the need for a collaborative approach to look for road safety best practices and bringing in digitalization to take control over road safety. Also, all organizations agreed on feasibility analysis for engaging and empowering the female drivers for achieving greater gender equality. Rumana Sharmin, Sustainability manager- TM&D and Secondary Supply chain, facilitated the workshop and engaged the panel members in a series of discussions emphasizing the urgent need for developing the capability of the relevant personnel associated with road safety. To achieve the goals of reducing road accidents by ensuring technological advancement, drawing world-class internal controls for road safety through collaborative opportunities between MNCs and government sectors, the participant groups considered new outcomes and sustainable solutions for an improved vision of road safety.

In the closing statement, Mr. Charles Kyalo, Head of Operations-BAT Bangladesh, said, "With the increase of economic growth in Bangladesh, the number of vehicles is rapidly increasing. Road accidents happen due to various reasons, including reckless overtaking, inefficiency in driving, lack of adequate rest for drivers, violation of traffic laws by pedestrians and social unawareness. Developed communication infrastructure and up-to-date transport services are perquisites to sustainable socio-economic development. Prioritizing on that, our government has ushered in a new era in constructing and re-constructing new roads and bridges, including construction of Metrorail, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, elevated expressways, flyovers, overpasses, bridges and underpasses. Also, the government formed the task force to bring discipline in the road transport sector, training efficient drivers and control accidents."

"It is highly appreciable how different multinational organizations have come forward in creating greater awareness to prevent road accidents and create safer roads in the country", he added.