Untapped Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh

Untapped Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh

Left to right: David Fernandez, Ahsan Mansur, Peter Berezin (Elsa Ruiz/Asia Society)

Discussion on Investment Climate, Capital Markets, and Growth Sectors

NEW YORK - The World Bank calls it the Bangladesh Paradox. The Bangladesh economy has steadily accelerated in recent years, with growth reaching 7% in 2006. In spite of the country's troubled political environment and extreme poverty, the country scores particularly well on socio-economic indicators. Global banks and multilateral institutions present a highly optimistic outlook: Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Merrill Lynch have identified Bangladesh as a key investment opportunity.

This impressive growth occurs in a climate of political restructuring. A caretaker government is implementing reforms toward privatizing many state-owned enterprises. The Dhaka Stock Exchange Index is at a 10-year high, up 66% last year, making it Asia's top performer after China. And the stock market is expected to double in size in 2008.

A group of senior panelists from the private and public sectors convened at the Asia Society to analyze why market-oriented reforms, strong socio-economic indicators and highly favorable demographics are poised to render Bangladesh one of the world's most exciting investment opportunities.

Speakers:
M. Humayun Kabir, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the US
Peter Berezin, Vice President and Senior Global Economist, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Arif Dowla, Group Managing Director, ACI Ltd.
David Fernandez, Head, Asia Sovereign Research, JP Morgan
Iftakharul Islam, Founder and Managing Partner, Asian Tiger Capital Partners
Ahsan Mansur, Division Chief, Middle East and Central Asia, International Monetary Fund
Munawar Misbah Moin, Group Director, Rahimafrooz (BD) Limited
Mamun Rashid, CEO, Citibank, N.A., Bangladesh
Moderator: Nikhil Deogun, Editor, "Money & Investing," Wall Street Journal

January 24, 2008
by Stephanie Valera