Nordic firms to invest more in Bangladesh

Around 91 percent of Nordic companies doing business in Bangladesh are contemplating to increase their activities in Bangladesh over the coming 3-years period. The reason behind increasing activities in Bangladesh could be due to 34% of the respondents experiencing higher profits compared to other markets they are active in, a rise from 25% in 2013.

There has been a 9% rise in favorability of doing business in Bangladesh since 2013 with 56% of the Nordic businesses reporting a very favorable outlook in 2015.

Left to Right: Norwegian Ambassador, H.E. Merete Lundemo; Danish Ambassador, H.E. Hanne Fugl Eskjær; Honorable Commerce Minister, Tofail Ahmed, MP; NCCI President, Shamim Ul Huq; Swedish Ambassador, H.E. Johan Frisell | At the Launch of Nordic Business Confidence Survey 2015 hosted in the Nordic Embassies in Gulshan in the City

The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bangladesh (NCCI) together with the Sweden Bangladesh Business Council (SBBC) and the three Nordic Embassies (Embassy of Sweden, Royal Norwegian Embassy and Royal Danish Embassy) conducted the survey titled “Business Confidence Survey 2015”. The first of its kind survey was conducted in 2013.

Honorable Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed, MP formally launched the survey at a function as the chief guest. The Minister, in his speech. praised the Nordic countries, saying that Nordic countries are good friends of Bangladesh and they have been helping Bangladesh since the independence of the country. He called upon the Nordic companies to increase their investments in the country.

The most common reason for starting a business in Bangladesh is the market demand, 16% of the respondents entered Bangladesh for cost efficient production and 12% of the respondents for efficient sourcing, according to the survey.

About 56% survey participants consider the business climate in Bangladesh as favorable. Some 53% of the participants believe that the power supply situation has improved significantly over the last 2 years, a rise of almost 19% from the last survey in 2013.

The scenario, however, is not a 100% optimistic as many companies have identified scope of improvements in certain areas which the national decision makers should look into in order for Bangladesh to remain an attractive business and investment destination.

The survey suggests that Telecom and IT/ITES is the biggest sector for Nordic companies in Bangladesh (32% of respondents) while RMG/Textiles account for 25%. Of course in terms of volume/turnover, RMG is most likely the biggest sector.

The event organized at the Nordic Embassies in the city’s Gulshan area was addressed among others by NCCI President Shamim Ul Huq, Swedish Ambassador H. E. Johan Frisell and the Danish Ambassador H. E. Hanne Fugl Eskjaer. The occasion was also hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador H.E.Merete Lundemo.

Later, Nordic entrepreneurs took part in a lively discussion around prospect and challenges of doing business in Bangladesh.

The main objectives of the survey were to monitor the business confidence of Nordic companies in Bangladesh, to assess Bangladesh’s future role among the emerging Asian economies, to gather the joint experience and knowledge of Nordic companies in order to facilitate future establishment of Nordic companies in Bangladesh and to be able to better understand trends in the Bangladeshi business environment, as the survey will be repeated in 2017.

The survey was sent to a total of 62 companies, of which 52 are members of the Nordic Chamber (NCCI) and 9 non-members. Out of the invited companies, 32 responded corresponding to a response rate of 55.77% among members of the NCCI and 30% from non-members. The survey was conducted between 7 June and 31 October 2015.

The next Business Confidence Survey will be published in 2017.