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op-ed

Foreign aid can help combat anti-Western sentiment

Since its inception, foreign aid has been seen as a tool for winning the “hearts and minds” of people in far-away countries. In attempting to address terrorism, where it is difficult to identify who the enemy might be, governments need to utilize various methods for reducing the likelihood that individuals will become radicalized and seek to attack Western targets. In addition, improving sentiments toward the West among the population of countries where nascent anti-Western movements exist might limit the number of people willing to condone or ignore terrorism. Our research in Bangladesh, a majority-Muslim country that has seen a recent wave of anti-Western attacks, including Friday’s hostage situation that resulted in the deaths of 20

Women’s empowerment in Bangladesh

On a gloomy weather in a hilly suburb in Tarabonia, three women keep themselves busy stitching clothes. The informal shop-cum tailoring outlet is the only one of its kind in the neighbourhood and so the shop has a good record of sales of apparels. Minu Bai Marma, a 27 year-old housewife who runs the rented shop, gives a smile and attends to her regular customers. Customers keep ordering for new dresses, especially before festivals and Minu and her husband earn a fairly good amount of profits to run the family. Seven years ago, Minu’s family life was not so happy. Minu and her husband, Athuse Marma, had to resort to heavy lifting work in cattle farms or plow arable hilly land. “We literally had no earnings. We had to work as day labourers to make living. It was like no work, no pay. T...

The real face of Bangladesh – moderate, secular

The high-profile arrests and deportation of 27 Bangladeshi workers from Singapore for planning violent attacks overseas may have caused some Singaporeans to wonder about Bangladesh and its people. This professor says the truth is that the country is a secular, moderate nation with a Muslim-majority population. The arrests of 27 Bangladeshi workers under the Internal Security Act is the first instance that a radical militant terror cell comprising foreigners has been uncovered in Singapore. The Ministry of Home Affairs said last Wednesday that the authorities had arrested the Bangladeshis between Nov 16 and Dec 1 last year for supporting the armed jihad ideology of

US-BD strategic partnership

Bangladesh and the United States continue their deep and sustained diplomatic engagement. The mutual respect and close friendship was characterized by President Barack Obama in 2010: “The people of Bangladesh earned their independence, and since then, our two nations have shared a commitment to democratic values and created an enduring friendship.” Indeed, when the Awami League Government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office in 2009, Congressman Joe Crowley spearheaded passage of a resolution expressing the U.S. House of Representative’s support for Bangladesh’s democracy. “The Bangladeshi people have shown remarkable resilience, creativity, and principle. This is exactly the kind of country

Time-honored ties between Japan, Bangladesh

Japan is the single largest development partner of Bangladesh. The two countries are also engaged for the promotion of peace and prosperity through various bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. Financial and technical assistance from Japan has proved a force multiplier for Bangladesh in advancing its national development agenda. Now recent leaps forward in business relations have led to a rapid growth of trade and investment. Development partners [caption id="attachment_17274" align="alignleft" width="628"]bd-japan Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shakes hands w...

Lack of a Bangladesh sovereign bond

Bangladesh has a good story to tell foreign investors, but the lack of a sovereign bond is preventing the country from putting itself on the map. Its capital markets are open to both inflows and outflows. There are no restrictions on repatriating capital or dividends. The taka is stable, government debt is low, its global credit ratings are stable, and the local-currency bond market offers attractive yields: 7.2% for the government two-year bond and 8.4% for the 10-year. But these markets are also small. The bond market is only $18 billion, or about 10% of the bb<...