Saying it is possible to reap more benefits through intra-regional economic cooperation, President Abdul Hamid emphasised on the need to take more effective and coordinated steps for establishing a dynamic and emerging South Asia.
"As this region is looking outward to benefit from the increasing global flows of capital and trade, there is also unexploited potential for reaping benefits from intra-regional economic cooperation within South Asia," said Hamid.
The President said this while addressing the opening session of the Ninth South Asia Economic Summit (SAES IX) at a hotel in Dhaka on Saturday, reports BSS.
"We want a South Asia, where there will be no poverty, where there will be opportunities for decent jobs and decent work, where distribution will be just and governance will be participatory, and where people will live in harmony with nature. We need to generate the needed knowledge and evidence to achieve these ambitions," said the President.
Hamid said Bangladesh has achieved success in meeting many of the key MDG targets and economic and social indicators. These relate to significant acceleration in the GDP growth rate, impressive poverty reduction, reduction in child mortality, high education enrolment and strengthening of gender empowerment, he added.
President Hamid said the "Agenda 2030" adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, now offers Bangladesh new opportunities to consolidate, further accelerate and enhance these achievements over the course of the next 15 years.
"We firmly believe that close cooperation with South Asian neighbouring countries will help us in implementation of the SDG goals and targets," he added.
The President said with close cooperation with the regional neighbouring countries in various areas can contribute to achieve the country’s goals being a middle-income in the next few years.
Terming the theme of SAES IX "Reimagining South Asia in 2030" as very timely and pertinent, President Hamid said this theme is related with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
Bangladesh firmly believes that deepening of South Asian cooperation and regional integration could be effective tools in helping the countries and people of the region to attain the SDG targets, he added.
"I am hopeful that you will be able to come up with solutions from which policymakers can take guidance and use recommendations of SAES IX for taking concrete policy initiatives and practical steps towards sustainable development. We understand that economic prosperity is a key to a peaceful South Asia," the President said.
Organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) with its Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan in the chair, the opening session was also addressed by PM's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Minister of Special Assignments of Sri Lanka Dr Sarath Amunugama, Commerce Minister of Nepal Romi Gauchan Thakali, member of the National Assembly of Pakistan Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Emeritus Professor of Economics of Jawaharlal Nehru University of India Professor Deepak Nayyar and Executive Director of CPD Professor Mustafizur Rahman. - IH