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Contents TIMES

06 From the Editor WORD OF MOUTH 08 State of Affairs 10 Banking Corner 14 IBT Around the World 117 Happening

INTERVIEWS 28 H.E. Harsh Vardhan Shringla

High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh

32 Shwapna Bhowmick

Country Manager Bangladesh and Myanmar, Marks & Spencer

40 Dr. Tawhid Khan

Principal Engineer, Dyson

COVER FOCUS 36 What's the Hold-Up: The Economics of Congestion 44 The Rising Mega-Watt Industry

48 Hussain Elius

SPECIAL REPORT 108 Creating a World of Learning: An Opportunity to Rejoin the Classroom

82 Prakash Advani

PHOTO STORY 98 Saving the Staple

94 Ejaj Ahmad

CEO, Pathao

60 Dewan Nurul Islam FCA

President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants Bangladesh (ICAB) Co-Founder and CEO, PicoNets

86 Constantinos S. Gavriel

General Manager, Le Meridien Dhaka Founder & President, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC)

Contents TIMES

a global business magazine from bangladesh


Vol. 8 No. 07 | March 2018

Publisher & Editor Director, International Publications Executive Director Managing Editor Assistant Editor Sub Editor Business Development Manager Designer Business Development

Finance & Accounts Sales & Distribution

: : : : : : : : : : : : :

Abul Khair Zeenat Chowdhury Nawshin Khair Tawhidur Rashid Shaikh Ashfaque Zaman Ishrat Jahan Asaduzzaman Sk. Yeahhia Md. Nizam Uddin Forhad Mohammad Imran Rezaul Haque Heron Md. Abdul Alim Md. Rubel Khan

Photo: Save the Children This issue’s Photographs by Din M Shibly Kazi Mukul Tutul Nesar Eivan Sardar

Editorial & Marketing Queries


20 Lessons Learned: Dave McCaughan 22 FranGlobal hosted Franchise Bangladesh 24 Contractionary Monetary Statement Announced 54 The Next Giant Leap 58 The Women Who are Transcending Borders: Female Migrants in Today's World 65 Astounding, Proactive, and Innovative: The biggest name in Bangladesh pharma creates a formula for international expansion. 70 Bangladesh2018- The Year of Sentiment 72 Separating Support from Scandal: How the Actions of One Should not Define an Organization? 80 The 10 Trends Forecasted To Steer Digital Marketing in 2018 90 How to Make Cities More Sustainable, Livable and Progressive 114 NRB Engagement: How Bangladeshis Abroad can Create a Better Nation or send us a note at

Be sure to visit our website

Published by Abul Khair on behalf of ICE Media Limited Kushal Centre, Plot 29, Sector 3, Uttara C/A, Dhaka- 1230 and printed at M.K. Printers,189/1, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208 Editorial and Commercial office: 3rd Floor, House: 4, Block: B, Road: 23 A, Banani, Dhaka 1213 Advertising, Sales, Subscription and Distribution: 01812656961, 01615732425, 01759391168, 01850824294, 01711311256, 01726738970 Tel: 02 55035336-8, 09666773313

* Not all the views expressed in the columns and interviews are the views of the magazine.

FROM THE EDITOR The distance from the northern tip of Uttara to the southern origins of the Buriganga River (Old Dhaka) is exactly 23.1 kilometers, which can take up, as Google suggests, approximately an hour and a half. With the average traffic speed of Dhaka reducing from 21 km per hour to a meager 7 km per hour, reaching one’s destination takes up ages. The illustration we used on the cover depicts jam-packed roads during peak hours as if they were clogged arteries. The capital city is only 300 square kilometers and houses nearly 20 million inhabitants. Traveling inside the city has become an everyday guessing game where commuting from point a to b can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. WIth this unpredictable dynamic, the expression ‘time is money’ is more of reality than we think. According to a study from JICA, Dhaka loses $11.4 billion dollars a year due to traffic congestion.The city’s population is expected to increase to 30 million by 2030, this will only lead to the rise of congestion and wasted hours on the road (the current average being 3.2 million). Traffic congestion is one one of the most arduous challenges standing in the way of urban development. Therefore a multi-level solution is essential. Dhaka is only 7% road, which is less than most cities around the world. While there are many strides to solve traffic problems through multiple highway projects like the Moghbazar Highway and Banani- Mirpur Flyover. Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 ranks Bangladesh as the second-worst roads in Asia. On the index of 1-7, we have scored 3.1, which resonates the need for road infrastructure. Furthermore, we must draw our attention to sensitizing drivers. Implementing learning programs to educate drivers will create safe and efficient driving environment. Nevertheless, an incentive culture is a requisite to attract them to a more cautious and alert behavior. As the ground zero for climate change, we must consider the pollution the tremendous amounts of traffic are causing. Big names such as Nissan Motor Corporation, BMW, Kia Motors, and Chevrolet have followed in the footsteps of Tesla in the production of electric cars. China has the largest electric car market demonstrating its stride towards a cleaner mode of travel. Electric cars stopped being a product of the distant future many years ago. However, the concept is slowly becoming more and more prevalent every day, in regards to inadequate urban road planning and the alarming rate of increased traffic congestion. With local companies taking up the helms of manufacturing cars, that day might not be far away when we too become the producers of electric vehicles. Nevertheless, we must solve the urban commuting conundrum with a more efficient traffic control system and road infrastructure; both technology and human participation will have to play a big role in the process.


Word of mouth Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently inaugurated the Dhaka Tea Expo 2018 on 18 February where she introduced a new clone variety (BT-21) of tea at the ceremony.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attending the press conference followed by the 41st Board of Director meeting of International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD) that took place in Rome,Italy.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the courtesy call, arranged for the reporters coming from Kolkata and New Delhi, who participated in the Bangladesh-India Media Dialogue organized by the Institute of Conflict, Law and Development Studies (ICLDS) for the occasion of the International Mother Language Day 2018

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placing wreaths at the Dhaka Shaheed Minar on the occasion of International Mother Language Day



Word of mouth BRAC Bank Limited held “TARA Convention 2018” on 25 January 2018, saluting the female employees for their contribution to the bank. Nasreen Sattar, Chairman of Consumark (Former MD & CEO, SCB Afghanistan); Tamanna Chowdhury, Principal Dietician, Apollo Hospitals Dhaka; Bilquis Jahan, Head of Human Resources, BRAC Bank Limited, were present at the convention along with all the female employees coming from different corners of the country. Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) recently signed a Participatory Financial Institutions (PFI) agreement with Bangladesh Bank (BB) under JICA-assisted ‘Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project BDP86’. The agreement was signed by Anis A. Khan, Managing Director, and CEO, MTB, and Md. Rezaul Islam, GM, Foreign Exchange Investment Department, Bangladesh Bank, on behalf of the organizations. Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, was also present as the Chief Guest during the occasion.

Executive Motors and Standard Chartered Bank jointly launched special offers on purchases of BMW vehicles recently on 18 February 2018. The bank announced to provide its best ever interest rate and discount in Processing Fee on Auto Loan and Saadiq Auto Finance for purchasing BMW branded vehicles from Executive Motors Limited.

Jamuna Bank Foundation organized free Eye Camp, Diabetes, Gynee, and General treatment services at Borura Upazila auditorium cum community center, in Borura, Comilla. The event was presided by Al-Haj Nur Mohammed, Chairman, Jamuna Bank Foundation. Professor Nurul Islam, MP; Mirza Elias Uddin Ahmed, Additional Managing Director, Jamuna Bank Limited and CEO, Jamuna Bank Foundation, and A.K.M Saifuddin Ahmad, Deputy Managing Director were also present as special guests during the occasion.


The signing ceremony under JICA assisted “Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project (FDIPP, BD-P86)” of Dhaka Bank took place on 14 February 2018. The ceremony was attended by Fazle Kabir, Honorable Governor of Bangladesh Bank; Deputy Governor Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan; Ahmed Jamal, Executive Director; Takatoshi Nishikata, Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office; Md. Ziaur Rahman, SEVP & Head of Corporate Banking, Dhaka Bank Limited and other senior officials from both the organizations. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director and CEO of Dhaka Bank Limited and Md. Rezaul Islam, General Manager, Foreign Exchange Investment Department of Bangladesh Bank, exchanged agreements at the event.

Dr Nuran Nabi, Director of NRB Commercial Bank Limited; Tamal S.M Parvez, Chairman NRB Commercial Bank, and Rafikul Islam Mia Arzoo, Chairman of Audit Committee, paid tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs by visiting their grave on 23 February 2018.

The Anti-Money Laundering Division of National Bank’s Head Office and its Regional Office in Chittagong jointly organized a day-long workshop at a hotel in Agrabad, Chittagong on 17 February 2018, as an attempt to prevent money laundering and terror financing from taking place. Shah Syed Abdul Bari, Deputy Managing Director and CAMLCO, inaugurated the workshop as the chief guest, and Nizam Ahmed, Regional Head and SEVP of the Chittagong branch, presided over the event. The workshop was also attended by 33 branch heads from Chittagong, CAMLCO and other employees of the bank.


Trebling minimum wage to Tk. 16,000

Our country comprises of nearly 3.6 million apparel workers, most of whom live with the minimum wage of Tk. 5,300; workers and union leaders demanded increasing minimum wage to Tk. 16,000. “Although we do not fully agree with the concept of living wage, we want a big hike of the salary this time,” said Nazma Akter, president of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, a garment workers' rights group. The group has already sent a letter to the minimum wage board, a board set up by the government last month, to put into motion this increase in salary. Sima Akter and Rasheda Begum, two operators of a garment factory at Gazipur added that if their salaries are increased, chances are the factory owners will increase production targets proportionately. Therefore, it is also of utmost importance to keep in mind the physical conditions of these workers when setting the new minimum wage. “The existing minimum wage is not enough to maintain the minimum standard of living for a worker,” said Selim Raihan, a professor of the Dhaka University's Economics department. Professor Raihan said “Fixing Tk. 5,300 as the minimum wage for workers in 2013 was not adequate for maintaining a decent life. So, this time the minimum wage for garment workers should be fixed following the living wage concept”. As such the four most important factors -- food, accommodation, education and health of workers – should be taken into consideration while fixing the minimum wage this time around.



Back in the early 21st century, internet had almost no presence in the context of Bangladesh. Fast forward to 2018 and Internet has almost become ubiquitous in our country. This poses a great opportunity for small businesses to grow by capitalizing internet. The number of internet users is increasing phenomenally in recent years. But many small businesses in Bangladesh sadly do not notice this phenomenon or consider taking advantage of this

trend. According to data from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the number of internet users almost doubled from 30.48 million in 2013 to 58.31 million in February 2016. Business houses with a web presence have the ability to reach out to these people by adopting a different marketing strategy. Nowadays more and more people are becoming tech savvy and are spending most of their time online. Most consumers now rely on Facebook and Google to make purchasing decisions. So, if these small businesses can create a social media presence through viral videos or campaigns then they can penetrate their target group more efficiently and thus generate greater returns, resulting in exponential growth. Given how internet is now accessible almost anywhere and at any time, if the small companies can enhance their customer experience through their Facebook pages and/or websites they are more likely to retain these customers. The size of the business will then no longer be a barrier to growth.

KFC Reopens

Boost Private Investment to Create More Jobs

"To reach the next phase of growth, Bangladesh needs to increase the level of private investment to create jobs and support growth. Public investment can crowd in private investments by easing infrastructure bottlenecks," the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said in its annual report for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. Naturally, for any country to decrease its unemployment rate it needs the private sector to create a multitude of jobs to help boost employment. Bangladesh is no different. There was a gradual rise in public investment from 6.6% in 2013 to 7.4% of GDP in 2017, whereas private investment kept circling around 22-23% of GDP, according to the BB report. So, in order to ensure an 8% economic growth by 2020, Bangladesh needs to increase private investment-GDP ratio up to 28% and total investment within the range of 35-38%. The government has set a target of establishing 100 special economic zones and 28 hi-tech parks across the country. Currently, the government is also implementing nine projects under a Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for quick implementation. These will help ensure a more congenial investment environment and thereby, attract more private investment from both local and foreign investors.

Almost 700 of KFC's 900 in the UK outlets have reopened following a chicken supply fiasco that began about a week ago and forced many stores to shut their doors. Last week all 900 of the UK outlets ran out of chicken and hence the outlets had to be closed down. Yes, you heard it right! This mishap happened following KFC’s decision to change suppliers from Bidvest to DHL. DHL has referred to "operational issues" for the supply disruption from the purpose-built facility. KFC said more chicken deliveries would be made to outlets on Thursday as teams "continue to work flat out all hours to clear the backlog caused by the breakdown in the DHL distribution system" The GMB union has criticized KFC's decision to move its contract from Bidvest, which national officer Mick Rix said was a "very well respected, specialized logistics provider", to one that lacked a track record in food distribution. A KFC spokesperson said "From the information we have been given, nine out of 10 (in 708 of 780 restaurants) of our team members will not be financially worse off this week than they would have been if we were fully operational. KFC has said on Wednesday that some of its outlets will remain closed throughout the week, while some will have curtailed hours.

‘Sooo over’ Snapchat

I’m sure we all use social media regularly. We make a tweet or a post or give a story nearly every other day. Do you think your tweet or status has the power to put a dent on a multi-million-dollar company? Maybe yours doesn’t, but reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s, half-sister to celebrity Kim Kardashian, sure does. Most of us are ardent users of snapchat and as such none of us have accepted the new update of Snapchat with open arms. Not a single user likes Snapchat’s new interface and Kylie Jenner was no exception. Following the new update, she tweeted “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad.” Given, how she has 24.5 million ardent Twitter followers this particular tweet was bound to have severe repercussions for Snapchat. And it did! Since her tweet, one million people have signed a petition demanding Snapchat to roll back the change. Furthermore, it has wiped $1.3bn (£1bn) off Snap's stock market value. After dropping almost 8%, shares in Snap closed 6% down on Wall Street, and are now back near the $17 price at which the shares were listed when the company floated on the stock market in March of last year. This unintentional attack from Jenner came at a time when investors were already worried due to intense competition from Facebook's Instagram.


Samsung Galaxy S9 USP Camera

Samsung has unveiled its flagship phone, the S9, today on the eve of the Mobile World Congress tech show in Barcelona. It has priced the S9 at 849 euros (£750; $1,047) and the S9+ at 949 euros (£838; $1,170) 50 euros more than their predecessors. But, just how bang for bucks is this phone? In terms of looks, there’s practically no difference between the new S9 and S9+ and its predecessors. S9 has slightly smaller bezels at the top and bottom and a new position for the fingerprint sensor while the S9+ now features two camera lenses on its rear, providing different fields of view and allowing photo backgrounds to be digitally blurred. The new camera is the USP of the phone as its quality appears to be better than Google’s Pixel 2. One new feature of the phone is the animated cartoons created from facial scans of the owners that then mimic their expressions. Yes, this new feature is basically Apple's animal-based Animojis, but Samsung begs to differ, suggests its version is more "personal". So, we have to wait and see how the consumers react to this new phone. It’s still hard to say if this will be a very marketable phone or not, given its very few distinguishable features from the previous S8 and S8+.

‘Black Panther' Tops $700M with Record-Breaking 2nd Weekend

Black Panther earned $108 million on its second Fri-Sun frame, a drop of just 46% from last weekend’s record-breaking $202 million Fri-Sun opening. In terms of raw dollars, it is the second-biggest second weekend gross of all time between Universal/Comast Corp.'s Jurassic World ($106.5m) and Lucas film’s The Force Awakens ($149m). It has now earned $400 million in just ten days of release, which makes it the second-fastest grosser of all time (for now) behind only Jurassic World ($404m) and The Force Awakens ($540m). Even if you adjust for inflation, it’s still only behind Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.'s The Dark Knight, Marvel's The Avengers, Jurassic World and The Force Awakens among ten-day domestic totals. Once it gets past $413 million in the country, it’ll be behind only to The Dark Knight Rises ($448m), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($458m), The Dark Knight ($534m) and The Avengers ($623m) among all superhero movies. Once it passes The Dark Knight, Black Panther will be the second-biggest superhero movie and the biggest solo superhero grosser ever in North America. This will mean the top two grossers (Black Panther and Avengers) will both be from the Marvel Universe. From the business point of view, Marvel will have destroyed DC by a long margin. With the upcoming release of the new Avengers movie, Marvel’s business will only accentuate upwards.


Lessons Learned

We get confused by terms like “digital marketing strategy,” “content marketing strategy,” “social marketing strategy.” DAVE MCCAUGHAN Co-Founder & Chairman Marketing Futures

LESSON 5: STUDY, THINK, EVALUATE AND DECIDE ON A STRATEGY THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO WIN: THEN PICK TACTICS THAT WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE THAT STRATEGY. NEW TACTICS SHOULD BE EVALUATED AND USED AS A MEANS OF EXPRESSING YOUR STRATEGY. Nothing seems to confuse marketers today as much as an understanding strategy versus tactics. We get confused by terms like “digital marketing strategy,” “content marketing strategy,” “social marketing strategy.” Well of course none of these are a marketing strategy. At best they are tactics as a part of a strategy. Strictly speaking, these topical terms are of course terrible English and not really about strategy. For example “digital marketing strategy” would mean the strategy of marketing digital; which is not what most marketers want to do. They want a plan to market their brand/product/service. Using digital for sales, distribution, messaging or anything else is a tactic to bring your strategy alive. In a modern world, they will probably have to use digital, content, social tactics, all of them, to make their strategy come alive. The strategy is the big integrated picture. As a marketer, you are measured and focused on getting desired results: producing a brand that answers the needs or carefully considers the audience by ensuring the product caters to the need. Furthermore, it has to be available at a price and a place that make it accessible and communicate the brand's story including its features, advantages, mythology, desirability. Strategies are about the overall plan to tackle a situation. Historically they were based on careful analysis to understand your own advantages within the overall situation and deciding on how best to win your objectives. For today’s marketers that means good market research and analysis and then application of the learning to build a complete strategy, often explained


in simple terms, but applying to all aspects of marketing : ● “encirclement” is a strategy … making sure that wherever you target potential consumer is they will find the brand talking to them, available to them. Famously Coke’s “always within arms reach” acted as a strategy that defined everything from distribution to pricing to manufacturing and of course has added possibilities in a digital age. ● “change the debate” is a strategy … taking a category and changing the way people will think about it. When MasterCard developed the “Priceless” campaign, it was more than an advertising tactic, it was a strategy to change the way the brand was marketed. ● “ubiquity” is a common strategy. Think about Facebook. Almost from it’s beginning the premise has been that it allows you to link up and share with your “friends” and that your “friends” are all there. Brilliant. And applicable to all aspects of their marketing. In the 1970s Pepsi was losing ground to Coke in the USA. They introduced a new strategy built on “exclusivity.” All Cola’s positioned themselves on their physical and mental refreshment. Pepsi now talked about the idea that its brand was for a new generation. A brand for a generation that was young and rejected the ways of its parents. A generation that self-defined itself as cool. The Pepsi Generation. By saying the brand was “for you” too young people it was saying it was not for everyone or only those that thought of themselves of that new generation. A

strategy that said, “let everyone else drink that other stuff, we are just for you”; a great strategy that could be applied to all aspects of marketing. Now here is the critical thing: strategies do not change because it is January 1st. Or because the season has changed, or the competitors, or because the new marketing director, brand manager or advertising agency has been appointed. To think they do or should is wasteful and bad management. Nor should strategy change because mediums do. Strategies are the backbone of decision making. Remember that adage “strategy is the elimination of what is not important.” And then build a strategy for continued growth. Then work out the tactics.


Talk of the Town

Franchise Bangladesh

The first international franchise and retail expo in Dhaka Singapore based Franchise consultancy firm FranGlobal set its footprints in Bangladesh officially with Bangladesh’s first ever International Franchise and Retail Expo on 24 February 2018 at The Westin Dhaka with a cluster of more than a 100 international and local brands as exhibitors. The event was sponsored by Monno Home. Organiser FranGlobal plays a vital role in representing local investors and partnering with diverse global companies for the entry and expansion in different

topographies and has six international offices in different countries. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President, FBCCI was the Chief Guest on this occasion. The Guest of Honors was Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon, President, NASCAIB and Director, SME Foundation; Selima Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries, and Rashed Maymunul Islam, DMD, Munnu Home and Gaurav Marya, Chairman, FranGlobal. This event witnessed the

participation of prominent brands from the USA, the UK, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and India. It showcased their franchise opportunities along with the knowledge sharing sessions by some local and international experts from F&B, Retail, E-commerce, and Education sector. Many VIPs, Chamber Leaders, Business Owners and Corporate Leaders joined the event as Guest of Honour. Gaurav Marya, Chairman of FranGlobal and Asia’s top franchise expert,

(From left to right) Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon, President, NASCAIB & Director, SME Foundation; Selima Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries; Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President, FBCCI; Rashed Maymunul Islam, DMD, Monno Home; Gaurav Marya, Chairman, FranGlobal



conducted a Master Class where he discussed best ways to expand business through franchising and partnering with global brands. Gaurav Marya, Chairman, FranGlobal stated, “As per PwC, Bangladesh is poised to be among top three fastest growing economies of the world by 2030. The country is home to thousands of businesses and has emerged as one of the largest concentrations of multinational companies in South Asia. While there are a handful of local Bangladeshi brands who want to expand their business overseas and planning to franchise globally; foreign franchisees in Bangladesh are doing impressively well, we believe this is the opportune time for FranGlobal to enter Bangladesh market and we are positive of the same. We seek to bring over 50 brands to Bangladesh in the next two years while creating an investment of $39 million. It is expected to create 2500 new jobs in the Bangladesh market.”

Money Matters

Contractionary Monetary Statement Announced By Rokeya Zaman



azle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank formally unveiled the Monetary policy statement for the second half of the financial year 2017-2018 and the period of – January – June 2018 on 29 January 2018 at a press conference in Bangladesh. Among others, Shitangshu Kumar Sur Chowdhury, Banking Reform Advisor, Bangladesh Bank; Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank, Faisal

Ahmed, Chief Economist, Bangladesh Bank; and Allah Malik Kazemi, Change Management Advisor, Bangladesh Bank, spoke during the occasion. The cautious and quite conservative monetary policy is termed as a growth – supportive aimed to curb the inflationary pressure through using the tools of discouraging credit flows. The Governor terms it as employment focused and growth and stability’ oriented

Monetary Policy Statement (MPS); though the policy set private sector credit growth 16.8% while it was projected 18.1% in the year 2017. The repo and reverse repo has remained unchanged respectively at 6.75% and 4.75%. According to the economist it is usual to have a contractionary’ MPS at the election year amidst the fear of inflationary pressure due to the rise of price in world commodity market.

MPS Highlights · Sharp above-trend upturns in imports and credit to private sector appear to indicate a much-awaited robust pickup in investment and output activities, supported by progress in addressing infrastructural deficiencies, robust domestic demand, and a broad-based pickup in global output and trade growth. Besides increased food grains imports due to flood-related crop losses and depletion of public food grain buffer stocks, import increases mainly comprise capital machinery and production inputs. These bode well for growth going forward but also poses near-term challenges of containing monetary growth-driven inflationary pressures and of protecting external sector balance of payments (BOP) sustainability. · Excess liquidity from FY17 largely met the monetary demand from increased economic activity, keeping domestic credit (DC) growth at 14.5%, in line with the 14.5% H1 FY18 program target, even with private sector credit growth (18.1%) substantially overshooting the 16.2% H1 FY18 program target.


· Moderation of the transient external imbalance from credit-fueled high import growth to a sustainable trend will accordingly be a key priority for monetary and macro-prudential policies in H2 FY18, besides keeping in check the inflationary risks from rising global commodity prices and any spillovers from food to non-food inflation from any undue exuberance in domestic credit expansion. The H2 FY18 monetary program and its attendant macro-prudential measures will seek to address this priority mainly by intensive, intrusive supervision focusing on quality and sectoral composition of credit flows rather than by any blanket curb restricting access to credit for productive pursuits. · Given the global and domestic inflation outlook, H2 FY18 monetary program retains domestic credit growth ceiling unchanged at 15.8%, adequate to accommodate the targeted 7.4% real GDP growth with up to 6% annual average inflation. A continued negative trend of

government’s bank borrowing is projected to leave room for higher 16.8% FY18 private sector credit growth, against the previous projection of 16.3%. Reserve money (RM) growth and its attendant inflationary impact will remain moderate in H2 FY18, aided by the government’s likely negative or small bank borrowing. Expected near-zero net foreign assets (NFA) growth due to high import payment outflows will result in moderation in broad money (M2) growth to 13.3%, against the earlier projection of 13.9%. · Repo and reverse repo policy interest rates will for the time being be left unchanged at 6.75% and 4.75%, respectively. Macro-prudential steps to curb imprudent unproductive lending include: (a) intensive surveillance on adherence to prescribed Asset-Liability Management (ALM) and Forex Risk Management guidelines; a new directive requiring banks to rationalize their Advance/Deposit Ratios to curb their overexuberance in lending; increased surveillance on the end use

of bank loans including import finance; (b) encouraging banks to avoid unduly high medium- or long-term investment financing exposures to corporate borrowers, helping instead corporate bond issuance in the capital markets, using banks only as interim bridge financing windows; (c) The taka’s market pressure-driven depreciation against USD, coupled with depreciation of USD +itself against other major currencies is helping restore external balance by enhancing export competitiveness and workers’ remittance inflows. Preventive and punitive steps against the abuse of mobile phone accounts in illegal hundi operations are also shoring up banking channel remittance inflows. · Furthermore, steps are being taken towards getting banks more proactively engaged in mobilizing foreign savings of Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) by promoting sales of government’s Wage Earners’ Development Bonds and also in attracting NRB portfolio investments in Bangladesh capital markets by opening and managing Nonresident Investment Taka Accounts (NITAs) in their names. Besides augmenting inflows into the forex market, these will also help increase equivalent Taka liquidity in the financial and capital markets. Work is underway on further simplifying banking channel transaction procedures relating to exports of goods and services through internet-based e-commerce platforms will also help further in augmenting forex inflows.


Harsh Vardhan Shringla

High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh


Creating Cooperation Between Nations By Asaduzzaman

High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla is a career diplomat and a member of the Indian Foreign Service. In the course of a diplomatic career spanning 33 years, High Commissioner Shringla has held a variety of positions in New Delhi and abroad. Before his assignment in Bangladesh, he served as Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Thailand. He has also served in France (UNESCO); USA (UN, New York); Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City); Israel and South Africa (Durban). High Commissioner Shringla has served in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi as Joint Secretary (Director General) responsible for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives. He has also headed the United Nations Political and SAARC Divisions in the Ministry. Earlier, he served as Director of the Northern Division dealing with Nepal and Bhutan and as Deputy Secretary of the Europe West Division. The High Commissioner has graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University and has worked in the Corporate and Public Sectors in India prior to joining the Indian Foreign Service. He has pursued a course in conflict prevention in Columbia University, New York, a subject on which he has published an international paper. He has also published Papers on economic diplomacy and the Indian diaspora. High Commissioner Shringla speaks French, Vietnamese and Nepalese apart from English and Indian languages. He is married to Mrs. Hemal Shringla and has one son.

Bangladesh and India have a deep, multidimensional and regional relationship. How do you evaluate this wonderful relationship?

In the last few years, India and Bangladesh have made huge strides towards building a multi-faceted bilateral relationship. We have expanded our engagement to include new areas of co-operation and deepened cooperation in existing ones. Today our relations cover an entire spectrum of areas of bilateral cooperation including security and border management; trade, commerce and investment, connectivity, energy and power; developmental projects, culture and greater people-to-people exchanges, etc. Visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister, H.E. Sheikh Hasina to India in April 2017 added a new chapter to the

strengthening bilateral relationship, which Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi described as heralding of a ‘Sonali Adhyay’ or a Golden Era in our ties.

Bangladesh is a huge market for Indian products, and vice versa. How are you working to develop this trade relationship as the graduation of Indian economy has opened up opportunities for Bangladesh? Majority of India’s exports to Bangladesh are raw materials and inputs such as cotton, machinery, boilers, rocks, limestone, etc. for the Bangladesh industry. For example, cotton (raw cotton, yarn, fabric, etc.) constituted 25.52% of our total exports to Bangladesh in 2016-17, which is a critical input for the Readymade Garments (RMG)

industry of Bangladesh. To promote Bangladesh’s exports to the Indian market, we are providing Bangladesh duty-free quota-free access since 2011 for all tariff lines except tobacco and alcohol. Following this, Bangladesh’s RMG exports to India have more than doubled to USD 129.81 million in 2016-17 from USD 55 million in 2011-12. In the period July-December 2017, Bangladesh’s RMG exports to India have registered a 66.41% increase.

Are there opportunities for foreign direct investment from India to Bangladesh? How are you encouraging it? There is great potential for investment in Bangladesh in sectors such as renewable energy, skills development, power, pharmaceuticals, information & communication


technology, hospitality, and infrastructure. Indian investment proposals registered with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority exceed USD 3 billion. During the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India in April 2017, 13 business agreements worth an estimated USD 10 billion of mainly Indian investments in Bangladesh in the power and energy sectors were signed. Three Indian economic zones in the pipeline in Mirsarai, Bheramara, and Mongla in Bangladesh will further facilitate Indian investments in the country.

During the Honourable Prime Minister’s visit to India in April 2017, 13 business agreements, worth an estimate of $10 billion of mainly Indian investments in Bangladesh in the power and energy sectors, were signed. Three Indian economic zones in the pipeline in Mirsarai, Bheramara and Mongla in Bangladesh will further facilitate Indian investments in the country.


What is your opinion about the business environment and possibilities of Bangladesh in future?

Economic growth in Bangladesh in the last decade has been impressive with the country registering an average GDP growth of over 6% per annum. The economic growth has now crossed the 7% mark with Bangladesh’s GDP growing at 7.28% in 2016-17. In the last few years, Bangladesh has also made tremendous progress on the social and human development fronts. With Government of Bangladesh’s strong emphasis on further improving social and physical infrastructure, and facilitating foreign and domestic investment, Bangladesh is likely to continue on a high growth trajectory and generate new opportunities for both trade and investment.

During your diplomatic journey in Bangladesh how do you evaluate our hospitality and the general mindset of people? I am deeply touched and honored by the warmth and

hospitality that has been extended to me since the commencement of my tenure in Bangladesh. Everything I have experienced here reflects the generosity of the people of Bangladesh. I have also traveled extensively within the country. I will always have fond memories of my stay in this country.

India's support during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 was incredible. What are your thoughts on the bonding that these two countries have shared since then? India and Bangladesh share the historical legacy of fighting and winning the Bangladesh Liberation War together. Very few countries have fought and shed blood together. Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi Muktijoddhas laid down their lives together and formed a bond, which would be difficult to find anywhere else in the world. This is an eternal bond of blood and sacrifice of our martyrs and will continue to bind our nations together in future.


Shwapna Bhowmick

Country Manager Bangladesh and Myanmar Marks and Spencer


THE CORE OF THE BANGLADESHI EXPORT REALM Shwapna Bhowmick is the Country Manager for Bangladesh and Myanmar, Marks and Spencer since 2013. She completed her graduation from the University of Dhaka and then went on to pursue a Diploma in Fashion technology from BGMEA Institute of Fashion Technology (BUFT). Followed by her course at BUFT, she joined a local buying house called ARAF apparels. She was then hired by the British multinational clothing brand, Next; she later went to work with the biggest retail giant, Walmart. After years of her successful tenure there, Shwapna joined Marks and Spencer in 2006 and took the lead as the Country Manager in 2013.

The Readymade Garment Industry is the rudder to Bangladesh’s success in the global scenario. The country is the sourcing ground to a plethora of multinationals, which makes our exports account for a greater part of the GDP. Marks and Spencer (M&S) is one of leading fashion garment makers leaving their imprint on the world. ICE Business Times converses with Shwapna Bhowmick, Country Manager, Bangladesh and Myanmar, M&S to know more about the evolving aspects of the company and its objectives. Shwapna takes immense pride in obtaining an entirely Bangladeshi educational background and stresses on how family plays an important role in the progress of women in developing nations, “It is rare to find locals heading leadership roles in multinationals, similar to mine. From early childhood, I was injected with the idea that regardless of the background we come from we should never cease to dream big and do something meaningful. I wanted to have an impact and contribute to the development of my country, be it in any sector.” She then describes her journey in a nutshell, “I got my first international break at Next based on my academic record at BUFT. Later to which, I joined Walmart and experienced the American side of the business." She explains that the transition to M&S was a change in the direction of her

career. She was hesitant because the company was at its initial stage, "Joining M&S in 2006 was a difficult choice to make as I already had a spectacular career at Walmart back then and M&S was only starting its operation. However, I knew this was my opportunity to bring the change.” The lack of women in the leadership roles in the textile industry is what inspired Shwapna to join the sector, “The course I took at BUFT was specifically designed for people who were already working in the sector. It had no female students enrolled in it. The idea of my work having a direct impact on the workers gave me the boost to go forward with it." The idea of breaking barriers and thriving in a male-dominated industry is what appealed to her. Shwapna was determined to facilitate change. Shwapna further details the day-to-day challenges on her first attempt at work, “My initial tenure at Araf Apparels was indeed a learning experience. It was often that people produced stereotypical judgments about my work and lifestyle as I was amongst the only two females working there during that period.” She recalls that proving her potential was a constant struggle. However, Shwapna was determined to prove that she was just as capable, “I had to place double the effort compared to my male colleagues to achieve similar results in the workplace. It helped me understand and deal with

the industrial challenges more effectively. I had immense support from my line manager back then to break the stereotype”. Shwapna embraces the country’s textile led to progress and mentioned how real consideration could be made in this regard, “Bangladesh at this point stands as an example to the rest of the world with its highest number of green factories globally. The beauty of the backward linkage from yarn to fabric to garment under the same roof is something that hasn’t been achieved by the many neighboring countries which helps the country to step up further in the global competition.” M&S has a noted reputation because of the corporate culture and set values that transcend throughout their multinational set-ups. Shwapna was drawn to the company because of their unique approach, “We ensure that our employees understand that their work not helps them to earn but also has a greater impact in the development of the economy. Once the employees feel connected their level of efficiency increases resulting in better quality of work.” The country head explains how skillset is at the core of robust workforce, “A greater part of nourishing a business depends on the skillset of the employees. It is vital for employees to keep improving ways in which they interact or do things.” She further emphasizes on


the importance of effective delegation of responsibilities to sustain a business, “Our plans for the workers focus on increasing their efficiency and help us create a better platform to delegate responsibilities, and prepare the subordinates for future endeavors.” The textile industry's lack of potential employees and the role that universities can play to mitigate this agenda is a growing concern for Shwapna, “We see that there is a lack of encouragement and grooming in the universities for students concerning this sector. More robust courses on smart communication and grooming sessions need to be introduced to create potential leaders who will take the garment industry ahead of the global competition.” She pinpoints that for any successful enterprise the leader at the helm must possess a Critical Success Factor, “Success depends a lot on financial parameters. The business acumen brought by an employee is looked upon to see how benefited the company will be in promoting the individual to a higher rank.” She further expounds on how leaders at M&S make both ends meet by maintaining profitability alongside, “It is significant to grow aspects that give your company an edge over the others. At M&S, we focus our resources on producing the best range of products to have a better basket of good compared to others and make sure our stakeholders also get gain in the process; this helps us to maintain profitability alongside.” Shwapna explains productivity is still a primary concern for


Bangladesh and M&S has been taking active measures to improve it, “While we have achieved greater things on the list, we are still lagging behind concerning the efficiency of human resources. As a brand, we work hand in hand with the factories and re-engineer the product to ensure cost-effectiveness and the highest level of output.” She then articulates on how M&S improves the quality of its workforce, “Technologists are brought from the head office to train the workers on ensuring consistency in the quality of products. We carefully stress on the happiness factor by giving work breaks to our factory workers. The amount of efficiency with which they return to work is incredible to observe.” Under her leadership, the value of sourced garment from M&S is expected to hit $800 million, which was $5 million in 2006. Shwapna recalls the hurdles faced on the way, “One of the biggest challenges was getting the industry mindset to shift from producing basic products to value-added ones. It was difficult to convince our partners to go for smaller fashion lines alongside bigger core line orders.” When she started out in the industry, many elements lacked adequate attention. Shwapna emphasizes the constant need to improve these factors, “Investment was required in the research and development, and the lack of well-built infrastructure prevented the establishment of green factories. However, things have changed greatly with time and the establishment of 13 green factories by M&S’s in Bangladesh which speaks much about our success.”

PROACTIVE BUSINESS MEASURES: THE WAY TO KEEP YOUR COMPANY GROWING Shwapna shares the formula for an efficient business environment.


In today’s world, it is necessary to keep the global goals in mind. At M&S, we are trying to shift many of our transactions to a virtual platform in alignment to the digitization taking place in our surroundings. We have started the practice of building a cashless society, and as our first attempt, we have created bank accounts for many of our stakeholders to transfer their payment accordingly.


One of my attempts always remains in staying connected with the things happening globally. We try to adapt to every new technology has been in use elsewhere. For instance, we have started 3D fitting in Bangladesh recently, which was previously done by other countries. Our local employees remain connected with the ones working abroad through video conferences which ensures a more significant flow of communication and better quality of work.


The practice of empowering your local pool of workers is highly significant. We had come far from the days when our regional workers only used to replicate materials given to them. If we look at our M&S factories, our workers can, not only replicate and make specific materials but also come up with new designs and ideas by themselves nowadays. This method helps us to produce a better basket of goods for our consumers, and it happens when workers have the freedom to experiment with work.

Bangladesh's apparel industry envisions earning $50 billion in export by the year 2021. Shwapna shares how M&S company is accelerating the process, “The company are already sourcing its highest amount of garment from Bangladesh which is around 37%. provided that we are getting innovative products and factories here are getting digitized and compliant, export will remain consistent from our side. In this way, we will continue to contribute to vision 2021.” “M&S understands the importance of establishing more and more green factories in Bangladesh,” mentions Shwapna. She further enunciates the benefits that the country can reap from such an endeavor, “It is imperative to find the right balance. Establishing more green factories would attract new buyers to our country and add more to the country’s GDP growth. It is incredible to observe how local companies have become a lot more proactive nowadays.” Shwapna delightfully states the most rewarding sides of being a country head, “My greatest accomplishment is to be able to facilitate a change through an initiative by M&S called ‘Marks and Start.’ This program enables us to hire disabled people as employees, give them training and include them in our work stream. We have employed 1,762 disabled workers so far in our factories, and I feel privileged to be able to bring about a change in the lives of many.”

Traffic Watch


By Taposh Ghosh

Traffic congestion and inadequate urban road planning are two of the most challenging issues that are hindering growth and development in the urban economy; the capital city just 7% road. ICE Business Times recently conversed with Dr. Md. Shamsul Hoque, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), to gather insights on the issue and discuss possible solutions to improving urban transport in Dhaka. A recent study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), before the 2015 Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for Dhaka revealed that the economy loses $11.4 billion a year, resulting from traffic congestion, which roughly translates to Tk. 250 crore a day. The loss occurs mainly from the extra value of travel time and additional vehicle operating cost regarding fuel and maintenance, as a result of the stagnancy. Moreover, there lies a significant amount of other intangible costs which cannot be quantified, regardless of which, a huge economic implication arises from traffic congestion as the value of loss equals to almost 5% of the national GDP. If we further consider studies such as the Dhaka Integrated Transport Study (DITA) in 1994, the proposed 20-year Transport Plan in 2005, the Dhaka Urban Transport Study (DUTS) JICA in 2010, and the 2015 STP, we can observe the magnitude to which traffic congestion has impacted our lives. The average travel time at peak hours in the city has dropped from nearly 27 kph in 1994 to a mere 6.4 kph in 2015. Situations are worsening to such an extent that we are losing speed and rhythm of traffic, heading towards a standstill condition. With ever-growing car ownership coupled with an increasing number of motorcycles as a means of beating the congestion, it seems the rise in the number of vehicles as the economy progresses will soon bring average vehicle travel speeds down to walking speeds.



Professor, Department of Civil Engineering Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)

PAVING THE WAY: A GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE Dr. Md. Shamsul Hoque is very well researched in the government's investment in capital-intensive projects. He has gone through numerous studies conducted by world-renowned academicians and professionals, some of which spanned over periods of 1-3 years. Hoque concludes that almost all the studies propose overlapping recommendations in the form of infrastructural development, institutional reform, capacity build-up, and public transport planning, with proper integration amongst all of them. But what has happened in reality is a project-based approach by the government where planning flaws occur in the manner that multiple projects are focused on solving the same issue without any precursory study. Whereas, integration can lead to the reduction in unnecessary project count. The government has taken multiple infrastructural initiatives, such as the seven flyovers, which are all but integrated and not pro-people, instead are counterproductive as they reduce road size. While the government might feel proud of these capital-intensive projects, these do not have any tangible contribution to the economy with no improvement in economic indicators as the average speed continuously keeps dropping despite such projects. Such initiatives are uncoordinated and unguided, and no one takes ownership of the precursory studies which are highly significant. Moreover, lack of term based scenario analysis projects focusing on public transport, and furthermore institutional or regulatory reforms are worsening conditions every day.


Public transport has been defined in the 2005 STP; it is made up of ordinary buses, rapid transit buses, and fast transit rail, in that particular hierarchy. This suggests that the backbone for public transport for Dhaka should be the regular bus system. But as of now, the segment is in turmoil with fragmented ownership, unhealthy competition, contribution to bottleneck congestion, and significant creation of road indiscipline. Creation of multiple unnecessary bus routes resulting from political patronization is significantly harming the urban traffic system. Route rationalization must come up as the main agenda to fix the public transport system. Overlapping of bus routes with fierce competition between service providers needs to be resolved with policies such as bus route franchising, by not allowing multiple competitors to operate along a single corridor. Citizens have shifted from bus to car, primarily because of the comfort, better environment, and the lack of discipline in the public transport segment. Currently, the ordinary bus segment provides no incentive to the car-driven population to shift back to buses due to its poor infrastructure. However, developing improved services, fixing bus routes, fragmented ownership, and maintaining discipline in the system can lead to a minimum number of buses serving a maximum number of people. Reliability and speed can be ensured with dedicated bus lanes, which is a general practice in most developed cities of the world, with bus rides providing minute-accuracy to the riders, incentivizing them to switch back to public transport. The eccentric demand of peak hours must be solved by public transportation, with a primary focus on ordinary buses. Directly shifting to rapid transit projects might not be effective, as despite implementation of five Bus Rapid Transit and two Mass Rail Transit lines by 2035 will only move 17% of all trips in the city, with 40% still being catered by ordinary buses as per experts. Hence leaping over to capital-intensive projects such as the MRT might not be the best possible solution.



The second target of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 demands provision of sustainable transport to all and inclusive development should have some attributes which can accommodate all road users including the physically challenged. However, hardly any of the road planning initiatives are aligned with such inclusiveness; even the pedestrian walkways are not developed. Walkways should be meant for pedestrians and be on the same continuous level, whereas in Dhaka most walkways are constructed addressing the road adjacent property driveways, rising and dropping now and then, prioritizing the property developers over the pedestrians. Quality and maintenance of walkways in Dhaka are certainly improving, but they do not duly recognize all pedestrians, particularly the physically challenged and ones in wheelchairs. Moreover, road crossing policies are also misaligned with the construction of foot overbridges at intersections, following an outdated concept, where priority was given to vehicles, whereas the global standard has shifted to prioritizing the pedestrians now by stopping vehicles. Road crossing should have inclusive designs and universal acceptability, instead of ignorant construction of foot overbridges at junctions, with no proper implementation of traffic signals. Without fixing the signal system, Dhaka is focused more on constructing overbridges, which is not sustainable in


the long run. Additionally, once construction is completed, nobody takes the ownership of maintaining the usability of such foot overbridges, as each become hotspots of shady obnoxious activities. No modern city constructs such overbridges at junctions. Instead cities in China, Japan, and South Korea halt traffic for 1-2 minutes at high-intensity junctions, and allow pedestrians to pass quickly and diagonally.


One of the surprising by-products of traffic congestion in Dhaka has been the significant decrease in urban accident counts. The number of accidents is directly correlated with average travel speeds, and with falling speeds, fatality from accidents in Dhaka is also decreasing significantly. Trends have shifted from speed-related accidents to hit and smash related ones, most of which are conducted by commercial vehicles trying to break the signal and speeding, resulting in hitting other vehicles, hardly causing any fatality but rather more congestion. Previously 10% of all road fatalities recorded nationally were in Dhaka, but over the decade this has halved as a by-product of congestion.

PATRONIZING TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE IN INSTITUTIONAL REFORM With no impending institutional reform, urban transport planning in Dhaka has adopted a project-centric approach which is highly inefficient and hardly effective. Some infrastructural development

projects are still in the pipeline, all of which need to show a significant contribution to the economy. To achieve whatever was proposed in the STP, a practice of systematic implementation needs to be adopted with attention not on projects but on fixing the overall system. Studies continuously suggest the change of the bureautic system in urban planning and improvement in flatter organograms to include more personnel with greater technical knowledge into the decision-making framework. The government also needs to take the responsibility and show tenacity in changing its human resource and patronize its compatibility to the 21st century. Continuing to maintain a bureautic non-technical system may introduce many more projects, but will provide no improvement for congestion.

APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN PREDICTING TRAFFIC Western homogeneous lane-based traffic is entirely different from Dhaka’s heterogeneous non-lane-based transport system, which makes it difficult to implement simple technology models to understand traffic behavior in the city. Predicting urban traffic is difficult, but the prediction for modeling or assistance purposes can be achieved by implementing simple Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Neuro-Fuzzy Systems. This software programs can predict the vehicle traffic flow and be applied to improve road traffic scenario and assist in future urban road planning and policy making. Nevertheless, experts believe that the existing environment is highly unsuitable for such

implementations as indiscipline in the traffic system will negate the benefits which such systems have to offer.

SOLUTION IN ONE UNITARY AUTHORITY The experts of traffic congestion and urban transport planning, such as Dr. Md. Shamsul Hoque, believe a single unitary authority who takes responsibility for planning, designing and constructing development, as well as ensuring operational maintenance is the most suitable solution for metropolitans like Dhaka. Introducing an authority, elected by the citizens, will ensure a check and balance system, and eliminate the overlapping authorities and their independent projects which are often contradicting in goals with one another. Dhaka direly requires an independent, accountable authority, much like those in cities such as Tokyo and Delhi. Instead, the capital’s current policy of dividing it into two authorities, whereas traffic itself is a linear process, adds another dimension to this already chaotic predicament, with the different metropolitan authorities having colliding attitudes. To make a city like Dhaka livable, it is undeniable that primary focus must be towards pedestrians and public transport; instead, we have policies promoting car ownership, which is detrimental to overall progress. Capital-intensive projects such as flyovers are unsustainable solutions and should be built at peripheries and not in the heart of the city. Finally, whatever projects are undertaken should prioritize pedestrian and public transport above anything else.


Dr. Tawhid Khan

Principal Engineer Dyson


CREATING A MORE GLOBAL BANGLADESH: THE NATION’S NEED TO EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY For the past decade or so, the automotive industry has been in turmoil due to rapid technology innovation, strategic realignment and a digitally driven supply chain ecosystem ushering us into a future of mechanized efficiency. In recent years, Bangladesh has started to pave its way in the fields of technology and automation with the help of technical specialists, both local as well as from around the world. NRBs are now more actively involved in the process of revolutionizing the automotive scene in Bangladesh than ever before. In a conversation with Dr. Tawhid Khan, a qualified technical specialist with over a decade of experience in the automotive embedded system integration. During his visit after ten years, ICE Business Times discussed the fourth industrial revolution, the cultural impact on human-machine interface design, and his contributions to the digital development of his homeland.

What was the triggering factor, other than the enhanced traffic and urban planning, that has ushered change in Bangladesh?

I have to say one thing; people are becoming much more active. They slowly realize that change is required. So I would say the people’s attitudes towards their right have changed and eventually they are becoming a lot more assertive. It’s also nice to see that people are eager to learn. And with today’s conversation with the Peace, Happiness & Prosperity (PHP) Group, it is apparent that they have a lot of challenges and they appreciate people like myself coming from outside and sharing our experience to help them, so that is very pleasing from that perspective. The other factor is also the awareness of global changes, much of which can be credited to social media.

What was the determinant reasons that made you initiate the journey that is different from many


While I was working with Tata Group as their functional lead, I observed that NRIs were getting involved in various development projects in their native land, and they’re quite proud of it. This encouraged me to start thinking about doing the same in Bangladesh. I know a bunch of talented Bangladeshis who have been achieving tremendous feats all across the world, but the initiative to connect the dots were and too much extent still is missing. After discussing it with my father in law, Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE, who was heavily involved in British Bangladesh Bilateral business, I came to realize that NRBs are not finding the platform because there are two levels, stigma from our side where we think that in Bangladesh people don’t know what they are talking about, and the people from Bangladesh thinking that the NRBs are always going to undermine the locals anyway, so it becomes a system with no results.There must be a middle

ground where we can break the ice. So that led me to believe that I have to do something and from my perspective, I am a problem solver. I don’t work on theoretical issues. So from that perspective, I realized that the critical problem is that there is no real platform where actual NRBs and the technical experts from Bangladesh can have meaningful dialogue and conversation. Secondly, Bangladesh is growing. The question remains: Is that growth sustainable? Bangladesh is, at the moment, heavily reliant on human resources but as we all know, the world is moving towards automation. We may end up in a similar scenario like India or Vietnam where they rely heavily on outsourcing, but now that outsourcing is drying up, they’re chasing the golden goose. For us, that could be a disaster. Finally, when I started talking to my friends here as well as the PHP Group, there was always a general appreciation for people like myself. Knowledge is power.


There is a fourth pillar that has slowly started to grow which is remittance of knowledge and skill. Those are the key to growth, and I think that’s where I come in.

You mentioned that you are a problem solver and you are interested in human-machine interface. Why is culture so important to you? Is there a particular incident that instigated you to link culture with human-machine interface design? This is an aspect that I am passionate about. All along, I’ve worked in an environment where humans interacted with machines. Operating a vehicle and using computers and mobile phones are some examples. One thing I’ve noticed is that we are not equals. My attitude on a professional level is what I call surface culture. Deep culture and surface culture are not the same. And surely the way we interact with machines cannot be the same either. I started to instigate these things with Tata when I was there. I have looked into the consumers in India, China, the USA, and the UK and

it’s clear that the attitude towards technology there and the way we use technology here in Bangladesh is vastly different. The way we write emails to each other and greet each other or tackle a problem is very different. I believe that you cannot isolate culture from day-to-day life which you cannot separate from the product design and hence the technology.

Tell us about your work and the kind of work dynamic that you have with consumer electronics organizations such as Dyson.

Well, there is a bit of phenomenon going on in the automotive industry. Every company is looking for the next silver bullet that will ensure a profit. The product ideas are drying up, as such, all organizations trying to diversify their product portfolios. Computing power is everywhere and in every product, whether it's your cell phone, your refrigerator or your car.. The next big thing in the technology juncture is automotive. There are three levels of work happening in the automotive industry. Firstly, cars are becoming increasingly high-tech, which means the future will be autonomous because the car can operate on its own. That requires a significant

Software writing and artificial intelligence will be a part of our daily lives. It is not about automation and technology; it’s merely your day to day life. Matters such as terrorism, bureaucracy, and corruption will be stopped by AI. You cannot bribe a robot.”


piece of computing technology to be put in the car. Another thing is that I believe we are living in a sort of fusion bomb. It could explode at any given moment due to CO2, which cannot be sustained anymore. Cars are the most significant contributors of CO2, so the process of switching to zero carbon is a big thing. Finally, homologation is very important. The regional differences in car crashes are also changing, and as a result, these three things are opening up a research opportunity for a lot of consumer electronics. As a result, many newer companies who traditionally aren’t car companies, are venturing into it because of product diversification. Cars and all other new technFology are running on computing power. As a result, in the next 4-5 years, there is a massive bubble where a lot of consumer electronic companies will be making cars. It’s a golden opportunity for traditional automotive engineers like me. My vision is straightforward. I want to see a world where we can breathe and live happily. If we carry on using diesel and petrol cars, we will run out of oxygen soon. I would like to bring that to Bangladesh, as we could be among the first casualties of this global CO2 catastrophe. We must make the people aware of this, but it has to be done by us, for us. That is my first vision for us, to come up with a form of technology that will not just generate money but also help the environment and create a good life for us. As we can’t move about without cars, we must find a way to make them beneficial. Autonomous cars will

decrease our rate of traffic accidents and improve our living standards, but it is also going to generate revenue for the company in a different direction. I want to bring that kind of thinking and change into my homeland, that is my dream.

Do you think we should think of ways to resolve the traffic problem?

There are two separate issues to think about. One is the transportation problem, and the other is the traffic problem. When you think of Uber and why a Bangladeshi didn’t come up with it in the first place, even though taxi service has existed for years. When I was younger, I have seen people sharing rickshaws. This scenario existed, but we never made use of it because we were not assertive; this is what I call a cultural element. The ride-sharing element existed within us for many years, but we never thought about it analytically. Regarding Pathao, we waited for a foreign company to show us whatever it required and then copied it. I’m not saying Pathao has done anything terrible. They did the right thing. But it is just a drop in the ocean for a bigger problem. We must identify those scenarios that are unique. You cannot solve a problem with NRBs or rich people; they have their cars. We know that 60% of the population cannot afford a car. With this in consideration, wouldn’t it be nice to come up with an innovative solution that allows car sharing? We must conduct proper market studies to understand that customer. I do believe that enough money has been invested, which was not well spent because of two reasons.

One was because the data being collected was not reliable. If you do not ask the right questions, you cannot solve the problem. The problem doesn’t lie with rich people driving fancy cars; the problem lies within the buses I see without any traffic lights or indicators. They are not road worthy. Vehicle technology is a complex activity, so we must ask them if they have the adequate knowledge to be operating this? How can we integrate transport and traffic solutions? We must conduct a reliable field study and ensure the involvement of real people.

There is a gap in the industrial, academic linkage in our education system. For example, a large number of students are studying business-related subjects, and yet the universities barely have any ties to the industry/corporate world. What’s your take on that? We have to ask ourselves a two question: What is essential to Bangladesh? Is it education or is it learning? They are not the same thing. For example, regarding fishing, you must catch a fish to learn how to do it right. You don’t need a textbook to determine that; whereas you learn about Isaac Newton by reading his theories. One is process oriented, and the other is practical oriented. To me, learning is more important than academics. We are focusing a lot more on hard skill. If you think about it, the element of the curriculum has changed. Applied Physics is no longer necessary to us. What’s important is things like mobile internet and cybersecurity. However, all

of this needs to be backed up by what I call soft skills. If I am a subject matter expert, but I cannot articulate my points to you, what good am I to you? So there must be an emphasis on soft skills as well from both sides. To move forward, academic people need to realize that theory is one thing but the practical industry may have a completely different requirement. Today we discussed with PHP, and we thought it would be nice if we could design a vehicle that could help our road traffic accident issues. For that, we need product design, liability, and craftsmanship. That’s something maybe academic people can solve. If the industry doesn’t come forward, the academy will not know. Both of them need to go forward. There’s no point in having training if your interpersonal skills is a problem.

What has brought you to Bangladesh this time?

To be honest, it was an invite from a friend of mine. I am from Sylhet Cadet College, and I wanted to meet my teachers as I owe a great deal to them. I was never interested in studying in Bangladesh, and I’m not sure why. One of my tutors, Biman Roy Chowdhury who was the Principal of Mirzapur Cadet College, used a statistical approach and he played around with cards, and I found that very fascinating as my dad loved playing with cards. I was fascinated by the idea of having fun and learning at the same time. I took that statistical model, and here I am today, a machine learning expert who has a lot of statistical regression. In your life, you must identify what you like the most because you cannot like everything. So follow

your instincts. This is why I owe a great deal to Biman Roy Sir for identifying things that I enjoyed that I have taken forward in life. I was talking to my friends back in the USA, and I told them that we must come and visit our tutors because who knows what will happen in the future. We organized a get-together, and we invited some of our teachers. That is the main reason why I came here. I also wanted to visit my dad’s graveyard in Sylhet, and then I spoke to my father in law, Dr. Wali Tasar Uddin MBE. I told him I wanted to visit Bangladesh but that I didn’t want just to enjoy myself. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could do something productive while I was here? So he started to contact people, and one of them was Sabur Khan from Daffodil University and luckily this worked out.

Are there any particular sectors you would like to contribute to? I am a technical man. Technology is now incorporated into everything, whether it’s finance, transportation, or business. There is an enterprise solution that I’m proposing to a few people which have three pillars. One is skill development, which will allow us to look at what the industry needs and identify the skills gap and train them. The second pillar is to look into the collaborative research areas like smart city research. I want to aim high. I want to target the collaborative industrial needs that can solve real-time problems like road traffic accidents. The third pillar is automation in place of the low tech manual labor that require outsourcing. For example, PHP is doing a complete knockdown for

proton vehicle in this country. That is fantastic news, but ten years down the line, you cannot rely on proton providing these specifications. We can take their architecture and design our product around it, and that requires computer-aided designers, estimators, aerodynamic engineers, supply chain managers, homologation understanding and much more. Finally, when I started talking to my friends here as well as the industrial conglomerate such as PHP and Daffodil group, there was always a general appreciation for people like myself.

With the rise of artificial intelligence and the industrial revolution, where do you see the automotive industry heading towards from a global perspective?

Artificial intelligence is crucial for Bangladesh. If you look at every aspect of your life, we will have automation. It is inevitable. For example, when a lawyer is writing a contract, a robot can write the same thing 10,000 times faster and more accurately. Another thing is that writing software will become a part of our lives very soon, just like how we write letters now. Most of the software writers around the world right now aren’t professionals. Software writing and artificial intelligence will be a part of our daily lives. It is not about automation and technology; it’s merely your day to day life. Matters such as terrorism, bureaucracy, and corruption will be stopped by AI. You cannot bribe a robot. If we do not wake up now to embrace those changes, we will have to repent in future.


Motor Trend

THE RISING MEGA-WATT INDUSTRY Electric cars are becoming the new power charged market. By Kazi Raihan

At the beginning of the 21st century, if someone were to utter the words “electric” and “cars” in succession, people would inevitably disregard it as a preposterous idea and move on. Fast forward to 2018, and electric cars have not only raced into the hearts and minds of 1st world country consumers as a safe and plausible product but also drifted into the lives of many of them as a necessity. Funny enough though, most people think electric cars to be a concept and product of recent years, when in fact the first electric car was built in London in 1884 by Thomas Parker. In 1897, electric cars found their first commercial use in the USA. However, advances in the internal combustion engines in the first decade of the 20th century diminished the relative advantages of electric cars. The broader range of gasoline cars and their much quicker refueling times saw them overtaking electric cars soon enough. So, how and what brought electric cars back to light again after a century?



Photo: pixabay

Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. With the vision to build electric vehicles that use clean energy, Tesla launched The Roadster in 2008. From there, Tesla designed the world’s first ever premium all-electric sedan from the ground up – Model S – which has become the best car in its class in every category. Combining safety, performance, and efficiency, Model S has reset the world’s expectations for the car of the 21st century with the longest range of any electric vehicle, over-the-air software updates that make it better over time, and a record 0-60 mph acceleration time of 2.28 seconds as measured by Motor Trend. Since then Tesla has not looked back once. It has continued to shape the electric cars market, and 2017 has been no different. Over the course of 2017, the company's market


Photo: pixabay

5 influential Electric Cars manufacturers of 2017 are Nissan Motor Corporation, BMW, Kia Motors, and Chevrolet. If things go the way they have in 2017, those cars are more likely to be emblazoned with a Tesla Inc. logo than BMW AG’s. Furthermore, the shift to electric cars will be accentuated by diesel demise in Europe, battery technology advancements and regulation in China and Europe. During this period, Europe will have the highest electric cars penetration.

Environmental benefits of Electric Cars capitalization has skyrocketed well beyond those of major manufacturers like Ford, GM, BMW, Honda, and Nissan. This thrust can be partly attributed to the company's Model S, which still reigns supreme as the top-selling plug-in electric car worldwide in 2015 and 2016. Consequently, whenever we talk about the electric cars market, Tesla’s current standpoint comes into play and in fact plays the most integral role in shaping the future of the industry. Tesla, today, is ranked #4 automaker globally and #1 maker in the USA. Despite the hype and expectations surrounding Tesla, its investors are in a tight spot, also known as the speculator's gambit. But why is that? The company has just a fraction of the employees, vehicle deliveries, and revenue of its competitors. In fact, and most people may not know it, but Tesla has yet to churn out profit! Nonetheless, there is no doubt that Tesla will live up to its market value and may even far outperform expectations. There is a multitude of reasons for this. 01. Elon Musk the X factor – The CEO of Tesla can’t seem to be doing anything wrong as of now. He has recently sent a Tesla into the orbit and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible and what is not. He has become a global icon of trust and infinite possibilities. As such, consumer’s faith in Tesla will hardly deter. 02. User experience – If I am no


connoisseur of cars or even investing, but last year I had the good fortune of riding a Tesla Model S sedan. From my experience, I can say with utmost certainty that any investor or any consumer who takes a Tesla out for a test drive will come out fully convinced to invest in the company, or buy a Tesla even if he or she is not into electric vehicles. Tesla has a supercharger in every state in the USA and is available all over Canada, Australia, and the UK. Consequently, the barriers to using an electric car are being overcome steadily, leading to an increase in demand. 03. Gigafactory - Musk's giant battery factory in Nevada, The Gigafactory, is about 5.5 million square feet. The completion of this factory will be a game changer, because it is expected to help the company cut the cost of its batteries by as much as 30%, making Tesla’s electric cars far more accessible for the normal consumer. To put things into perspective, Tesla has said it will create more battery cells at the Gigafactory than all of the lithium-ion battery makers combined did in 2013.

Future of Electric Cars While Tesla is undoubtedly paving the way for the future of Electric Cars, certain car manufacturers are not falling behind. Behind Tesla, in the top

When an electric car is running on electricity, it emits no tailpipe (also known as direct) emissions. When evaluated on that factor alone, electric cars are a lot eco-friendlier than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles on the market today. However, when assessing the eco-friendliness of an electric vehicle, the “well-to-wheel" emissions need to be taken into account as well. It is an overarching term that includes greenhouse gas and air pollutants that are emitted to produce and distribute the energy being used to power the car. When taking well-to-wheel emissions into account, all-electric vehicles emit an average of around 4,500 pounds of CO2 equivalent each year. By comparison, conventional gasoline cars emit over 9,000 as much annually. So, overall it is quite safe to say that electric cars are not only becoming more convenient and cheaper to use, with the increase in superchargers and decrease in battery cost but also a lot more environmentally friendly than conventional cars that use fuel. This dynamic certainly begs us to ask the question: Is this the start of the electric cars revolution? The answer is a resounding yes! The demand for electric cars will increase exponentially, and leading manufacturers will be able to meet that demand; in no time electric cars will overtake the automobile market and one day in the distant future fuel powered cars will become a myth. Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg, INC,,,


Audi creates a vehicle that merges luxury, performance and utility into one sleek sports sedan.

cornering, acceleration, braking, gravel, mud, slippery roads, or tackling the monsoon season. In combination with the new 2.0 (1984 CC) 252 Bhp engine with a dual-clutch 7 Speed transmission that seamlessly merges efficiency and speed. It is also the only vehicle in its class to provide a dual-clutch transmission which is mostly equipped with high-performance vehicles. The car accelerates to 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

Entertainment at Every Speed

The aesthetic design of a coupé and the functionality of a utility vehicle and performance of a sports sedan are well matched – the new Audi A5 Sportback* demonstrates this particularly elegantly. Its powerful, flowing silhouette makes it a genuinely aesthetic product with abundant space inside. Beneath its skin, notably impressive traits of the five-door coupé include a newly developed suspension, high-performance drives, and innovative infotainment solutions. The way that various driver assistance systems intelligently interact points ahead to the age of piloted driving.

Drive Like No Other The A5 Sportback quattro® incorporates the functionality of an estate, the performance of a sports coupe, design, and luxury of a premium sedan. The net result of this advance in quattro is the ability of the vehicle electronics to adequately manage the vehicle dynamics in all traction situations, whether in

The Audi A5 Sportback comes standard with the Bang and Olufsen sound system which is the most advanced and premium in the industry of audio technology. The Audi A5 Sportback also comes with the standard high resolution 8.3 inch MMI display with connectivity to Bluetooth, USB, and AUX ports and to control various setting of the vehicle including the 256 color ambient light setting. The MMI is also powered by the uber graphics chipset company Nvidia. With the best in class performance and the forefront in the world of infotainment and technology, the Audi A5 Sportback Quattro® is truly an engineering and design marvel.

The A5 Sportback Quattro® (2.0, 252 bhp) is available at Tk. 117 Lacs*. Price does not include VAT and registration fee. @Audi Dhaka - Progress Motors Imports Limited



Hussain Elius CEO Pathao The road to travel domination started in 2015. Fast forward three years, Pathao has altered the mindset of how Dhaka city commutes. What initially began with 100 drivers, now has a fleet of over 500 with 300,000 users. The motorcycle is no longer the unsafe sight of eye rolls; it is the convenient way, dependable and economical way to get from point a to b. Meet the CEO of Pathao, Hussain M Elius, as he elaborated upon their start of Pathao’s trip and how they have merged the highways of tech and travel.



Revolutionizing Commute In a Metropolitan By Ashfaque Zaman

A Concept is Never Set in Stone

Two years ago when we started brainstorming about the biggest challenges we faced in Dhaka - we realized that there are two major problems - load shedding, and traffic. We could do nothing about the former, so we looked into the everyday commute. Before we even started Pathao, we tried solving the transportation problems with different tactics- one was a CNG hailing app knows as Jaben. We did not have the same leverage because smartphones were not so densely used; so we went to a phone call based solution. It was followed by a carpooling service which also did not do very well. Long story short, the Pathao app that everyone uses today was not the thing we started our journey with. It is something that was born after many experiments.

Embrace Every Attempt

It took some failures for us to realize what would work and what would not work. A pipeline of ideas helped us come to the current service. We continually iterated on the idea of starting something, monitoring its progress and moving on to the next endeavor if our product did not work. We embrace our failures as an opportunity to learn and develop. Whenever an attempt became a failure, we would dissect it into lessons learned, and contemplate on how we can use the learnings and the technology to develop something better.

The Only Success is That There is None

We used our ability to iterate fast to our advantage. We maintain a culture that asks us to consistently push the team and the organization to do more. We have a new number to hit every week, and new goal to hit every quarter, and we allocate resources around every effort to strive for that measure. The day you believe that you are successful is the day that you will think that there is nothing more to do. That mindset is harmful because the competition never rests and it gives others the space to catch up. Every day is a new day.


When the Solution is not There, Create it

Our most significant success was not creating a new technology - but rather a new category of transportation. Creating a category of “motorcycle sharing” was particularly tricky as Dhaka was not a motorcycle friendly city in comparison to others in the region. The culture of sharing rides or taking a motorcycle was not perceived to be safe. Before Pathao, the city had a preconceived notion that motorbikes were unsafe. Furthermore, people in Bangladesh are not very open to the idea of apps in general. Things have changed since then.

Being a Visionary Paves the Way

At first, people were not used to using any app beyond a few social networks like Facebook. Once Pathao gained momentum, we observed a few changes coming around us. First, many people were buying smartphones because they wanted to use the Pathao app. When you address a massive problem and find a viable solution, the market will find the way to reach out to that solution. We started with getting our first orders through phone calls and Whatsapp followed by a secret Facebook group- but all of those were not sustainable or scalable. All of these mediums entailed a middleman for operations and would take 10-15 minutes before we could confirm a service. An app allowed for an immediate response. We started informing people on the Facebook group that they would have to use the app and stopped taking orders from anywhere outside of the app. At first it created a lot of friction for customers who were used to giving orders - and changing their mindset wasn’t easy. However, we considered that in the long run how much the customers would gain through the app. We are now running both on Apple and Android phones, and the implementation of the app created much greater access and ease to customers and drivers alike.


A potential colleague is not defined by their background; it is their portfolio that speaks volumes. If they have the Pathao mentality, accompanied with passion and drive, we consider them to be an asset to the company. Expand Your Service, Stay True to Your Vision

When we started Pathao, we knew that our app would be built for the masses. This led to the concept and execution of Pathao Food. We are in the process of incorporating more restaurants and will have over 3,000 restaurants in by the end of March. We have more than six to ten times the number of restaurants than our competitors. We have targeted the segment of the of the market that the current players have ignored. In the socioeconomic context of Bangladesh, ordering lunch for Tk. 300 to 400 is not feasible on a daily basis. We have smaller restaurants like Star Kebab or CP because ordering a biryani for Tk. 100 is a much more reasonable solution for a meal. We have decided from the beginning of the company that would not serve a niche but one that is accessible to everyone.

Quality is Not Up for Negotiation

We have the general approach to a business where continuous feedback is used to weed out bad drivers or customers. You will have bad customers who will decrease the platform experience for the drivers as well. In this regards, our rating service provides a data-driven solution. When a first-time driver or customer is using the app, we do not have many data

points. Once they start exhibiting consistent behaviour - we could develop a pattern, and can choose to fix it or remove the problem. Hypothetically, if one customer infers that a driver is reckless, that may not be an accurate estimation of the drivers skill because that’s just one data point out of, say, 100. However, if we see that these experiences are consistent and 20 to 30 customers are drawing the same conclusion, then there are more data points to say that yes, the driver is in fact very reckless. This feedback allows us to grow while the quality can be controlled.

Mindset: The Foundation for Growth

People from various educational backgrounds bring their unique skill set. For example, Shifat Adnan, our Co-founder and CTO, comes from an engineering background, and his contributions and insight in that aspect are very immediate and more specialized. When you grow to a large organization such as ours, the challenges propagate downwards. Individuals from different backgrounds bring insight; one person may be able to draw from their understanding of organizational behavior, while another adds knowledge regarding accounting or object-oriented programming. Starting a company requires many generalists who can do everything. But growth requires specialization. Nevertheless, we hold a person’s ability to execute and their problem-solving mentality with the utmost priority. We recruit everyone whether they may be dropouts, current students, and those with degrees, not according to academia but their inherent abilities. A potential colleague is not defined by their background; it is their portfolio that speaks volumes. If they have the Pathao mentality, accompanied with passion and drive, we consider them to be an asset to the company.




he brand new Toyota Corolla Altis was recently launched by Navana Limited, the Exclusive distributor of Toyota vehicles in Bangladesh. The Corolla Altis is revolutionizing the automobile scene with its progressive and dynamic new features and design. Equipped with a robust 1ZR-FE 1600cc engine, the Altis is redefining power and efficiency. With advanced safety features and a modern


look, it indeed is a class of its own. The Corolla Altis successfully combines great new features with Toyota’s quality and reliability. The new 1.6-litre Dual VVT-i engine that puts out 120 HP is a compact design integrated with sophisticated technologies that contribute to better performance, higher power, and efficient fuel consumption. With 7 SRS airbags and ISOFIX option, the Altis provides a reassuring sense of safety. The Anti-Lock Brake System and Dual Disc Brake ensures vehicle stability during braking that prevents skidding on slippery surfaces and sharp turns. The continuously running headlamps and slim LED lights provide excellent illumination while consuming less power. The interior is equipped with a 10-inch monitor display that also provides navigation and maps; the high-quality materials and spacious cabin produce an advanced feel while allowing passengers to experience a sophisticated sense of comfort. This new design for the Toyota Corolla Altis is apt for the conditions of the roads of the country. With a rough road package that raises ground clearance and provides further strength to the vehicle’s underbody - an adjustment proving to be vital for the durability of motor vehicles in the country. With the selection of 7 distinctive colors, powerfulness, safety, and comfort - the Toyota Corolla Altis goes beyond the ordinary selections and stands out on top in the mind of the car lovers.


The Next Giant Leap Space Exploration

By Abhijit Asad


hen it comes to creating waves through sheer groundbreaking innovation, entrepreneur Elon Musk is indeed no slouch, and his net worth ($20.7 billion) is a standing testament to that fact. With a seemingly miraculous touch, he has dabbled in a vast number of fields, causing massive paradigm shifts across the board. Be it changing the dimensions of online payments or developing the


latest generation of suave electric vehicles; Musk has created a stunning legacy – one that is now literally out of this world. Elon Musk’s private aerospace corporation, SpaceX, is not a new name in the sector. They have been designing various forms of rockets for many years, with their Falcon 9 design particularly of note, having seen long-running use as a space freighter for

carrying cargo to the crew of the International Space Station, as well as for deploying satellites. With almost half a billion dollars expended behind it, the Falcon Heavy is a souped-up redesign of the Falcon 9, with a pair of additional strap-on boosters. It was not easy to design such a powerful machine, and the project was almost canceled thrice. The central booster had to

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy paves a new path to space

undergo complete redesigns to account for the added stress by the new boosters, and there was a myriad of variables that were not possible to considerably take into account even with the most thoroughly detailed computer simulations. Boasting a massive total of 27 engines, the Falcon Heavy is capable of accelerating to Mach 1 in a mere 15 seconds, and its

low Earth orbit maximum payload capacity is more significant by nearly 200% than that of the base design. It is the highest-capacity rocket currently in operation. However, what makes the Falcon Heavy unique is its reusable nature, allowing most of the rocket to be safely recovered for refitting after it returns to the Earth from its flight. Even the side boosters safely

Musk also hopes that the success of the Falcon Heavy would serve as an inspiration for other companies and nations, sparking off a new space race from which humanity would universally benefit.

returned to Cape Canaveral’s pads after serving their purpose. On 6 February 2018, the Falcon Heavy took flight from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launchpad 39A. Never before has a private company built and successfully deployed a rocket as powerful as this. Elon Musk, being no stranger to sensationalism, ordered for a somewhat whimsical payload for the


Falcon Heavy for testing the rocket’s carrying capacity – his red Roadster, built and engineered by Musk’s very own Tesla Motors, with a mannequin in a SpaceX spacesuit manning the driver’s seat. The car has been safely released in space, and it is expected to remain in an elliptical orbit around the sun for millions of years. The flight was a wholesome success. Despite launch delays caused by atmospheric turbulence, everything worked according to plan, with nothing mainly going off the rails, and no significant complications emerging; aside from the central booster hitting the water instead of the floating, landing platform because of a last-moment ignition failure. However, it was not enough of an issue to mar the rest of the successful flight, and the magnitude of this achievement cannot be understated. After reaching orbit, Falcon Heavy began to transmit a real-time video feed from its exterior cameras, as well as a camera showing the Tesla Roadster inside it. As a nifty homage to Douglas Adams’s cheeky science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, a screen on the car’s dashboard displayed ‘DON’T PANIC’ in glowing letters. With David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’ playing in the background, it was a truly surreal moment, seeing the car against the backdrop of the Earth. The dramatic flair was perhaps not necessary, but it created a truly artistic moment that was made possible only through cold hard science and human ingenuity. SpaceX plans on following up the Falcon Heavy’s success with the development of even higher-capacity rockets


(dubbed ‘BFRs,’ with the B and the R standing for Big and Rocket respectively) by 2020. Ones capable of interplanetary spaceflight, bringing us one step closer to the realization of Elon Musk’s dream of a future where humans would colonize Mars. Musk also hopes that the success of the Falcon Heavy would serve as an inspiration for other companies and nations, sparking off a new space race from which humanity would universally benefit. He is not the only pioneer of private aerospace (albeit the most influential one). Other names like Blue Origin (founded by none other than Amazon’s Jeff Bezos), Florida’s Moon Express and Luxembourg’s Planetary Resources are already looking to make an appearance into the space scene in one form or another, be it through building space colonies, mining celestial bodies or creating interplanetary ‘buses.’ SpaceX’s success, while it did not come cheap, will go on to open a great number of doors for the company.

Boasting a massive total of 27 engines, the Falcon Heavy is capable of accelerating to Mach 1 in a mere 15 seconds, and its low Earth orbit maximum payload capacity is more significant by nearly 200% than that of the base design. It is the highestcapacity rocket currently in operation. SpaceX would now have a compelling selling point when competing for aerospace contracts for building satellites and such. We may even be looking at collaborations between SpaceX and government-run organizations such as NASA, with privately developed rockets like the Heavy being used as part of

NASA’s flights. The possibilities indeed are endless. Even the Falcon Heavy has already been booked for upcoming flights for the US Air Force, and a Saudi Arabian company by the name of Arabsat. With each flight of the Heavy priced at $90 million, spaceflight has never been more economical. The Heavy’s success has revitalized interest in the Falcon 9 as well, and Musk expects to see rockets of both models in active parallel use in the near future. With the success of the Falcon Heavy’s first flight, which more than 6,000 people toiled tirelessly to bring to fruition, the bar for SpaceX’s next steps, as well as those of its competitors, has been raised considerably. It is safe to say that humanity is one step closer to traveling to other planets. While we probably wouldn’t be building our homes in space anytime soon, it is safe to expect that SpaceX would go on to change the landscape of space travel even further with its upcoming ventures.


The Women Who are Transcending Borders


By Asaduzzaman

On 25 January 2018, Bangladeshi women representing different age groups, and various parts of the nation congregated at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). They gathered here, at the behest of RRMU, an evidence-based organization. Women from Bangladesh and abroad attended the event. They are now the earning members of their families and contributing individually. The women of Bangladesh are new trendsetters in our overseas job market; Sri Lankan, Indonesian and Philippines women are the pioneers in these areas. The women here are being trained with basic skills, and their inherent skills which are a definite trend started very recently in Bangladesh though it was expected much earlier. Women are seeking better employment


abroad as they are earning more and creating their livelihood. They are defying odds though there are many stories of torment, harassment, physical dehumanization but no hurdle preventing them from progress. Bangladeshi women have demonstrated their success in the RMG sector and they are taking this stride a step further by going overseas. The fact is income from remittance is three-times more than RMG, twelve times more than FDI and seven-times more of the local investment and foreign aids. However, they are neglected in regards to policy drives. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman, Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC), states that there is a decisive force behind the success story of migration, "Those who

are courageous enough to go abroad by defying every odd, even knowing that there are chances of torture and being scammed, swindled or double-crossed." The women or men are searching the opportunities by themselves and going abroad to seize it, and many of them take great risks. Hossain explains that Bangladeshis across the world are exposed to a productive environment, "These nations are already established with a reputation of a law-abiding and a diligent workforce. So, this is very important for Bangladesh. There is no denying the facts that we are very interested in discussing the amount of money being sent by the migrants, but attention to solving pertinent issues of troubles faced by them is comparatively less." He further

emphasized that this money is used as a tool to advance the nation, "Remittance is a driving force in the development of our many sectors, but migrant demands remained unsolved in many areas. There is also traceability issues. A point of strength has to be created for the voices of the migrants and realizing this goal this type of congregation is indispensable." Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary, Government of Bangladesh, exposed an interesting insight into the tradition and family dynamics of migration. He pointed out that the story is not often one of success, "There are haunting tales of men and women; many untold stories of defalcation, forgery, twinges, and spasm of separation along with tragedy that lies with migration." The state always learns from its people, and it only goes forward with the advancement of its people. The migrants are not mere expendables. For the 11 million migrants, this journey is one of opportunity towards a better tomorrow. The Bangladeshi women are 12% of the total migrating population in 2016. These women are now coming forward and working in the hospitality industry in many nations. This development is essential and allows for Bangladesh to attain a better future.

Trends, Determinants, and Impact of Migration • Bangladesh workers first began significant emigration in the 1960s when the UK opened its doors. But short-term migration for employment is said to have started in the 1970s, picking up the pace by the end of the 1980s. Momentum

quickened again during the 2000s, with a sharp increase in the flow in 2005, but this was short-lived. In recent years, the number of workers going abroad hovered roughly around half a million annually. • Key destination countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. After 2007, the mix of these countries for workers from Bangladesh has changed, with a sharp decline in the flow of workers to Kuwait, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia. This contraction was counterbalanced to some extent, however, by a rise in the flow of workers to Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Singapore. By 2005, the eight major destination countries accounted for over 95% of the flow, with nearly 60% unskilled employment. By 2014, the share of workers received in these countries declined to 74%, with the remaining migrant workers finding employment in other countries, doubling from 13% in 2005 to 26% in 2014. • In the past, female migrant workers from Bangladesh accounted for a small and negligible proportion of the total, but the annual trend rose consistently from 2000 to 2012. In 2014, the number of female migrant workers more than doubled to 76,000 from only more than 37,000 in 2012. From 2000 to 2015, Jordan and Lebanon were the major destinations for female workers—more than 50% engaged in domestic work and about 10% in garment factories or related work. By skill composition, the unskilled constitute the largest number of

Bangladesh workers, at 45% in 2014, bringing it back to the 1990 and 2005 average after it surged to 73% in 2010 and declined to 62% in 2012 (Figure 2). The share of skilled and semiskilled declined in 2014: 45% to 23% for

KEY MESSAGES: * Overseas employment of Bangladeshi workers is a major source of employment and is likely to remain so in the near future. * Migration flow is positively correlated with gross domestic product growth in Bangladesh and the long-term trend has continued to be positive for more than 2 decades as economic growth has accelerated. * Migrant workers’ remittance to Bangladesh are a significant source of foreign exchange, second only to readymade garments. * High costs of migration brought on by high recruitment fees and charges by intermediaries make access to migration opportunities highly skewed in favor of the upper-income groups. * Bilateral agreements between the sending and receiving countries, the recognition of skills of migrant workers and the governance of the recruitment process and deployment of overseas workers are critical factors to further support overseas employment in Bangladesh. Sources: ADB Briefs: No 63, 2016

skilled, 10% to 3% for semiskilled and 0.07% to 0.01% for professional. For women, data before 2005 are not available; data from 2005 to 2014 reveal more unskilled migrant workers, at 67%, compared with 55% for men. • Economic, demographic, and social factors are among the key factors influencing the flow of overseas migration of workers. Migration flow is positively correlated with GDP growth in Bangladesh (World Bank 2012), and the long-term trend has remained positive for more than 2 decades as economic growth has accelerated. This steady flow of overseas employment, despite economic progress, suggests other factors at play, including employment opportunities at home and expected higher earnings in countries with demand for migrant workers. • It is worth examining whether migration is induced by poverty in Bangladesh, although this does not imply that the poor benefit more from migration than upper-income groups. The associated high costs of migration brought on by the imposition of expensive recruitment fees make access to migration opportunities highly skewed in favor of upper-income groups. Other costs and potential risks, such as payment to intermediaries at various stages of the recruitment process, increase the burden of prospective migrant workers. Those from lower-income groups, therefore, potentially find themselves using illegal channels to migrate abroad, leaving them more prone to abuse and violence, particularly for women.



Dewan Nurul Islam FCA

President The Institute of Chartered Accountants Bangladesh (ICAB)



Dewan Nurul Islam is the President of The Institute of Chartered Accountants Bangladesh (ICAB) for 2018. He completed his Masters of Business Administration from University of Sydney, Australia (UTS) and completed Chartered Accountancy from ICAB in 1990. He then worked as a Country Finance Manager for DHL from the year 1990-1992. He joined Beximco Textile Division, Bangladesh as a Finance Director in 1992 and worked there for 13 years. After his excellent tenure in Bangladesh, Dewan went on to work with Development Capital Corporation in Sydney as a Senior Consultant from June 2006 until April 2008. On his return to Bangladesh, Dewan took the lead as the Managing Director of Grand Thorton Bangladesh in October 2013 and continued as an active member of ICAB. At the end of 2017, he was elected as the President of ICAB by the decision of the council members.

Do you think the Accounting education in Bangladesh is on par with that of international standards? If not, where do we lack behind? An individual has to surpass two steps to qualify for chartered accountancy in Bangladesh. Initially, he or she needs to be enrolled in public accounting or audit firm and finish the course, the duration of which varies based on their previous academic backgrounds. As the second step, the person has to pass the exam from the Institute of Chartered Accountants

Bangladesh (ICAB). We at ICAB consist of a pool of teachers coming from various teaching and industrial backgrounds and provide schedules for the evening as well as afternoon classes to prepare the students for the exams. The exams are dissected into three segments called the Knowledge, Application and Advance level. These levels consist of twelve papers as a whole, which focus on educating the students about accounting, taxation, business law, financial management, information technology (IT), and business strategy. The syllabus we follow at

ICAB is at par with that of the international education standards. All our marking criteria, exam syllabus, and teaching materials are revised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW). Therefore, the members here at ICAB have the privilege to be directly taken in as members by the global institute without having to pass any other exam except the ones at ICAB. Since, we got this recognition from 2017 onwards, we can now say that the accounting education here is at par with that in abroad. However, we have to


customize the syllabus in certain areas like business taxation, commercial company law, and auditing based on our company’s taxation act and audit-related requirements.

How large is the current Chartered Accountant community in Bangladesh and how impactful are they in the overall business landscape?

The Chartered Accountant (CA) community in Bangladesh currently consists of 1,800 members but needs to grow further. Out of the total number of CAs produced in Bangladesh, 200 members are now working at various developed nations. Moreover, another 400 to 500 members are involved in public practice like auditing, and the rest, which is about 75% of the total who are currently working with the industries as Chief Financial Officers, Finance Directors, Finance Managers, and Finance Controllers with large multinationals, local

The Chartered Accountant(CA) community in Bangladesh currently consists of 1,800 members but needs to grow further. Out of the total number of CAs produced in Bangladesh, 200 members are now working at various developed nations.�


corporates, and donor agencies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Considering the business landscape, chartered accountants are vastly contributing to the fiscal system of the government. The tax collection from the corporates depends on the profit they declare in their financial statements. A set of chartered accountants help the businesses to make and verify the financial statements and therefore act as an agent for the government during tax revenue collection. Another area where CAs are significant is regarding foreign relations. Any multinational company, before investing in a country, reaches out to a CA in that country to know about the rules and regulations regarding company formation, taxation policy, remittance transfer and the foreign exchange policy of that particular country. Similarly, in terms of investment in the local companies, the CAs play a great role in winning the investors’ confidence. They are the only ones authorized to audit the accounts, and the reliability of the financial statements depend on their certification. They also play the role of strategic partners while working with any regulatory body like commerce, finance, law ministries, registrar joint stock companies, central banks, and the national board of revenue during the formation of the law policies and guidelines. Thus, the CAs are not only regulating the accounting profession but also actively working with the stakeholders to help the country reach its goals.

Do you think professionals are shifting towards other acclamations such as CFA, CIMA, and ACCA more over the traditional CA and ICMA? What are the pros and cons of such alternatives?

Although a lot of competing certifications exist in the common ground, we need to understand that the focus of each of these acclamations is different from one another. For instance, the main focus of a CFA is to analyze the financial statement, whereas, in case of CIMA, the accountants mainly work with managerial accounting and focus on the cost incurred during a production process. However, the work of CAs, in this case, includes both practical and academic demonstrations. When a CA is groomed up at a practicing firm, that individual has been exposed to hundreds of financial statements, may it be a production firm, multinational agency, or donor agencies like World Bank. This grows an ability within the CAs to critically analyze any statement they come across which makes them more competitive compared to others in the field with different acclamations. On the other hand, we at ICAB ensure that our students are exposed to the highest level of complex problems during the examinations. Therefore, it can be seen that in most cases CAs join an organization in the managerial positions compared to people with other certification who are only offered executive positions initially.

How is the current acceptance rate by big businesses operating in Bangladesh for local Auditing firms, when it comes to their year-end financial audits? Are Bangladeshi Accounting firms as good as those operating with international affiliations?

As per requirements, Bangladeshi companies must verify their financial statements via a local auditing firm as foreign firms are not allowed to work with the companies directly. Therefore, as the business environment is becoming more complex, the acceptance rate by big businesses for the local auditing firms is increasing drastically. Many of the audit firms in Bangladesh are affiliated with international ones like Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), Grand Thorton and many others to take the standard of auditing to the international level. The local firms bring expertise and resources from the affiliated firms to provide their employees with global standards of training, which ensures that the local firms share values and culture similar to that of foreign auditing or consultancy ones. However, there is still a dire need for more affiliations like such in the country to enhance the capabilities of our firms as per international standards.

Given how the startup ecosystem is developing in Bangladesh, startup valuation is a major problem being faced by investors; do you think the CA community has a role to play in helping

businesses estimate their startup valuations?

In case of the startups, the CAs are mainly involved with financial valuations whereas other firms are often hired to manage other areas depending on the company type. A list of 20 to 30 auditing firms are selected to evaluate the financial performances of local firms. In case of Bangladesh, the local market is not an efficient one, so the start-ups need to be valued carefully based on the knowledge of the investors and market acceptability. We cannot aggressively value the Bangladeshi market compared to the international one. However, the CAs are continuing to be strategic partners in valuations alongside other experts.

How well developed do you think the Venture Capital market in Bangladesh is right now? Where do the scopes lie for growth in this market?

Venture Capital has a huge potential in the Bangladeshi market, especially when it comes to the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they do not have the sufficient access to finance. The SMEs often face problems in hiring senior CAs or bringing in resources due to the financial constraints. Venture Capital can play a great role in helping these firms have access to the available expertise and come up with better financial statements to attract further investments. The venture capital market in Bangladesh still has a long way to go. For now, the banks are the sole entities behind financing venture

Venture Capital has a huge potential in the Bangladeshi market, especially when it comes to the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they do not have the sufficient access to finance. The SMEs often face problems in hiring senior CAs or bringing in resources due to the financial constraints.� capitalists and capital markets in Bangladesh whereas in an ideal economy the seed fund for venture capital comes from a high network of individuals. Our country has a lack of such individuals who would willingly take risks to invest in a new creative venture. Thus, banks are involved in the process to provide the financial support. However, banks in our country are not catered to finance the venture capitalists much rather give access to loans. Therefore, to tap into the future potential of the industry Bangladesh needs to have more venture capital firms and enough financial support from the banks. The government can also play a huge role by giving tax rebates to industries and ensuring a one-time fixed taxation policy that will reduce the costs for entrepreneurs to a great extent and enable them to invest their profit as venture capital. Although the government needs to ease out the regulations for businesses to flourish, it

must keep in mind that too much of something may encourage new businesses to come and exploit the available resources.

As President of the ICAB, what are your plans for the institution and the overall accounting community?

The main challenge we have right now is to cope with the demands of the future. The work of an accountant and auditor depends on the ways a business functions. Since, the business environment is undergoing a constant change; our work is bound to change alongside. We need to prepare ourselves to work with artificial intelligence and automated systems. As a President of ICAB, my goal is to guide the existing pool of Chartered Accountants and prepare them for the newer changes that the accounting community is about to face.


Big Pharma

Astounding Proactive Innovative The biggest name in Bangladesh pharma creates a formula for international expansion By Ashfaque Zaman


Square Pharmaceuticals is investing $80 million in Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Ltd, and for their first phase, they are spending $20 million in creating a facility that can produce 2 billion tablets and capsules annually. In 1952, a young Samson H. Chowdhury started looking after his father’s pharmacy in Pabna. He’d start Square Pharma with Dr. Kazi Harunur Rashid, Dr. PK Shaha, and Radha Binod Roy six years later; this would be the start of many first in Bangladesh. Today, Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is the most prominent name in the industry. They have been the largest pharma market holders since 1985, a testament to their unsurpassed quality in the nation. The conglomerate, however, does not limit itself to sheer size; they have been the trailblazers in the industry. Square pioneered the export market in Bangladesh, they constructed the first US FDA and UK MHRA approvable factory, obtained the ISO 9001:2000 certification, partnered with UNICEF as a global supplier and started insulin manufacturing maintaining stringent compliance standard. 2018 would be another benchmark year for the company as they became the first of any pharmaceutical company of Bangladesh to extend their reach on an international platform. Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Ltd started construction early last month, marking the company's reach in the East African Region (EAC). During this endeavor, Square became the first and only company in the nation to acquire transfer equity approval from Bangladesh Bank.


The market size of Bangladesh is nearly the same as Kenya ($2.4 billion). The British ruled Kenya from 1895, and the nation became independent in 1964. This dynamic has made Kenya’s infrastructure, political climate and legal structure very similar to those of Bangladesh. Furthermore, Kenya has grown at the same rate as Bangladesh; the

From left High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Kenya H. E. Maj. Gen. Abul Kalam Mohammad Humayun Kabir, Tapan Chowdhury and Adan Mohammad inaugurating the groundbreaking ceremony.

Checkmate: Understand the Board Before your Move

When considering the investment protocols, Square realized that Kenya would be the ideal investment region because it was untapped by larger manufacturers such as top Indian factories and MNC pharmaceutical countries. These companies are concerned with markets such as Europe, Japan, China and the US (the pharmaceutical market in the US is $240 billion alone). The growth in the EAC region is much less. Therefore, penetration of the market would be much easier and profitable. The entirety of Africa is $40 billion, and amongst that, the EAC region is above $2 billion market; this has led Square to proceed in the area.

Kenyan market is $745 million with a CAGR growth of 12% for the last five years; whereas Bangladesh’s CAGR is 17%. Both nations are developing at a relatively similar rate.

The Investment Initiative: Turn where Favorable

Square Pharmaceuticals considered a few options when they were expanding; these countries included Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya was the most investment-friendly environment amongst these nations, and the repatriation dividends are the easiest. Of the EAC and COMESA countries, Kenya has the most robust manufacturing base. Pharmaceutical products do not follow the MRP guidelines that are implemented in

Bangladesh. Hence there is no fixed price for the product. Also, the different donor agencies and World Bank want to start the idea of making products in Africa for Africa. They are pushing the Vigorous Competition Policy in Africa to create a more self-sufficient continent, after a study they conducted found that 70% of African nations are amongst the globe’s lowest regarding local competition and on the existence of fundamentals for market-based competition. Local products are subject to preference; any product by local tenders will receive a 15% discount. Hypothetically, the preference cost allows a $100 product to come down to $85. On the hand this incentive is not given to imported products, leading that cost to be just the same. Additionally World Bank, donor agencies and the Government of Kenya have created a Pharmaceutical Development Plan which strives to create an environment of efficiency and self-sustainability. This incentive has led square to construct their factory in the Athi River EPZ. The company will be able to market products at a reasonable price because they have to establish themselves in an EPZ that is specialized in exporting. Square will receive tax, revenue, power, treatment plant and water incentives which in turn subsides the cost of manufacturing. These benefits are considered for any of the EAC member countries and beyond. Local manufacturers can expand their export on the same scale to South Africa, the old CFA countries and

Tapan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Republic of Kenya were addressing dignitaries and press on Square’s investment in Kenya.

Europe which leads to the possibility for a much more significant market.

Gradual Steps Towards a Longer Stride Square Pharmaceuticals is investing $80 million in Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Ltd, and for their first phase, they are spending $20 million in creating a facility that can produce 2 billion tablets and capsules annually. Square Pharmaceutical will start with solid dosage forms such as tablets and capsules. They believe that penetration through a high entry barrier products such as difficult to make and sustained release solid products will ensure that the region recognizes Square Pharmaceuticals as a manufacturer of quality products. They will continue to liquid and sterile medications such as injection and infusions. Sterile

products manufacturing units are rare in Africa. The challenge with sterile products is that the facilities, manufacturing process, and products are expensive. Additionally, there are meticulous regulations while producing sterile products. Square Pharmaceuticals has this edge given that they have been in the sterile production line for the past 33 years. They have been the top manufacturers of sterile products in the nation for the last 25 years. The company has also applied for US FDA approval for their sterile line which they are confident to obtain, succeeding the USFDA inspection later in the year. Their years of expertise allow them to commence with sterile products during their second phase. The third phase of their production will involve liquid dosages. These are the most commonly produced medicines amongst the 23 local manufacturers in Kenya.


Tapan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Republic of Kenya at plant construction area after the ground breaking event.

The Detail in Demographic

When expanding a market, it involves reflecting on one’s critical demographic. Square Pharmaceuticals is specializing in non-communicable disease medicines given the changing disease trends in Bangladesh. The country has made strides in treating communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. There is a prevalence of the waterborne disease such as cholera and diarrhea which are also preventable. Bangladesh is now moving towards a higher rate of non-communicable (NCD) disease as life expectancy increases to 70 years of age. With the higher age expectancy, the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s is prevalent. According to the World Bank, NCD accounted for 66.9% of death in 2015 compared to 43.4% in 2005. Kenya is witnessing the same trend, where NCD has increased from 20.9% to 33.4% of deaths (51% of whom are under 70) during the same period. NCDs


2018 would be another benchmark year for the company as they became the first of any pharmaceutic al company of Bangladesh to extend their reach on an international platform. Square Pharmaceutic als Kenya EPZ Ltd started construction early last month, marking the company's reach in the East African Region (EAC).

account for 50% of inpatient admissions and 40% of hospital deaths in the country. Obesity alone is apparent in 18% of children and 9% of adults. The dietary risks, inactivity, and changes in lipid profile in the region lead to a higher rate of cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension. Moreover, as life expectancy in the nation has increased to 62 years of age, the occurrence of dementia and other CNS diseases will rise. This NCD trend is estimated to double when Square Pharmaceuticals starts manufacturing in 2020, and the company plans to launch with a high-quality yield of these drugs to build trust in the market.

Success Starts with What You Know

The pharmaceutical giant has 42 countries under its belt, and they attribute that to quality medicines at an

affordable price. Square Pharmaceuticals understands that stability in the retail market starts with price strategy, promotional strategy and distribution channels that make medicine affordable and in turn acceptable. The company’s R&D and manufacturing pipelines also follow the direction of disease trends. Their work in the generic field entails reverse engineering of drugs to rediscover a drug and create a product that is bioequivalent with the same inherent properties. Square Pharmaceuticals comes up with the latest drugs in hypertension, diabetes or any other disease in sync with global R&D. It is this dedication to growth that has led to making insulin and having insulin analogs as well as other biosimilars in Bangladesh. They are taking this expertise into the Kenyan context and working with local agencies to instill capacity building. The African belt has pharmacists in hospital pharmacies and dispensing pharmacies. The pharmaceutical education in the region is also geared towards that sector. On the other hand, the pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh specialize in the technical and manufacturing aspect. Before the completion of the factory, Square Pharmaceuticals plans to hold seminars and capacity building activities to train professionally to address this gap. They understand that skilled human resource is integral to any line. Ultimately, the company strives to help the Kenyan government move towards a declined dependency on imports and donor agencies.

Business Climate



By Bijon Islam

We are always excited to launch the Business Confidence Index which provides you with a sneak peak of what the private sector of Bangladesh is thinking – which industries are the businesses most optimistic about? Which sectors might face difficulties? How do they feel about the profitability of their enterprises? Where do they see the opportunity space for Bangladesh and what are the most significant challenges?



+43 +39

2017-18 Overall Confidence (2017-18) Overall Confidence 2016-17


To understand these sentiments better, we surveyed more than 102 (Chief Experience Officers) CXOs, and members of the leadership team across more than 20 different sectors clubbed into primary, secondary and tertiary. Using harmonized business confidence index, we calculated sentiment scores across various industry verticals and an overall confidence score.

+46.22 +37.52





Source : LightCastle Business Confidence Index 2017-18

Accelerating the discovery of the third Engine

The overall business sentiment is “Cautiously Optimistic” with an index of +43 – on a scale of -100 to +100. Industry representatives cited increased investment in power generation, green revolution and mechanization in the agriculture sector, higher disposable income and consumer spending, growing health awareness, and the government’s particular interest in the ICT sector as factors contributing to their optimism for Bangladesh as an investment destination. However, business leaders were cautious due to needing for financial sector reform (the classified loan conditions have created fault lines), bureaucratic red tapes in commencing and operating businesses, a slump in apparel prices, infrastructure issues such as port congestion and problems related to transportation and logistics. Nonetheless, if we are to summarize the sentiments – the future of economy will hinge on three key themes.

Our forex reserve is dependent on our two twin engines – remittance and export of RMG industry (making up ~80% of our total export basket). Although, as we move forward, we also need to figure out our third engine. If we look at the rankings of verticals according to confidence from all industry stakeholders (the question was to rank top two most promising sectors) – we will see that ICT/ITES has moved onto the top of the list – with Pharma and Footwear being close competitors. ICT/ITES is strongly supported by the government (via tax breaks and export incentives) and is marked to reach $5 billion by 2021. The pharma riding on a thriving domestic industry is eyeing the export market with currently at more than $90 million growing at a rate of about 9%. Nevertheless, with FDA approvals (Square and Beximco cleared initially now seeking limits for specific drugs) and TRIPS extension till 2032 high export potentials to Asia, MENA, US and European markets. Agriculture is the new tech: Ag-business were on the top six last time and in the latest

2016 Ranking Power and Energy ICT and ITES RMG & Textile Pharmaceutical Footwear Agro-Processing

confidence survey has moved onto number two. While government budget allocation plays a role, growing demand for processed consumer foods coupled with a rise in per capita income, rise of disposable income of cities all around the country (the number of middle-income cities to rise to 33 from 10 by 2025) and opportunities to use Ag-tech to boost productivity have pushed optimism. Mechanization is already playing a critical role, and ODA (overseas development assistance) is also focusing on migrating technologies starting from high yielding Ag-inputs to funding private satellite imaging for better crop management. Additionally, innovative financial instruments via agent banking and even impact investments have begun finding its way into the sector. Accelerator and incubation programs which were once only part of the ICT/Tech industry has started for Ag-SMEs as well with Spark, Unnoty, and Open Accelerator being early in the field.

The Talent at Our Core

While we have grown with over 6% GDP over a decade with a growing demographic bulge the country faces an absence of ready to use talent. While ICT/ITES stands at the top of potential sectors – the potential would stay unmet if we cannot develop our abilities at the same pace with up-to-date skills. Stronger industry-academia linkage is needed to build talent pipelines and create complementary industry expertise. At the same time, the curriculum has to reflect the more critical thinking and communication components geared towards to set up small businesses that would accelerate employment creation. 2017 Ranking Bangladesh is at a crossroads waiting to drive ICT and ITES into the highway leading to Agro-Processing advanced economies. Hence it’s imperative we optimize Pharmaceutical Power and Energy our resources and strategic intent so that we focus on Footwere the right verticals and RMG and Textiles position ourselves as the “heart of Asia.”


corporate reputation

Separating Support from Scandal By Sheahan Bhuiyan




ustin Forsyth's resignation from his post as the Deputy Executive Director of Unicef shows that we’ve stepped into an era where finally, women have the courage and platform to speak out against all they’ve endured in their lives. The #MeToo movement, which won Time’s person of the year for 2017, revealed the extent to which women have been victims of

powerful men abusing their power. In light of these revelations, men like Forsyth, who took their positions for granted, have been removed or were forced to resign. No institution is safe from the endemic of sexual abuse. Religious institutions, athletic institutions, corporations, government offices, as well as charities have seen high

profile abuse. Justin Forsyth’s case was the latest in a string of events that has rocked the development world in recent times. Before his post as the Deputy Executive Director at Unicef, Forsyth was the chief executive of Save the Children. He was investigated twice during his time there, once in 2011 when concerns were raised

about his workplace conduct, and again in 2015 when three female workers complained about inappropriate behavior towards them. Forsyth was accused of sending these women a series of inappropriate texts including comments on their attire and how he felt about them. If they did not respond, he would follow up his texts with an email, asking if they had seen the texts. If they still did not respond, he would ask someone to bring them to his office for a “quick word.” Following the investigation in 2015, Forsyth issued an unreserved apology to the women involved, and the matter was closed. Forsyth quit his job at Save the Children and joined Unicef in 2016. Unicef has claimed that Save the Children sent them a reference letter for Forsyth but neglected to mention these investigations. This incident and past revelations have sparked a tremendous backlash against charities and NGOs. Senior MPs in the UK Parliament has called for drastic reviews of the funding charities receive from the UK Government. Oxfam, which underwent a scandal just before the Forsyth case, lost several of their ambassadors,


Oxfam, which underwent a scandal just before the Forsyth case, lost several of their ambassadors, including South African emeritus archbishop Desmond Tutu, the actress Minnie Driver and musician Baaba Maal. 7,000 people stopped their donations to the charity overnight. including South African emeritus archbishop Desmond Tutu, the actress Minnie Driver and musician Baaba Maal. 7,000 people stopped their donations to the charity overnight. However, is discontinuing donations the solution? There is no doubt that the organizations must accept the blame for how they dealt with the situation. They either covered it up and moved on, or in some cases, fired the victim. The perpetrators of these acts were let off. They continued their jobs or went off into better jobs while their victims were left with nothing but an apology, or in some cases, were punished instead for daring to speak out. Despite their failings towards the victims in the past, some of these organizations have stepped up to ensure that incidents like this are dealt with appropriately in the future. Oxfam, for example, perhaps because their incidents came to light before the others, have

started implementing safeguarding measures against future episodes. They have doubled their budget for the safeguarding team, set up a global database of accredited referees to ensure sex-offenders cannot re-offend at other charities, and improved the whistleblowing mechanism. They will publish a list of all safeguarding incidents to be as transparent as possible. They even sent a letter to their donors last year asking them to continue sending their money to those who need it should they chose to stop their donations. Most people who work at these charities are good people with good morals. They do incredible work all over the world and bring improvements to communities. Millions of people around the globe are dependent on these charities. In the midst of all these revelations, these are the people who seem to have been left out of the conversation entirely. There

are people in Yemen who after three years of war, are facing the world’s largest cholera outbreak. More than half a million Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar and are now in camps in Bangladesh. People in Syria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and so many other places where aid work is necessary. If the money stops, these are the people who will suffer the most. And that is not fair. All charities and NGOs should accept that to carry on the work that they do; they need the public’s trust. They need to be transparent, and they need to set up mechanisms to ensure any incidents are dealt with appropriately. The perpetrators are the ones who need to be punished, not the victims and not the millions of people who rely on them. Those who want to donate should only do so for charities that have taken the appropriate measures. Despite the incidents in Oxfam, many people are seeing their efforts to redeem themselves and are standing by them. Actor Simon Pegg is the belief that the organization and the people they support should not be punished for the actions of a few. His statements were echoed by Glastonbury organizers, Emily Eavis and her father, Michael Eavis.

Industry Insight





N 76

ow that we are about to end the first quarter of 2018, and consumer behaviors and demands are changing at a record-breaking pace, every business owner’s and entrepreneur’s conscience is being bombarded with the same question – What’s next? With good reason too. If you want to gain a competitive edge in today’s market, you need to stay ahead in the game. New aspects of consumer behaviors and expectations will be playing an imminently vital role in shaping the digital market, leaving every firm scrambling to adopt the new personalization strategies which will give them a competitive edge. Given how exceedingly busy the digital marketing landscape has become, here are a few predicted trends that may help marketers to decide where to spend their budgets, time and resources in 2018

01. LIGHTS, CAMERA, TRACTION Videos have become the ultimate way to engage an audience as we become a world enamoured with the perceptible. A Visual Networking Index report predicts that video content will take over 80% of the entire Internet traffic by 2019. Moreover, YouTube has become the biggest search engine after Google, which has made it an even more important platform for advertisers. With 63% of businesses actively using videos for marketing motives, the trend isn’t going to die anytime soon. As video advertising continues to explode, marketers who master the game stand to drive substantial campaign performance improvements. The figure below shows the increasing investment in digital advertising. However, what may change is the nature and length of these videos. Despite this fluctuating nature of viewer inclination based on video length, style, and structure, the 92% of mobile video viewers who share them with others make for a convincing argument in favor of video marketing.

DRASTIC GROWTH FOR LIVE VIDEO ON MOBILE Live Video to Grow 39-Fold by 2021, 5% of Mobile Video Traffic

108% CAGR 2016-2021


Back to Trends Menu


03. ACT 2018: THE AI TAKEOVER Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be everywhere already, but more companies will start using AI primarily for trend analysis and consumer profiling. Connectivity with consumers will improve, targeting will become more precise, and emails can be sent with virtually no trouble. Customers will also be provided with an abundance of accurate and relevant options, further alleviating the shopping experience for them. Furthermore, digital marketers are finding ways to go even further to meet customer expectations of greater personalization and map relevant ad campaigns to audience needs. With the focus on more refined audience targeting, marketers will be able to identify people interested in their products more efficiently, set the right bidding rules, and create the right experience for millions of people.


02. CHAINS ACROSS THE GLOBE The open-source technology developed by the enigma Satoshi Nakamoto(1) called Blockchain is most known for its application in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but various industries are starting to see the benefits of its application. This technology is especially relevant to advertising as blockchain is rooted in the underlying principles of trust, transparency, and security – the three objectives advertisers are striving to perfect. Early adopters in adtech are turning the blockchain ideology into reality such as The New York International Advertising Exchange (NYIAX) who have partnered with Nasdaq to facilitate the buying, selling and re-trading of future guaranteed premium media contracts. Also, industry-wide working groups are coming together like the IAB Tech Lab to explore and develop standard practices and benchmarks around the use of blockchain internationally. As it stands, the practical implications of blockchain on the everyday marketer may not be earth-shattering in 2018, but it is indeed a trend to keep an eye on in the coming year.


($ Millions)

North America $20,000

Europe Asia Pacific


Latin America Middle East & Africa




Source: Tractics











04. MAKING IT EXCLUSIVE IOT, smart speakers, the need to engage – it all has lead to content being lifted off the screen. Not just through an apposite post, but interactions with chatbots and virtual assistants can also be used to define the consumer experience eloquently. Although the fact that most marketing attempts grow on the soil of original, engaging, educational, and value-imparting content won’t change in 2018, visual content will be seeing a substantial growth-and there are as many content formats as distribution channels, so prioritizing one has been deemed to be difficult at the moment. But, the only aspect someone involved in the industry can agree on is that personalized, targeted, and high-value content will remain as a crucial component to content success in 2018. In fact, 94% senior-level executives consider content-personalization critical for customer targeting, according to a report from PWC’s Digital Services Group.



Data visualized by tableau c Statistica 2018

7. CONTENT TODAY, GONE TOMORROW Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories have led to the popularity of ephemeral content. Most ephemeral content is shared for up to 24 hours and then disappears forever. Brands are now creating content for their social channels as well as having a separate strategy for their ephemeral content marketing. Ephemeral content allows companies to be more authentic. Many brands have been seen to be using their Instagram profile for their best, high-quality content and stories for more real-time content. Because of the nature of the stories, content is lost within hours, which propels followers to take fast action which leads to optimal gain for the marketers.

Number of users in billions


























Data visualized by tableau c Statistica 2018


05. LET THEM HEAR YOU Voice is a natural evolution of search, and layers on top of existing search technology. The technology has existed for over a decade, but only now is robust enough for commercial use. The voice ecosystem is still in its infancy but combined with advanced analytics and hardware; it is likely to usher a new era of human interaction and experiences; this will not be a revolution over a day, but one that rolls out over a decade or more. Voice search is heavily dependent not only on voice recognition, but also on local and structured data for context, and artificial intelligence to extract meaning and mobile indexation to confirm preferred services. This year, Google announced that 20% of all its searches were through voice searches and according to ComScore it’s all set to rise to 50% by 2020. Naturally, it only makes sense that more content will now be optimized for voice searches.

06. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE THINGS There’s a reason why 51% of marketers believe that the Internet of Things (IOT)– ubiquitous, embedded devices that convey real-time data – is all set to revolutionize marketing by 2020. What’s more, 89% believe it will ‘very significantly’ impact customer engagement. In the last year, the IOT network expanded by a staggering amount of more than 30%. And this network, as it grows, will bring in lots of essential data and churn it to reveal vital information. As IOT works to generate information, the functionality of complex units, like manufacturing, healthcare, etc., will gain efficiency. Positively, from managing retail expenses to planning cities- IOT and analytics, when working together, can create business insights at a level no one has ever reached before.

Share of e-retail sales

Percentage of E-commerce in total international retail sales from 2015 to 2021


Source eMarketer Statistica 2018

Additional Information Worldwide: eMarketer: 2015 to 2016

8. TRICKLE DOWN MARKO-NOMICS Influencer marketing is not a new thing anymore. Due to the vast majority of marketers wanting to tap into the influencer market, there are far more challenges faced by agencies and brands. The popularity of influencer marketing has made it hard to know who to trust. Consumers want authenticity from influencers, and so the brands who seek to work with real influencers or industry experts will find a higher engagement rate. Consequently, with so many brands wanting to work with influencers, they will become more thoughtful about who they want to work and be associated with. The future of influencer marketing will see brands turning to real experts. This is due to too many brands wanting to work with social influencers which have led to their opinions no longer being trusted. Therefore, building meaningful relationships with influencers will become a significant aspect of digital marketing in 2018.

9. NOT REALLY REALITY The use of Augmented Reality on mobile devices provides a niche and engaging way for marketers to reach their target audience - it's quick, easy and exceptionally interactive. This year Apple announced the launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone X which provides users with new augmented reality experiences. Therefore its likely more social channels will plan on introducing new ways of integrating AR into their platforms. We have already seen Snapchat roll out a new AR feature allowing users to their Bitmoji and project themselves or images into the real world through the app’s camera. Similarly, brands may soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters. For example, IKEA rolled out 'Place' - an app for users to preview furniture in their home before buying. This technology is a great way to increase conversions by showing customers how their products will look in the surroundings of their own home, before buying. As AR grows, people will start to feel like they are missing out on this new world and want to become part of it. Therefore, given its exponential growth, companies will soon be finding new ways to tap into this trend. In 2006, HubSpot launched software designed to help organizations execute their inbound marketing strategies. Its Growth Stack includes CRM and sales enablement tools, but the foundation of the Growth Stack is HubSpot Marketing. HubSpot Marketing allows organizations to bring all the tools they use to support their marketing under one umbrella that shares the same data. It includes everything a marketer needs to increase website traffic, convert website visitors into leads, and “close the loop” to deliver a measurable Return On Investment.







Source eMarketer Statistica 2017







Additional Information Worldwide: eMarketer: 2014 to 2017

With the onset of new privacy regulations across the globe, brands that sell to customers in Europe and beyond must be prepared to comply. The new European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will redefine particularly what online privacy means for all organizations, as they’re faced with requests (and requirements) for the permanent erasure of customer information through the “right to erasure” and restrictions about how prospect data is collected and used for marketing initiatives. Also, 2017’s massive data breaches have had a considerable impact on how consumers everywhere (and perhaps even more so in the US) think about their online privacy and security. Consumers will prioritize companies and products that put their information security first in 2018 and beyond as these attacks continue to become more common, and smart marketers will begin using privacy protection and data security as a value proposition across all industries and product offerings. In conclusion, digital privacy environment will change significantly.


Prakash Advani

Co-Founder and CEO PicoNets


Connecting Data and Speed:

How a Content Delivery Networks is Changing the Online Platform By Asaduzzaman

Could you detail the operations of PicoNets and how it adheres to the needs of a fast-paced generation?

Prakash Advani is the Co-Founder and CEO of PicoNets. Alongside other achievements, the notable personality has played the demanding role of a jury member at the NASSCOM Product Conclave, IIT E-Summit and Dewang Mehta IT Awards and mentored at the Reliance GenNext Hub. Prakash has left his mark as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD and has over 20 years of experience in the IT Industry in areas of Business Development, Marketing, Sales, Alliances and Social Media Marketing. His wide exposure to IoT, Cloud, Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Web, and Networking makes him a learned business associate in this field. Prakash has also acted as the Regional Director for Canonical, where he helped set up the Ubuntu business across Cloud, PC, and IoT in India and South-East Asia. He has helped many new age companies to setup and expanded their business in the Asia Pacific. In this fast-moving world of consumerism where everything is just a click away, content consumption has become an invariable part of human life. We are no longer a generation that can associate with minutes of buffering; the demand is for everything to be delivered at the speed of lightning. Thus, businesses have now started adapting to this trend and addressing ways in which content can be delivered at the fastest pace to attract and retain a larger pool of consumers. To catalyze the process of data delivery further and help benefit businesses through consumer satisfaction, companies like PicoNets have emerged into the context. PicoNets provide a Hyper-Local Content Delivery Network that improves customer experience and reduces bandwidth costs for demanding content such video, VR, and AR. ICE Business Times converses with Prakash Advani, CEO, and Co-Founder, PicoNets to find out how Content Delivery Network (CDN) is playing a major role for businesses in the field of data.

Previously people used to watch videos on YouTube, however now a large amount of video content consumption has shifted to video platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, and social media such as Facebook and Whatsapp. We provide a solution to improve internet speeds by deploying a large number of Point of Presence (PoPs). These PoPs are deployed at Edge locations, which are close to the users. Such PoPs improve any content flow and is highly useful for social media as today most of our content consumption takes place on that platform.

What changes have you observed in the consumer behavior in regards to the online platform?

We can observe that there has been an increase in penetration of “smart� devices over the years. These devices consume data all the time as they are always connected and switched on. For instance, the CCTVs are now being replaced by IP Cameras, in which case you can monitor the camera

from anywhere over the internet. Similarly, the apps are demanding more data, and the customers are continuing to consume more data as well. Moreover, we can also see that the users are engaging more with the mobile devices for financial services such as banking, taxi booking, and bill payment, alongside socializing. Thus, the demand for data continues to grow. While the telecom networks are catching up and upgrading their services to 4G and beyond, infrastructure is just not being able to keep pace with the constant data demand; this is where Content Delivery Network (CDN) bridges this gap.


In today’s world where data security breach and dysfunctionality of devices have become a major issue, how important is it to be able to provide the customers with reduced cloud hosting cost?

PicoNets tries to adhere to this problem by providing an additional layer of security alongside reducing the cost of cloud-hosting cost. We do this by placing our infrastructural support as a firewall in front of the customers’, and thus, act as the first level of the defense. Devices that are sending data directly to the cloud first send data to our edge node which can then forward this data to the cloud. Any device being used to attack the cloud infrastructure can be isolated easily through this feature. Since the content is first served by our CDN, the number of requests coming in is also reduced. For heavy content sites, this would mean 90% of their customer requests are served by our CDN. This saves on the cloud hosting costs largely.

Considering the shift to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) content, how are you providing content solutions in this context and addressing this market shift? In case of AR and VR, the file size is much larger compared to video content. It will not be long that the 3G/4G networks will start to struggle as a large number of people will start consuming VR/AR and mixed reality content. To address this issue, we have built a Content Delivery Network scalable and capable of handling the most demanding content. With our CDN infrastructure, the most demanding media content can be delivered at a much faster speed now. As mentioned earlier the content is mainly delivered from the edge nodes, which are closer to the users, producing a much faster speed than usual. This also saves on bandwidth as the number of requests going to core infrastructure gets reduces.

With our CDN infrastructure, the most demanding media content can be delivered at a much faster speed now. As mentioned earlier the content is mainly delivered from the edge nodes, which are closer to the users, producing a much faster speed than usual.”


PRAKASH’S TAKE ON THE CDN EDGE: Keeping up in the Races Research shows that the attention span for an average consumer while watching a video is approximately 8 seconds. The content delivery network enables data to be delivered from the edge nodes, which are located closer to the users. This produces a much faster speed than usual this is particularly useful for content such as video. Thus, large organizations can benefit from this increased speed to attract and retain more consumers.

PROTECTION IS A PRIORITY CDN is particularly useful if your site gets Distributed Denial of Services (DDOS) attacks, which are attempts in which many different computer systems attack a target, such as a website, server or various other network resources. This attack is likely to bring down your website immediately by causing a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. The flood of incoming connection requests, messages, or malformed packets to the target system forcibly slows it down or even makes it crash and shut down. Thus, denying service to authenticate users or systems. As the CDN is the first point of contact for the customers, they are also the initial point of attack. Most CDNs have a distributed architecture and can combat a DDOS attack.

THE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE CDNs not only help to improve delivery of these media but also reduce data center/cloud hosting cost. Since the amount of data that goes to your core infrastructure is reduced, the cost also gets reduced.

Could you detail how you help companies “re-architect” their structure regarding content? We provide a seamless solution for the customers of our clients as they can get access to the content using our network, without the need to change anything. Our customer onboarding process is very simple and easy to process. It typically takes less than 24 hours for the content to get published on our CDN, then our client’s customers can be served through our network. A simple DNS change, allows us to start delivering content from our CDN, which usually takes a few hours. DNS replication, on the other hand, can take up to 24 hours but happens at a much faster rate. This helps us to redesign the ways using which companies have been delivering contents previously.

What benefits can the content providers achieve by using a service such as Real-Time Analytics provided by PicoNets?

We can structure our CDN design not only at the core to handle different types of services and media but also at the edge, for example, we assist Over-the-Top (OTT) video channels to deliver quickly with our hyper-local CDN solution even in patchy wireless regions such as villages. As part of our solution, we also offer Real-time Analytics that refers to the data, which can be accessed as they come into a system. This tool is used to predict patterns that provide meaning to the data coming flowing into a business. In our case, our clients can get more granular details concerning the time of traffic, which content is most requested and what types of devices and operating system people are using more frequently. It helps them be more efficient in delivering the most desired content to their customers within a short period.



Constantinos S. Gavriel General Manager Le Meridien Dhaka

Were you always planning on pursuing a career in hotel management? What were some early influences?

My family and I would travel extensively, so I was intrigued by hotels from a very young age. Even in London, we would go out for Sunday brunches at different hotels. I was fascinated by the ambience, the environment, the service. By the time I was about to graduate from high school I really did know which career path I wanted for myself so I decided to take a business studies course with an emphasis on International Hospitality. So, that’s when I decided to take up Hotel Management.

You have over 24 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Tell us about your journey to General Manager - how did it all begin?

My first job was working at a hotel bar. When I was in university, it was a four year sandwich course and the third year was about working in a hotel. I joined a hotel up in the North of England and worked in almost every single department. I worked in portering, the kitchen, house cleaning, restaurants, and finance, but my goal was to work in sales. I spent the first 15 years of my career in sales and marketing and then transferred to operations, where I have been working for about ten years now. I’ve been in Marriott International for the last seven years. I graduated from the University of North London in International Hospitality Management. I’ve spent the first 14 years of my life working in London out of the 25 years I’ve been in the industry. For the last ten years, I have travelled across four different countries. I was in Saudi Arabia, after after which I went to UAE and spent some time in Abu Dhabi. I moved to Eastern Europe where I worked at Marriott in Moscow for over three years and prior to coming here, I was in Kazakhstan. I’ve been with Marriott International for the past seven years, and the General Manager of Le Meridien Dhaka for eight months now.

What are some of the fundamental traits that you instill in your staff as a manager? Could you tell us the necessity for each of these traits in the context of the hospitality industry?

What I’ve tried to instill in our colleagues and associates is that they have to understand and anticipate our clients’ every needs. We are working in the people’s industry so it’s vital to have that relationship with the guests. Boutique hotels nowadays have excellent products and are known for


Photo Provided By Le Meridien



their architecture and interior design. One of the key differentiators we have is the service. My main focus for the first six to eight months that I’ve been here was to deliver a world-class customer experience. We have made a lot of progress but we still have the scope to elevate the service further. One thing that makes me proud is when we fine-tune the guest experience. I believe we have one of the best service cultures in the country here. Every day brings us new challenges. Every person, every occasion and every day is different. You need people in your team that have the skills to adapt to the clients’ needs. We must tailor fit our service based on what the guests want.

What is your opinion about the current hospitality industry in Bangladesh? How can we further improve the tourism industry in the local context? Could you cite an example that we could learn and implement from?

I think it’s an absolutely exciting time to be in Bangladesh from the hospitality point of view. We have three hotels under development. Potentially we’ll be announcing more hotels this year as Marriott International. I believe if you have a great product, a great location and great service you have nothing to worry about. We, as a hotel, are very much focusing on guest experience. In the world of social media, it’s all about communicating with the people. We are living in a digital, fast-moving environment and we have to adapt and communicate through various marketing initiatives we have, through social, digital, as well as print media. It takes a very long time for countries to become famous tourist destinations. The key essential is to have a long term vision which requires a variety of stakeholders from the government, organizations and clients. I believe the right way to do it is to have a long term vision with everybody around you having a part to play. A very good example is if you take Bangkok or Vietnam and where their tourism industry was 20 years ago. Dubai can be another example. 20 years ago it was just another small fishing port in the middle of the Gulf and Arabian


Peninsula but look at it today. I think with a strong commitment and the right leadership it can and will happen.

The hotel is located between the central business district and Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. In what aspects can this be beneficial?

I think one of the greatest advantages that our clients keep telling us about is the proximity to the airport. Another factor that comes to play in terms of location is that the city is moving. I’ve only been here for eight months but I understand that in 20 to 40 years, this area will be the hub. Business is moving in the same direction. I think we have a lot to gain from our location and as the road network expands, we will only shorten the time of our guests coming to the hotel.

What is Le Meridien’s vision and expectation from the market in terms of business growth potential? We have had a phenomenal two years. The growth we have seen is unprecedented in such scenarios. The marketing department continues to work extremely hard to position the hotel as number one in Dhaka, not just as a hotel but also in terms of fine dining, casual dining as well as a catering destination. I think the way we’ll accomplish this is by re-inventing ourselves. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our food and beverage concepts, giving guests what they want and giving them something new. I think the combination of all those factors will always help keep us in the top slot.

You mentioned that the hospitality industry is constantly growing. In regards to that, what do you think sets Le Meridien apart from the other contenders in the industry? How do you establish yourself as a unique hotel in Dhaka?

I think our product is way above everybody else’s. The variety of products we have in terms of dining options, spa area, pool area, conference and events are some of the largest and diverse spaces here. We have recently opened the infinity open air deck on the 17th floor, which has become another option for our guests and clients to visit and utilize. Above all, the combination of product,

service, location is very important, and as long as we keep reinventing ourselves and evolving, it’s a never ending story.

What are some of the achievements of Le Meridien Dhaka in terms of society, economy, and the hospitality business?

We have won six awards since 2015 and we are going to hopefully win more in terms of positioning this hotel as number one in Dhaka. We value our CSR program and activities a lot. We have donated to charities and organized a cloth bank drop-off for some schools in Dhaka. Our target for this year is to participate in CSR activities every quarter. My team and I are working on an initiative for the first quarter for next month. We want to do something for the local community and give something back from the success that we had. We want to give back as much as we can. So we will actively organize at least four activities in terms of corporate social responsibility. Le Meridien is one of our flagship hotels in South Asia. We currently have four flagship hotels in Dhaka - Le Meridien, The Westin Dhaka and Four Points by Sheraton Dhaka. We currently have three other flagship hotels in the pipeline. We have the JW Marriott, The Sheraton Banani, and we also have Courtyard by Marriott coming up. We want to increase the market share of our company within Bangladesh. We are also looking at other projects outside of Dhaka.

What are your expectations from the market based on your experience and expertise? Do you have any advice on improving the industry?

Our expectation is very positive. We have forecasted and budgeted good growth and we believe the economy is growing at a rapid pace. We are very confident that the economy will continue to grow in the next two to three years. However, there are elections this year and that’s what is in the back of our minds. If things continue the way they are in terms of security, political stability, and the economy, the indicators from all the key sectors is positive.

界 城 市 论 坛

How to Make Cities More Sustainable, Livable and Progressive Leveraging the Lessons Learned

Hasina Mushrofa, Programme Head of BRAC Urban Development Programme (UDP) shares her experience and some of the highlights from WUF 9.

Concepts at the Conclave

By Mahira Khan & Ashfaque Zaman Kuala Lumpur played host to the ninth session of the World Urban Forum. Organized by UN-Habitat, the week-long event commenced from 713 February 2018, boasted over 22,000 participants and delegates from 165 countries, and featured over 600 events. The participants comprised of prominent figures including over 100 ministers and deputy ministers, stakeholders from civil societies, private sectors, national, regional and local governments, grassroots and community-based organizations, foundations and philanthropies, research institutes and academies, professionals, UN agencies and other international and regional organizations. Addressing rapid urbanization and awareness of its impact on cities, communities, sustainability, climate change, policy and the overall economy were the primary objective of the event. The emphasis was on the

role of sustainable urbanization in achieving the sustainable development goals 2030. The event featured inclusive, open debates, sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of best practices and sound policies for the improvement of collective knowledge. Furthermore, it aimed to enhance coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders and constituencies which will eventually work in favor of the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization. This event provided crucial and invaluable insight into the best practices and course of action which will facilitate urban development in our nation. A key lesson from the event was the need to redefine the term urbanization. Urbanization has long been seen as a problem, but we should recognize it as an opportunity instead. However, redefining the phenomenon does not change the urban realities of widespread poverty, wealth disparity, inadequate housing and infrastructure, limited access to resources and amenities.

This conference was a tremendous opportunity for us, as we were able to showcase Bangladesh’s urban development endeavours on an international platform for the very first time. We presented and worked along with the Bangladesh government’s Urban Development Directorate, the Ministry of Housing and Public Works and partner NGOs such as Practical Action. We hosted two sessions at the conference: ‘Networking for Knowledge Sharing on Outcome of Good Practice in Bangladesh’, and ‘Towards Implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Context of the Most Vulnerable Country, Bangladesh: Problems and Prospects’. Apart from these, we participated as panelists in other discussions such as, “Leveraging Smart Cities for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda,” and “Sustainable Urban Development and Management” which demonstrated the Asian region’s best practice and lessons learned. Moreover, the world stage had a session conducted by Asian Development Bank (ADB), which facilitated the sharing of lessons learned from various projects implemented in urban centres across Asia. Alongside these, we also

International Event attended a number of training sessions and learning events on the issues of housing, climate change, renewable energy, urban planning and design.

We presented two of our initiatives at the convention. Washim Akhter, Programme Specialist in BRAC’s Urban Development Programme, presented on low-cost housing models in climate-vulnerable cities in Bangladesh. He solidified his case by using three best practice examples in Bangladesh. The first involved a community-led initiative piloted in Jhenaidah, the second example was of a low-cost high-rise rental model for people living in slums, led by the National Housing Authority (NHA) of Bangladesh, and the final example was of UNDP’s Community Housing Development Fund (CHDF) model piloted in Sirajganj and Gopalganj with prospects of being scaled. Saif Iqbal, BRAC’s Advocacy and Knowledge Management Manager in the Urban Development Programme, demonstrated how our work in the urban sector aligns with the targets of ‘SDG-11-making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ and the New Urban Agenda. He highlighted BRAC’s partnership with local and national government, academic and professional bodies and other NGOs, their work in the low-cost housing sector and also how they are working to strengthen urban governance through capacity training of local government, community mobilization, etc.

Photography : BRAC

Innovation at Every Curb: Paving the Way for a Habitable City

Turning Knowledge into Fruition

We need to come up with creative and innovative solutions if we are to mitigate the issues which persist in our urban reality. This will require an overhaul in the way we monitor, collect and process data, document, and scale-up good practices, adopt inclusive planning and design. The solutions to alleviate these issues will need to be non-linear and complex for them to be effective. By combining techniques/methods from diverse channels, we must create a multi-faceted approach, that is also unified and integrated. In short, we must divert all our resources, energy and channels towards achieving sustainable urban development. WUF9 was a seven-day affair consisting of 600 networking events, parallel sessions, and panel discussions. The key learnings that I gathered were: 1. Strengthening the role of local government is necessary to build a reliable system and a dialogue that can be done through an urban platform. Capacity building of the national government is essential to increase the role, responsibility, accountability of such platforms. Bangladesh lacks a national urban policy;

therefore to implement the new urban agenda we have to introduce a national urban policy alongside an urban ministry. The first attempt to approve such a policy was taken back in 2006, which was followed by another one in 2014. However, it’s saddening to see that even after more than ten years of the first attempt such a policy has not been approved yet. We also have to keep in mind that a new urbanization framework is needed to support the execution of such an agenda. 2. The 2030 agenda is one of the most critical agendas related to the urban context. Engaging in inclusive partnership and collaboration with the government and NGO will help to increase knowledge sharing, cooperation and ensure that the best practices are being scaled up properly. The role of policy advocacy is unparalleled while ensuring urban planning and governance to increase investment. It can also be used to implement integrated territorial development. Besides, institutions can also benefit from the use of the sectoral policies. However, in order to reach the goal of this agenda we have to influence the national, local, and city level policies by coming up with long, short, and mid-term plans.

3. We need to come up with some innovative mechanisms that can be used to improve the quality of our program and help us in capacity building and technical assistance. Our partnership development also has to be innovative and creative enough to support the new urban agenda. 4. We can work to make our programme more inclusive by engaging disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities the elderly, gendered minorities, and marginalised youth. We can build upon the capacity of the youth who are the future generation of the country and utilize them for the execution of the urban agenda. They can further be engaged in volunteer works and help to form a community; this is currently of utmost importance for the nation. 5. Community ownership is crucial; when you engage the people to work for their development, the results proliferate exponentially. We must create successful partnerships and collaboration that will help to facilitate the process further. These dynamics will increase their accountability, transparency and give them a sense of ownership of their programs which will, in turn, motivate them to support the urban agenda. Public, private investment can create avenues for more


International Event employment. The core principle behind this will require the collaboration of the national, sub-national and local in a participatory or consultative way, for the implementation of the urban agenda.

The Move to All Things Urban The urban population is expected to double by 2050 globally. According to the predictions stated in the UN-Habitat Report, the urban population of Bangladesh will double by the end of 2030, (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) Report figures indicate differently). We have limited opportunities. A wide gap exists when it comes to using our mechanism to combine the power of youth, women, grassroots organizations in planning, implementation, and monitoring. Other problems also exist related to inequitable access to the cities, decent jobs, public space, climate change, renewable energy, planning governance. Land tenure security and housing has become a significant issue and are the center of development. We need to focus on influencing local, city, national and even international policy and work with evidence-based issues. To influence a population, you have to provide factual data, extensive research, and model proof that your plan will work. We can learn a lot of things from this process like finding solutions to a lot of critical urban issues. We also found out that urban dynamics context varies from city to city, community to community and the reasons why people are shifting to the urban from climate


affected cities which are often hit by Aila, Cidr, river erosion, landslides, and cyclones. People migrate mostly in search of better lives than those that they left behind in their villages. We have to think about their skill development, other livelihood opportunities and entrepreneurship development including business opportunities and their overall economic empowerment.

BRAC, The Consistent Innovator

We are now operating in 20 cities and helping to develop the lives of 1 million people living in urban poverty. We improve urban governance, enable community mobilisation, rethink basic urban service delivery, ensure the rights and entitlements of people living in urban poverty and provide overall support for improved urban management and planning. By working in low-income urban settlements, we learned that we must lead an urban programme at the national level by working with all levels of government: from concerned national ministries, the Urban Development Directorate, the National Housing Authority to the municipal and city corporations as well. In October 2017, we brought together 100 mayors, ministers, secretaries among others. in a national convention where they collaboratively discussed affordable housing solutions for people living in urban poverty. In addition to the national mayor’s convention, we also co-hosted a national urban dialogue on disaster risk management and a

Photography : BRAC

conference on urban resilience to climate change. We aim to create a national level adaptation, and mitigation plan to assess climate vulnerability of cities like Satkhira, Barisal, Chittagong, Sirajganj, and Rajshahi. We can achieve exceptional results if we can create resilient climate strategies by doing vulnerability assessments in these cities and identify hotspots. To determine impact, we require access to data. We are trying to convert UDP into a knowledge hub and to this end, we have implemented real-time monitoring pilot project in Korail, one of the biggest slums in the country. Now that we have initiated the process of gathering data on urban households at the national and community-level, we are now considering ways in which we can use this data to inform management decision-making and planning procedures. Additionally, urban heritage is a tremendous issue. We need to prioritize urban preservation, and maintain and increase access to public space. Since all of this is not possible for us to do single-handedly we need to influence the national and local governments and engage them through capacity training activities so that cities across the

country can become smart cities. Monitoring mechanisms need to be strengthened if we are to effectively track our progress in implementing the New Urban Agenda. We are working to fulfill the targets set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-11) and section 9 of the Seventh Five Year Plan. We refer to the target indicators and monitoring mechanisms set out in SDG-11. The New Urban Agenda and SDG-11 are interlinked. In addition, we are working with the mayors of 20 cities and towns in making them better prepared, proactive and functional. We are trying to increase public investment through public service delivery mechanisms of local municipalities and city corporations. Besides, we are also working with the UN-Habitat to increase collaboration in the national and international level. We are working on ways in which we can improve knowledge sharing. Organizations like UNDP, USAID who are playing a notable role in development can all be brought together to implement the new urban development agenda. Bangladesh is about to see considerable development in this current phase of work leading up to 2030.

Special Interview

Ejaj Ahmad Founder & President Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC)

Where leadership and education are concerned, the name Ejaj Ahmad is most likely to surface; having established the nonprofit organization BYLC (Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center) back in 2009, Ejaj has trained more than 3,000 high school, college, and university students over the past nine years. Among them are Queen’s Young Leader, Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum, founders of nonprofits, Bangladesh Civil Service cadres, young leaders in Bangladesh Navy and Army, entrepreneurs and professionals who are making a contribution in diverse industries in Bangladesh. With BYLC, Ejaj has challenged the status quo and made society recognize that leadership education is a necessity for young people in order to be successful in today’s fast changing world. Through BYLC, he introduced the first of its kind leadership institute to the country, therefore enabling individuals to tap into their full potential.

Instilling Leadership Qualities

I believe that leadership can be learned and it can be taught. The world we live in today is evolving rapidly. The most important skill to grow and excel in today’s complex world is to have the capacity to diagnose problems, think critically, communicate well, and mobilize others for action. These are the leadership skills that we teach at BYLC using our own experiential curriculum. Leadership is about doing. Therefore, in addition to theoretical aspects of leadership, our curriculum also focus on practical application of leadership by giving students opportunity to run experiments and take ownership of collective problems in our communities

Academic Performance VS Skills Development

I think both skills and GPA matter. GPA is important because it acts as a signal to the employer. An employer does not have several months to work with a potential recruit, trying to figure out her/his capabilities before making a recruitment decision. Therefore, employers use GPA to signal capability—to gauge a potential recruit’s intelligence, learning capacity, and ability to work hard. However, potential hires just based on GPA also has its limitations, as it’s not an accurate reflection of academic ability in the present context of Bangladesh’s education system. You may have GPA 5, but it may mean very little, especially in an environment where exam question papers




are leaked on a regular basis. Secondly, the education curriculum in Bangladesh primarily relies on rote learning. Rote learning is not effective in today’s context because knowing information is not enough today and it is also not an advantage. Anyone with internet connectivity can access information. The critical skill for the 21st century, therefore, is the ability to synthesize, analyze, and use information to make decisions. These critical thinking skills are not fostered in our schools, colleges, and universities. As part of our work, we regularly engage with employers from different sectors and they tell us all the time that there is a significant disconnect between what they are looking for and what the universities in Bangladesh teach. Employers want communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills and our next generation must find a way to equip themselves with these skills.

The Importance of Creativity

With education being divided into business and science, arts and creativity always take a backseat. Higher education today puts a disproportionate importance on business education. Just walk into any university and see the number of students studying BBA and the number of students studying art, philosophy, or history. I believe

that the purpose of education is not just to earn a living. There is nothing wrong with pursuing business education or focusing on livelihood, but I think that should not be the only focus. The purpose of education also has to be the enlightenment of the mind and for this holistic development one needs to have a broad education, which includes art, music, literature, history, along with business and science education. If BYLC could design the national curriculum, we would have a three-pronged approach. First, to future proof the next generation and to ensure the broad intellectual development of children, we would include curriculum on coding, math, and science along with equal emphasis on art and music. Imagination and creativity is what will differentiate humans from robots in the future so teaching our children how to solve problems creatively is imperative. Second, the current educational curriculum is heavily dependent on lecture-based learning with a minimum engagement of the learner. We would ideally like to provide a lot of content online (or in tabs where internet is not available) and use the classroom to facilitate discussions and provide experiential learning opportunities for students. Third, in today’s age of social media, it’s easy to lose interpersonal connections. Children today have 1,000 friends on social media but not five friends with whom they can share their feelings in real life.

The purpose of education also has to be the enlightenment of the mind and for this holistic development one needs to have a broad education, which includes art, music, literature, history, along with business and science education.”


We would promote action-based learning whereby we would take students to the community and have them design and deliver a service project that would have a social impact. This will help instill empathy and a sense of agency in children. More importantly, it’s crucial for us to help our children build real relationships and have real conversations, outside of the addictive world of social networks.

Making Space for Failure

Leadership is about running experiments. You don’t have a script while leading, so you have to improvise along the way. And no one gets it right all the time. Failure is inevitable. What determines your long-term success, then, is your capacity to tolerate failure and learn from it. Failure also gives us space and time to reflect. You don’t usually reflect when you’re successful; you don’t pause and ask why you succeeded. But when you fail, you pause, reflect and try to understand why things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to. Therefore, failure can serve as a powerful learning experience. At BYLC, in each of our leadership courses, students are asked to bring a ‘leadership failure case’ to class. They diagnose their case with their peers in small groups. This exercise helps them learn that leadership is both about action and reflection. One without the other is not useful. Life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself. Therefore, one needs to be prepared not just to learn from one’s failure but also from the failures of others. At BYLC, in our classroom, we not only diagnose our leadership failures but also discuss failures from history and other communities and organizations.

* To learn more about BYLC and its different courses for the youth, you can visit or get connected on

Photo Essay Text by Taposh Ghosh Photographs by Din Muhammad Shibly & Md Soliman

Saving the



T he northern region of Bangladesh accounts for over one-third of all the rice produced in Bangladesh, but the current cultivating season faces a tragic scene as continuous cold waves in the months of November and December has caused a sudden and significant drop in the temperature, resulting in the parish of young rice plants which would have been used to grow the season’s Boro paddies. In most cases, the plants did not attain their natural growth as the planting season passed by. Collecting seeds and growing new plants have caused the rice farmers to fall behind on schedule by 15-30 days. This delay is feared to have a significant impact during the rice harvesting season, the ideal time of which is right before the monsoon. This setback might lead to the flooding of paddy fields from incessant rainfall and destruction of the rice plants, similar to the prior experiences of the northern region and Sylhet in 2017.

Bilkumari is one of the largest wetlands of the Varendra region in Rajshahi. The wetland is used as paddy fields for half the year, while the other half is used for aquaculture. The land completely disappears under water, becoming one with the river during the monsoon season.


Rice farmer Dulal (50) of Pabna waters his seed beds along the borderline pastures of the river Padma in Kushtia. Much of his young rice plants have developed a reddish-yellow hue, instead of the usual lush green, as a result of the persisting cold weather and fog.


Boro plantings are grown in the wide pasture of river Padma, flowing along the city of Rajshahi. The rice plants by this time have grown up to a height of only 1.5 inches, instead of their ideal height of 6-7 inches.



The Hardinge Bridge has overseen the Ishwardi river on the Padma for over a century and has found a company in the Lalon Shah Bridge being established in 2004. Generations have gone by with the introduction of better infrastructure, but our farming practices are still frozen in time, using century old techniques.

Pastures along the river Jamuna have grown into uncultivatable pieces of land with water levels dropping during the cultivating season and the river drying up at an unprecedented rate.


Special Interview

THE YOUNG GAME CHANGERS OF JCI BANGLADESH The inception of the Jaycee movement in Bangladesh commenced in the year 1972 by young active citizens who were determined to identify problems in the existing social structure and create sustainable impact. The spirit of these young active individuals was mirrored rapidly by similar minded people and thus the first network of active citizens in Bangladesh was formed. In the 90’s JCI Bangladesh went through extensive uplifting and enhancement. In the year 2000, JCI Bangladesh received its full affiliation status. Currently, JCI Bangladesh has 14 Local Chapters with nearly 800 members in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. Till date, we have had seven JCI Vice Presidents from Bangladesh. JCI Bangladesh received the 100% efficiency award for consecutively three years. Local Chapters of JCI Bangladesh contribute extensively towards the betterment of the society and community. The underprivileged population of Bangladesh is benefitted extensively by the impactful activities by the local chapters that have been appreciated tremendously by JCI members worldwide. Our members have made JCI Bangladesh proud in many international conferences and events. The 2017 National Governing Board consists of eight executive committee members, two directors and eight committee chairs. There has been many activities and events organized by JCI Bangladesh for our members this year including the first ever Family Day Out, Peace is Possible Award Night, NGB- LP Fellowship, Public Speaking and Debate Championship and many more. More than 25 projects have been carried out by Local Chapters in the year 2017 along with 28 trainings.


OVERALL PICTURE OF JCI AND JCI BANGLADESH In the present world order, how relevant is JCI and JCI Bangladesh? Is it living up to the expectations?

I genuinely believe that young people are at the heart of every society. They are the change makers and can make an extensive positive contribution to the development of the world. The members of Junior Chamber International (JCI) are the young people. Hence the contribution and importance of JCI in Bangladesh and worldwide are paramount. The JCI Mission states “to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change,� and I sincerely believe that JCI members are creating sustainable positive changes wherever they are, as it is the biggest platform of young active citizens. JCI has over 200,000 members, 5,000 local organizations and over 100 national organizations.

Could you briefly tell us about your journey of JCI Bangladesh so far?

FAYAZ ATIQUL ISLAM 2018 National President JCI Bangladesh

The journey has been nothing short of astounding. From membership growth to international recognition the curve for JCI Bangladesh has been upward moving. At the moment we have fourteen local chapters operating in Dhaka, Sylhet, and Chittagong. Currently, we have eight hundred plus members who are continuously creating impact. Local Chapters are playing a unique role in implementing very impactful projects, engaging events and building a fantastic network around the globe. JCI Bangladesh has had a significant impact in bringing positive change to many lives through the projects carried out by Local Chapters; members also go through different training programs for their self-development and the journey continues.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF JCI BANGLADESH Could you detail international standard criteria that JCI Bangladesh and its various chapters have to fulfill every year?

JCI sets out some specific criteria that need to be followed by JCI Bangladesh and the Local Chapters. National organizations throughout the world are given certain criteria every year that need to be fulfilled by the national organization (JCI Bangladesh) to achieve 100% efficiency. In alignment with the criteria, JCI Bangladesh also sets out some specifications that need to be met by the Local Chapters to achieve 100% efficiency. The success of a national organization significantly depends on the success of the local chapters.

What is the international recognition of JCI Bangladesh?

Over the years, JCI Bangladesh has extensively been applauded and appreciated globally. We have had seven JCI Vice Presidents and we also continuously serve in many international positions including APDC. JCI Bangladesh has received the 100% efficiency award for three years in a row. Our projects have been recognized and praised in the International events. Our national and local officers have an excellent standing in the international community and are portrayed as examples of commitment, dedication, and passion for JCI. We have regular visits by JCI President, Executive Vice President, and Vice President to Bangladesh and they appreciate the work we do.



2018 Immediate Past National President JCI Bangladesh

COLLABORATION WITH DIFFERENT CORPORATE IDENTITIES JCI has set a new bar when it comes to organizing various meaningful events with corporate affiliations. What’s the recipe for success?

One philosophy that we all truly believe in JCI is creating a partnership and working in collaboration with different stakeholders of the society. In JCI Bangladesh, we believe not only in recognition of our members, but we value and recognize the positive contributions made by different individuals in Bangladesh to make this world a better place for us. And when it comes to the recipe for success, I guess the answer lies in your question, we organize meaningful events that positively impact our society and the youth.

What would be your advice for young JCs to ensure successful corporate collaborations?

Doing the homework is imperative. By that I mean you should have a detailed idea about the cause (events, projects) and the organizations that you want to develop collaboration with. We must understand the philosophy of an organization and find common ground with the philosophies and beliefs of JCI. It is also important to follow specific guidelines while developing a proposal or a presentation. One must always remember that a significant cause can bring great collaboration.

IRFAN ISLAM 2018 National Executive Vice President JCI Bangladesh

LOCAL EVENTS AND TRAINING What are the the various training programs different Local Chapter and JCI Bangladesh organize? What is the impact from these training programs?

There are some ‘Official’ and ‘Recommended’ courses of JCI, which members need to complete to have a better understanding of JCI, its mission, vision and also to become a trainer. These training not only increase members’ knowledge about JCI but also have a very positive impact on a member’s personal development. This year JCI Bangladesh is organizing all the training in collaboration with the Local Chapters. After completing a course, a member needs to pass an online test. Many soft skills training are also organized by the Local Chapters. We already have a pool of world-class JCI Trainers, and we believe in increasing this number over the years.

Could you elaborate on the events organized by JCI Bangladesh and Local Chapters?

ERFAN HAQUE 2018 National Vice President JCI Bangladesh

JCI Bangladesh has some signature events such as TOYP, Peace is Possible, Leadership Academy, Public Speaking and Debate Championship, National Convention that not only focus on our members and fellowship but also recognizes the contribution made by young people towards the betterment of Bangladesh. Apart from that we also organize an annual Iftar program, Family Day Out, etc. This year, in particular, JCI Bangladesh will organize two grand events that will focus on the youths of Bangladesh. Local Chapters organize many meaningful and impactful events throughout the years that focus on their members and also different communities in needs.


APDC AND INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION How does JCI Bangladesh ensure a good international collaboration with counterparts in abroad?

JCI members are well connected by their common mission and vision statement around the world. But apart from that JCI members exchange their ideas, views, etc. through the international conferences, twinnings and meeting with other chapters. JCI Bangladesh ensures good international relations by participating international conferences, twinning agreements, inviting other JCI member to local events, etc.

What is APDC? Could you detail the council’s (APDC) purpose?

APDC stands for Asia Pacific Development Council. APDC consists of a group of people who works for the development of JCI in those countries where JCI is not present or with the national organization who are struggling to establish JCI in the Asia Pacific region. Each year JCI Bangladesh nominates its members to work on the international platform where the members get the chance of self-development and also to contribute in other communities as well. By being an APDC member, JCI Bangladesh members can highlight JCI Bangladesh in the international arena, and they can use their experience in Bangladesh to make our local community a better one.

SAKIB AHMED 2018 National Vice President JCI Bangladesh

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS, RULES AND REGULATIONS What are the international events that JCI organize worldwide? Briefly detail the goals and objectives.

Being a global network of active citizens, JCI holds area conference for respective four areas: Asia & Pacific, the America, European Conference and Africa & Middle East during mid-May till June. This year Asia & Pacific Conference in Japan. Global Partnership Summit in United Nations HQ in New York in July and World Conference in end of October in Goa, India to elect and select the new board for the upcoming year. As globally-minded young people, we all have rights, responsibilities, and share goals. We find targeted solutions to local issues benefiting our communities, our world, and our future.

How do you ensure that individual chapters of JCI are abiding by rules and regulations that are set up by the international body? SARAH KAMAL 2018 National General Legal Counsel JCI Bangladesh


JCI has its constitution, and we have a guideline so that every National Organisation and Local Organisation is aligned with the JCI constitution. And as a JCI member we take the oath to serve as a JCI member faithfully and to the best of our ability serve as a living example of the organization’s philosophy, and belief and any member failing to do so go through Disciplinary Committee.

PROJECTS AND ACTIVE CITIZEN FRAMEWORK What is Active Citizen Framework? Why is it important? The JCI Active Citizen Framework is a methodology for running sustainable, needs-based projects that create measurable results in communities. The process starts with assessing local needs, engaging partners to share resources and strengths, conducting action-oriented projects and finally monitoring and evaluating results to ensure tangible, effective positive impact. The JCI Active Citizen Framework empowers young people to create impact for a better world.

What are the topics that need to be remembered while projects are being designed? MARUFUL ISLAM JHALAK 2018 National Secretary General JCI Bangladesh

JCI members use the three stages of community development, health and wellness, education and economic empowerment and sustainability to determine local needs, form solutions and take action. While developing a project we need to determine the community needs, find out the cause, carry out regular activities to have a sustainable impact and evaluate the project. It must be noted that we should always choose a local community where we have good access and rapport.

MEMBERSHIP AND UTILIZATION OF FUNDS Could you elaborate upon the members and membership growth in different Local Chapters?

At present, we have 14 Local Chapters, and currently, we have over 800 members. Each Local Chapter has its uniqueness. All the members truly believe in the mission, vision, and creed of JCI. The Chapters are carrying out different events, projects, etc. that generates interest of the youths of Bangladesh, and they become involved with the Local Chapters. Over the years we have witnessed a considerable increase in the number of our members.

What are the financial aspects of this chapter?

It is essential to present a treasury report at the meetings so that all the members are aware of the financial standing including the expenditure and the income. The process is a lengthy one and needs a lot of explanation. Just to keep it simple it must be remembered that proper utilization of funds is necessary and we have to ensure that the maximum impactful output is achieved, while we are making any decision regarding expenditure.

MIR SAHED ALI 2018 National Treasurer JCI Bangladesh





By Ashfaque Zaman and Minu Ahmed

According to World Bank, there are 5 million children between the ages of 6 to 14 primarily from low-income families, urban-slums and hard to reach areas which remain out of school. While we have made a noteworthy stride in education, the number staunchly resonates how much of an effort we need to make to achieve quality education for every demographic. Rafiqul Islam Shathy, Chief of Party of the Second Chance Education Program, Save the Children, sheds light on the templates that will change the scenario of primary and secondary education.


RAFIQUL ISLAM SHATHY Chief of Party Second Chance Education Program Save the Children

STARTING A NEW CHAPTER The Second Chance Education (SCE) program is an initiative by the Government of Bangladesh to provide quality basic education to out of school children in Bangladesh, keeping in line to achieving SDG Goal 4, "Ensure inclusively and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning." By “out of school,” we mean those who were never enrolled in primary school or had to drop out for whatever reasons. The interventions are flexible and designed to overcome whatever barriers or challenges that inhibited these children from receiving a basic education. The program is being executed in collaboration with Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) under Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME). The SCE program is being implemented under the guidance of DPE, by three Joint Venture (JV) Partners: BRAC, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and Save the Children (SCI), where SCI is serving as the lead agency of the program. While DAM operates on its own, seven other national NGOs are supporting BRAC and SCI to effectuate the program. The program is implementing four government-recognized education models, namely Ability Based Accelerated Learning (ABAL) model, Cohort model, Multigrade model and SHIKHON Rural model. The program is being implemented in 37 upazilas/thanas under six districts of


Bangladesh. Currently, the program is in a nine-month (September 2017 to June 2018) pilot phase to complete Grade 1, targeting 100,000 out of school children, between the ages of 8 to14 years.

THE PEDAGOGY OF INCLUSIVENESS Many might be unaware of the fact that Bangladesh has the world’s most extensive set up for primary education, with a vast number of trained officials to implement the primary education programs according to the Bangladesh Primary Education Stipend Project. In 2009, the government had developed an education policy (Education Policy 2010). It stated political manifesto and cemented the government’s commitment to achieving the goals of “Education For All” and the related Millennium Development Goals. Overall, Bangladesh has achieved a high level of gender parity in term of educational access; however, in the more remote rural areas, girls still have significant problems in attending school regularly. Despite the commitment of the government, there are some geographical disparities which affected education. Children from hard to reach areas like haors (seasonal wetlands), baors (oxbow lakes) and hill tract areas are still lagging behind from receiving

the benefit from education. This situation has created inequity and inequality in education. The government targets to allocate more funding to schools in disadvantaged localities so that the children of these areas will get particular attention and subsequently reduce the inequalities. Prioritizing needs based infrastructure, teacher training, localized materials and other interventions to schools in disadvantaged areas will help reduce disparities between regions. Corollary to this, there are other reasons why children are out of school: poverty, insecurity while traveling to school, eve-teasing, etc. The present 18% dropout rate and non-enrolment of 2% of total children have created a space to introduce an education “safety net” for the out of school children; this propelled the subsequent development of the Second Chance Education program. It was developed specifically to cater to those children who could not receive basic education in the “first chance.” PEDP III will

support the increasingly equitable distribution of education attainment by expanding enrolment to out-of-school children, addressing issues which influence household decisions to enroll or withdraw children from school, and creating school environments that enable children to learn the material and develop skills needed to boost productivity and earnings.

EDUCATION IS NEVER TOO LATE Bangladesh’s development policies have supported economic growth, raised the overall standard of living, and reduced the incidence of both human and income poverty. A policy agenda that includes enabling all children who begin primary school to finish and expanding opportunities at post-primary levels will increase the proportion of Bangladesh‘s labor force with basic education credentials benefiting both the macro and household economies. Our government has the largest centralized education system. We have made many strides in primary education, for example, gender parity is now high, enrolment rates are at 98% net enrolment (the number of children enrolled at the age of 6 years) and 103% gross enrolment (the number of children enrolled regardless of age). Secondly, the government developed the SCE program, with an aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4. SDG 4 is essential for quality and inclusive education. However, the focus should not be applied to merely the attainment of education. The purpose should be on

The SCE program is the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of its kind, between the government and well-established national and international NGOs. The pilot phase will play a very crucial role in deciding whether the public-private partnership works, whether the joint venture partnership works, and how well the education models work. ensuring quality education for these out of school children. The SCE program is the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of its kind, between the government and well-established national and international NGOs. The pilot phase will play a very crucial role in deciding whether the public-private partnership works, whether the joint venture partnership works, and how well the education models work. Within the first four months of implementation, the program reached its target of enrolling and providing basic education to 100,000 out of school children, through the establishment of 3,332 learning centers. This is an enormous achievement for the program and shows that the SCE program, through the PPP, and the JV Partnership is indeed an innovative and plausible cause.

SCALABLE SOLUTIONS START SMALL The primary objective of these SCE schools is providing basic education in the national competencies (up to Grade five) identified by the NCTB (National Curriculum and Textbook Board). The history of primary and secondary education has not changed; there needs to be a mechanism to include children that had lost their first opportunity to obtain an education. For most of them, it is not a matter of choice but external factors that dictate this. We want a significant number to mainstream. We want older children to be in livelihood skills training. The hard to reach education program in UNICEF has a component livelihood skill development. The children above 14 years of age were trained for jobs at the local level. The fields included tailoring, mobile phone servicing, beauty parlor services, motorcycle mechanics, handicrafts, carpentry, etc. These education schemes allow older children to generate higher incomes through their specialty. The government is trying to expand this program to 1 million children during the time frame of


the Primary Education Development Program 4 (PEDP4). The initial stage will have 100,000 children, and the government will cover the rest in the next five years.

DRAWING OUT THE CHALKBOARD: FINDING THE MODEL THAT FITS There are four education models being implemented in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Sunamganj, Kishoreganj, and Gaibandha districts. The models were identified and selected based on the nature and characteristics of the dropout children and their involvement in other familial obligations (for example caring for a younger sibling or working to help generate income). Three out of four education models are from Bangladesh. The ABAL model is originally from India but has been nationalized after a successful experience of implementation. In between 2012-2016, a high number of government education officials of Bangladesh received a hands-on experience on ABAL model through visiting Rishi Valley (India), where the ABAL model was first developed. These models have been around for an average of ten years; this is the experimental stage to see what works best. Nevertheless, after a long exercise of the models, the government came to the conclusion that no single model can cover 100% of our target population. Geographical factors play a crucial role as to why a


model works well in some areas and in others it doesn’t. The government had assessed the performance of the models in the selected implementing areas and chosen accordingly. History has shown time and again that when people work together, they are much stronger and can achieve that much more. Similarly, the SCE program was a challenging and mammoth task that couldn’t be borne by one organization alone, and thus the need for the Public-Private Partnership and consequently, the Joint Venture Partnership. So far the program progress is showing promise, and so there is some light at the end of this tunnel.

UNDERSTANDING THE DEMOGRAPHIC: THE PRECURSOR TO A CULTURE OF CHANGE According to the Education Scenario In Bangladesh: Gender Perspective Report, 17% of girls and 23.9% of boys drop out from primary schools, and this increases to 45.9% and 33.7% respectively in secondary school. The primary reason for dropout rates is poverty. Moreover, class sizes are beyond the learning capacity. The government has stated that they will achieve one is to 40, but most of the schools still have one is to 70, 80 or even 100. A teacher cannot address such a large

number within the allotted 40 minute period which leads to a fall in quality. When classrooms are so dense, low profile students (typically the ones that sit in the back of the classroom) are not attentive and eventually lose interest in education. Students want to have interactive child-friendly work, and this retains their interest in education. The location also plays a vital role in education. Many parents do not feel safe when their children have to travel a long distance specifically when it involves girls. For adolescent girls, it becomes a matter of eve-teasing and child marriage. Parents sometimes want to see an immediate benefit. Education provides long-term benefits. In this context, parents want to send them to the workplace. The belief is that they will earn money starting at a younger age and create a better quality of life.


The Rural model is responding to the particular educational needs of vulnerable children who live in conditions of extreme poverty in remote rural and hard to reach areas. The model ensures Quality Primary Education (QPE) through adopting active teaching and learning methods and working hard to create a joyful learning environment for the Out of

School Children (OoSC). The model is for OoSC aged 8 to14 years and tested in rural areas only following NCTB textbooks with some teaching-learning materials for each grade. The graduation period of the model is 48 months including readiness class with child-centered multiple ways of teaching-learning methodology. Teachers go through a 58-day training as well as monthly refreshers. There is community friendly follow up and tracking mechanism. Learners attend Primary Education Completion Exam (PECE) through the model.

ABAL model

Ability Based Accelerated Learning (ABAL) is a form of instructional design, teaching strategies and evaluation methods that focus on creating opportunities and experiences for students as per their level. It assists them by identifying their learning style and then implementing strategies to

help them learn most productively and positively possible. The targeted learner of the model is OoSC of 8 to 14 years. The model is tested in both urban and rural areas based on NCTB curriculum, five grade based and subject-based Modules. The duration of the learning process is 45 months but will depend on learners pace of learning. It is a multi-grade, ability-based accelerated learning with a flexible teaching-learning process. Teachers go through a 21-day foundation training, ten days follow up and monthly refreshers. The model has a strategy to follow up and tracking mechanism, strong linkage with livelihood skills. After completing the 45-month course content, the learner sits for the PECE.

Multi-Grade model

Multi-Grade teaching-learning is a model that differentiates a student according to levels of

subject knowledge and individual ability. Unlike the conventional system, the same student can have the option to be placed and learn about different grade’s subject according to their rating in individual subjects. This approach helps a teacher to teach students according to their competencies. The model lasts 42 months and targets OoSC aged 8 to14 years. The model is tested in both urban and rural areas and uses the NCTB curriculum and materials with different supplementary materials. The model consists of multi-grade teaching-learning methods with five-step principles; teachers go through a 10-day foundation, 4-day follow-up and 2-day subject-based training.

Cohort Model

The Cohort model is a one-teacher, one school model where the same teacher works with a cohort of children, teaching all lessons for four years until

the cohort completes the primary cycle. The curriculum is aligned to the NCTB curriculum and includes a set of supplementary books for children and teachers. Teachers use an activity-based teaching-learning approach with multi-strategy language teaching facilitates. The model requires 12 days basic training, two days orientation and monthly refreshers for teachers. The model has been tested in both urban and rural areas and focuses on 8 to 12 year olds out of school children with relaxation in age.

SOURCE: Bangladesh Primary Education Stipend Project: A descriptive Analysis, PEDP3 Brief (Revised), United Nationals Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2012, Open-water Fisheries in Bangladesh: A Critical Review, Education Scenario In Bangladesh: Gender Perspective Report, & World Bank. PHOTO: Minu Ahmed/Save the Children




By Taposh Ghosh


oday, about 10 million Bangladeshis are living abroad as migrants. Out of this, over 2.4 million Bangladeshis permanently live abroad either as citizens or with other valid documents in as many as 162 countries across the world. These permanent migrants living in different continents and countries are known as the ‘Bangladesh diaspora’ and have immense potential to make substantial contributions to Bangladesh’s development regarding sharing their skills, expertise, technology, and knowledge. Mostly living in the industrial countries including but not limited to the UK, the US, Italy, Japan, Australia, Greece, Canada, Spain, Germany, South Africa, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, these people make up the


ever-growing Bangladesh diaspora. While reasons for their departure varies – jobs, education, improved standard of living, etc. – individuals within the diaspora communities maintain a particular affinity with Bangladesh having a desire to continue a connection, culturally, socially or economically, to their country of origin. With this affinity comes an interest in matters related to the development of their homeland, be it the social and economic well-being of remaining friends and family members, humanitarian concerns, business interest, professional aspirations, or even a desire to return ‘home’ someday. But collectively or individually, if this interest is converted into engagement, the diaspora community can use their financial, time and intellectual resources to help reduce poverty, contribute to the expansion of the

private sector, and enhance global competitiveness and overall development of the country. Diaspora engagement is viewed as when the government of a given country increasingly recognizes the value that diaspora population brings to the development efforts and seeks ways to magnify the human capital and financial resources that emigrants and their descendants contribute to development in their country of origin. However, in Bangladesh, no such mechanism for recognition exists, and engagement is often limited to transfer of remittances only. This arrangement needs to go beyond and convert NRBs to direct investors in critical and emerging industries, generous philanthropy, and in the development of human capital and sharing and transfer of knowledge from the countries of residence to the country of origin in various ways.


Learning from Other Developing Nations Regarding creating engagement, Bangladesh has a lot to learn from numerous other developing nations. Lebanon, for example, has a dedicated crowdfunding platform towards their diaspora, which raises contributions for social causes such as water and sanitation, building schools, etc. and have goodwill ambassadors to carry out the effectiveness. The African diaspora has contributed over $10 billion for philanthropic contributions. For India, the brain drain has now converted back into brain gain, with over 4,000 professors and 35,000 doctors returning to the economy and contributing. The Indian government’s initiative for involving NRIs in SME investment is also playing a huge role. And in China, about 70% of its entire Foreign Direct Investment is owned by its diaspora. Another notable example is of Iraq, where an organization named Iraqis Rebuilding Iraq worked with Iraqi expatriates in rebuilding post-war Iraq, which again shows that non-residents never lose their connections with their nations. However, the bed stone of diaspora engagement lies in gaining the trust of the diaspora community first. The government needs to generate a sense of belief or perception that it values the diaspora’s contribution, wants them to contribute further, and a transparent and accountable mechanism would be followed in transforming their contribution into national development efforts.


A recent government study in association with A2i largely categorized the contributions and efforts for NRBs into three groups – philanthropy for community development, investment for economic and industrial growth, and expert engagement for knowledge and skill development.

The PIE Framework

A recent government study in association with A2i largely categorized the contributions and efforts for NRBs into three groups – philanthropy for community development, investment for economic and industrial growth, and expert engagement for knowledge and skill development. This categorization has been defined as the PIE framework and is being used to explain briefly how different countries have prospered using diaspora engagement. Based on the learnings from international experiences, an effort is being taken by the government to design an institutional framework that would implement the PIE

approach in Bangladesh. The model’s ultimate aim is to attach a return with each of the three avenues of diaspora contribution and encourage further engagement by promoting philanthropy with recognition, an investment with reward, and expert affiliation with remuneration.

Hindrance from Policy and Institutional Challenges Despite government attempts at integrating the diaspora population into national development, multiple base-level issues exist which need to be addressed before any other strategy implement, with the most significant problem being the absence of an online database that contains information of these long-term migrants. The difficulty of collecting data from and engaging permanent migrants who do not have legal stay permit in their country of residence further cripples the process. A policy-wise absence of clear provisions relating to diaspora engagement may become a key challenge as the existing policy provisions do not address the proposed PIE approach. The success of the model requires different ministries to get involved in new activities which may not always fall within their jurisdiction. Moreover, inter-ministerial coordination on a continuous basis also poses obstacles. The promotion of NRB philanthropy would also require the creation of special accounts to receive such funds from individuals and associations, which all

government agencies cannot do without explicit mandates.

The Proposed Way Forward The study proposes an immediate urge for a national initiative with substantial government ownership to develop an online database of the international diaspora community with the affiliation of embassies, missions, and consulates. Moreover, expatriates have been known to face a variety of security-related issues such as mistreatment, harassment, and safety upon visiting Bangladesh, and insecurity of properties and local investments; problems which need to be addressed as early as possible. The government must also deploy measures to acknowledge the contribution of the NRBs, to honor successful NRBs in different areas. Foreign Missions of Bangladesh are also suggested to set up dedicated diaspora engagement cells with immediate effect to deal with relevant affairs and act as a primary touch-point for NRB integration. An environment of trust and confidence is crucial to ensure the success of government's initiatives to involve NRBs in national development. Implementation of the PIE framework can act as an initial confidence-building measure to encourage the diaspora, and over the long-run build monitoring mechanisms to emit useful feedback and reviews of progress back to the NRBs to keep them updated and involved throughout the entire development journey.


Word of mouth

Bangladesh Honda Private Limited (BHL), unveiled the Sports Bike- CB Hornet 160R on 16 February 2018 at International Convention City Bashundraha (ICCB). Powered outstanding fuel efficiency, mono-suspension power & AHO for safety in roads, the 163cc motorcycle is all ready to add new dimensions to the bike riding experience.

ShopUp, a strategic support software company for F-commerce enterprises, avails cross-border delivery for customers abroad by signing an agreement with DHL Express at the DHL Express Facility Center on 18 February 2018. During the event dignitaries like the Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Honorable State Minister, ICT Division; Rubana Huq, businesswoman, and wife of Late Mayor, Annisul Huq and ASM Shakil, Commercial Director of DHL Worldwide Express (BD), engaged in a panel discussion about the importance of micro-commerce, and it's beyond border opportunities.

The four-day long BASIS SoftExpo took place on from the 22-25 February 2018. The program was inaugurated by the chief guest Abul M. Abdul Muhith, Honourable Finance Minister. Mustafa Jabbar, Hon’ble Minister for Post, Telecommunications & ICT was also present at the occasion as a special guest.


Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View recently organized a story-telling and musical night on 14 February 2018, Valentine’s Day. From around 1,200 entries the organizers selected the top three to come and share their stories with the audience during the occasion. The selected participants were later gifted with a foreign trip and day-night stay facilities at various five-star hotels in Bangladesh for enthralling the audience with their mesmerizing stories. Renowned singer Elita Karim and the band “Souls” also engaged the audience with their performances at the event.

Rancon Motors Limited launched a service week for Mercedes-Benz cars from 19 to 23 February 2018. The service campaign was inaugurated by Fuad Shamsul Alamin, Director of Shamsul Alamin Group. The inaugural ceremony was also attended by Misha Mahjabeen, CEO of Rancon Motors, Ashley Giles, Technical Expert from Daimler AG, and other senior officials from Rancon Motors. The owners availing Mercedes-Benz Bangladesh’s Service Week advantage where provided with a special offer of 15% off on invoice along with free inspection of their cars.

New Thai Chef Nuttaput Phiwluang joined Amari Dhaka last week to enhance the culinary experience of the hotel. Previously stationed at a prestigious Thai restaurant at Seattle in the US, the Chef plans to add a variety of curries as well as traditional Thai items to the menu. Three of the Chef’s special dishes named Tiger Prawn with Tamarind Sauce, Sea Crab with Lamb and Lamb with Lemon Garlic Sauce is a must try for the food enthusiasts.


Capital Market


Fortnightly Report of DSE, 1st February To 15th February 2018 Top 10 securities by turnover value in Tk. Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Name of securities LankaBangla Finance Ltd. Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Grameenphone Ltd. Monno Ceramic Industries Ltd. Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. BRAC Bank Ltd. Alif Industries Limited City Bank Ltd. Pharma Aids Ltd. Paramount Textile Limited

Category A A A A A A A A A A

Total Turnover in shares 49,626,357 4,397,445 2,757,693 10,116,898 10,741,701 12,168,429 8,192,583 20,929,664 1,884,073 17,357,979

Total Turnover Tk. in mn 2,000.91 1,434.61 1,384.87 1,263.76 1,183.67 1,147.04 935.61 894.43 885.11 817.14

% of Total Turnover Tk. 4.23 3.03 2.92 2.67 2.50 2.42 1.98 1.89 1.87 1.73

Total Turnover in shares 59,499,144 52,962,376 49,626,357 36,833,410 26,068,936 20,929,664 20,720,638 20,434,282 20,331,676

% of Total Turnover shares 4.64 4.13 3.87 2.87 2.03 1.63 1.61 1.59 1.58



Top 10 securities by turnover in shares Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Name of securities


Keya Cosmetics Ltd. National Bank Ltd. LankaBangla Finance Ltd. Generation Next Fashions Limited Mercantile Bank Ltd. City Bank Ltd. Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited Fu Wang Food Ltd. Bangladesh Finance and Investment Co. Ltd. Dhaka Bank Ltd.


Total Turnover Tk. in mn 648.11 692.40 2,000.91 349.64 628.71 894.43 405.26 401.52 468.43



Top 10 gainer securities (based on closing price) Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Name of securities Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Limited. Fine Foods Limited Monno Jute Stafflers Ltd. Apex Foods Limited Anwar Galvanizing Ltd. Monno Ceramic Industries Ltd. Republic Insurance Company Ltd. Pharma Aids Ltd. Unique Hotel & Resorts Limited Fu-Wang Ceramic Industries Ltd.

Current Fortnight Closing Price 130.70 38.50 938.90 174.00 84.00 137.00 30.60 497.40 62.90 17.90

last Fortnight Closing Price 102.40 30.70 750.30 142.60 69.90 114.60 26.30 431.70 54.70 15.70


Current Fortnight Closing Price 92.80 41.60 44.90 55.00 18.40 56.70 59.40 38.80 21.00

last Fortnight Closing Price 103.90 46.10 49.50 59.60 19.80 60.70 63.50 41.40 22.40




Category A B A A A A A A A A

Turnover Tk. in mn

Daily Avg. Turnover mn

699.56 236.75 150.28 227.26 578.00 1,263.76 18.63 885.11 681.11 217.72

63.60 21.52 13.66 20.66 52.55 114.89 1.69 80.46 61.92 19.79

Turnover Tk. in mn

Daily Avg. Turnover mn

(10.68) (9.76) (9.29) (7.72) (7.07) (6.59) (6.46) (6.28) (6.25)

667.26 130.16 184.69 251.62 90.87 63.75 7.65 2,000.91 267.72

60.66 11.83 16.79 22.87 8.26 5.80 0.70 181.90 24.34




change % 27.64 25.41 25.14 22.02 20.17 19.55 16.35 15.22 14.99 14.01

Top 10 loser securities (based on closing price) Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Name of securities BBS Cables Limited Padma Islami Life Insurance Limited Oimex Electrode Limited Nahee Aluminum Composite Panel Ltd. FAS Finance & Investment Limited Square Textiles Limited Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd. LankaBangla Finance Ltd. International Leasing and Financial Services Ltd. Standard Bank Ltd.

Source: Dhaka Stock Exchange


change %

Disclaimer: Dhaka Stock Exchange does not hold any responsibility for these date.


ICE Business Times, March 2018  
ICE Business Times, March 2018  

ICE Business Times is the leading premier business monthly in Bangladesh today, that is brought out by ICE Media Ltd.