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Regional Integration is key for economic recovery : Experts


Dhaka October 8 2021:

Speakers pointed out the need of regional integration to recover economic losses due to outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic in the Bay of Bengal region.

They also emphasized on building capacity, increase productivity and enforce trade agreements among countries of Bay of Bengal region to recover economically.

Such views came from training and capacity building program titled “Bay of Bengal Regional Trade and Connectivity Capacity Building Program” held virtually on Thursday and Friday organized by South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM) in association with USAID and U.S. Department of State-funded Cross-Border Infrastructure and Connectivity project.

According to SANEM, Although the regional economic integration within the Bay of Bengal region has bright promises, considerable hurdles still remain. Infrastructure, trade rules, logistical systems, and institutional gaps continue to limit trade to a fraction of its potential.

In order to enhance the regional connectivity and infrastructure in the Bay of Bengal region, the government and non-government personnel should be well versed in the trade prospects of the region.

Coordinated by SANEM, reputed resource persons from renowned think-tanks from Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand conducted the capacity-building programs.

The program aimed to develop participants’ capacity by encouraging critical thinking to explore the linkages between various modes of infrastructure and trade integration.

It also aimed to enhance analytical and negotiating skills to engage in trade policy formulation and implementation, monitoring, and surveillance.

Distinguished trade experts from the Bay of Bengal region shared their insights and experience on development issues, specifically in infrastructure financing, public-private partnerships, and regional cooperation. The panel discussion was followed by an open discussion session, where the panelists will be interacting with the participants.

The session was moderated by Dr Selim Raihan (SANEM) and Dr Nihal Pitigala (WBD).

During the webinar Regional cooperation and integration in Covid-19 era, and going forward was discussed by Dr Sanjay Kathuria (Centre for Policy Research). Remerging global order and future of BIMSTEC was discussed by – Mr Sumith Nakandala (Pathfinder). Macroeconomic stress of Covid-19 and recovery was discussed by Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy (Pathfinder). Impact of Covid-19 on global/regional value chains and issues for Bay of Bengal countries was discussed by Dr Mustafizur Rahman (CPD), Energy cooperation and clean energy was discussed Dr Swarnim Wagle (UNDP) and ASEAN experiences dealing with Covid-19 and ASEAN-BIMSTEC cooperation was discussed by Dr Suthiphand Chirathivat (Chulalongkorn University).

 Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Professor of Economics, Columbia University delivered the keynote speech at the inaugural session.

Government and non-government officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, who work on trade and connectivity issues, are going to participate in the training program. Renowned experts from the Bay of Bengal region conducted sessions on geo-economics of the region.