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End wars for a better future PM urges global leaders in Brussels

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday appealed to the global leaders to take steps to end wars, conflicts, and arms race to build a better future.

"Connectivity is the lifeline for peace and progress. We need to prepare better for future crises," she said.

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The premier was addressing the opening plenary session of the Global Gateway Forum 2023 at the GGF Conference Venue in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.

She is participating in the Forum at the invitation of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

PM Hasina said Bangladesh hopes to see the Forum as a great platform for lasting peace and sustainable development.

Over 40 high-level government representatives from EU and partner countries, as well as representatives from financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and international organisations are attending the October 25-26 conference.

They will discuss and share experiences on issues relating to global investment in infrastructure.

In her speech, the PM asked the EU investors to explore facilities in BD economic zones and hi-tech parks.

The prime minister said Bangladesh offers one of the most attractive investment environments in South Asia.

With 170 million people, Bangladesh is strategically located between South and Southeast Asia. Bangladesh has the potential to become a trading hub for 3 billion consumers in the region, she said.

She said the road, rail, and port infrastructure is being built in Bangladesh as part of regional economic corridors. The country has also offered access to the Bay of Bengal to land-locked countries and territories like Nepal, Bhutan, and Northeast India.

The airports of Bangladesh can serve as gateways between the East and the West, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has lifted millions of people out of poverty in Bangladesh. The extreme poverty rate has also come down to 5.6 percent from 25.1 percent in 2006.

The prime minister said Bangladesh is now the world's 35th largest economy and its 70-billion-dollar economy has grown to 465 billion in less than 15 years.

On this 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-EU relations, she reaffirmed Bangladesh's commitment to further strengthen its strategic engagements with the EU.

 "We have fruitful cooperation in security, climate change, and human mobility. Our shared values and commitments remain at the heart of our engagements with the EU," she added.

Bangladesh is willing to join the EU's effort in promoting green hydrogen, the PM said.

"We can benefit from the EU's expertise in the sustainable use of marine resources. We need investment in cold chain networks to preserve our agricultural outputs," she continued.

She said her government appreciates the Global Gateway's focus on transport networks, health security, green energy, digital transformation, research, and innovation.

"Our dynamic young population is ready to join the EU's skills and talent partnership programmes. We trust that the Global Gateway will help realise our vision for a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041," said the PM.