BCIM-EC can change lots of millions: president

The president, Abdul Hamid, on Saturday said Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar-Economic Corridor has the potential to open up opportunities for social and economic progress for millions of poor and marginal communities and ethnicities.
‘Physical linkages connect territories and communities. In the case of BCIM-EC, it has the potential to open up opportunities for social and economic progress for millions of poor and marginal communities and ethnicities,’ he said.
The president said this while addressing the ‘Dialogue on Strengthening Connectivity Partnership’ at Fang Hua Hall in Beijing.
For China, BCIM-EC would help revive the ancient southern Silk Road, Abdul Hamid said, adding that for other countries, the BCIM-EC connectivity would unlock fragile eco-system, offer improved livelihood options and create pathways for sustainable development of an impoverished economic landscape.
‘In the recent times, we also see Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar working together at Track One level to shape up the BCIM-EC process,’ he added.
BCIM was an initiative to conceptualise significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within BCIM.
Advocating for bottom-up view to development, the Bangladesh president said in order to make physical connectivity truly beneficial and sustainable, there has to be accompanying visible and sustained improvement in the lives and livelihoods of majority at the bottom.
‘Bangladesh would stress that our collective efforts and investments in development of connectivity should be tailored and routed as such,’ he added.
Mentioning that within the sub-regions in Asia-Pacific, countries are at diverse levels of economic development, Abdul Hamid said endowment and capacity of countries also vary often significantly.
‘We have countries that are LDCs, LLDCs and climate vulnerable. At the same time, opening up of economies and societies through economic integration naturally lead to re-alignment in the synergies and economics of manufacturing and distribution across borders,’ he added.
Quite often, he said, such reality raise apprehension for the lesser endowed countries. ‘Therefore, in the enterprise of development of connectivity and gradual integration of economic structures and processes, the realities, circumstances and needed support for the less developed countries must be taken into account,’ Abdul Hamid said.
‘End of the day, all enterprises would need to be planned and undertaken based on the principles of mutual respect and trust and mutual benefit and equitable sharing of mutual benefits,’ the president observed.
Bangladesh draws important lessons from China’s growth story, he said adding, ‘We have always believed in and pursued open regionalism. We remain keen to connect our own ports and growth nodes to our own sub-region; and provide the natural gateway between the Far East and South-East Asia to South Asia and beyond.’
Abdul Hamid assured all of ensuring Bangladesh’s sincere engagement in this enterprise, saying, ‘Let us therefore strive – individually and collectively – for the common good.’
Mentioning that Bangladesh approaches ‘connectivity’ in a wider sense that it deserves, the president said, ‘We believe that connectivity needs to be viewed in an all-encompassing sense, we are to connect and create bridges for ideas, knowledge, culture, transportation by road-rail-air, technology, movement of people, goods, services and investment.’
He also observed that the creation of optimum level of physical connectivity can serve as an initial and necessary condition.
Nine heads of state and heads of government and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific representative attended the dialogue.