Strengthening Economic Diplomacy: Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership – OpEd


The visit of Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP, to meet with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, at the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah on March 5, 2024, marked a significant milestone in the ongoing diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. The meeting underscored the depth of the longstanding friendship and the shared commitment to further strengthening bilateral ties across various sectors.

As Bangladesh charts its course towards achieving developed economy status by 2041, the partnership with Saudi Arabia assumes even greater importance. Recognizing Saudi Arabia as a key market for trade and investment, Bangladesh is keen to leverage opportunities across diverse sectors, including infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, and technology. The recent visit by KSA’s Minister of Investment reaffirmed the commitment of both nations to bolster economic cooperation, laying the groundwork for mutually beneficial collaborations that align with the development goals of both countries.

Moreover, the positive developments in financial support and investment commitments from Saudi Arabia, exemplified by the substantial loan and grant assistance extended by the Saudi Fund for Development, underscore the depth of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to Bangladesh’s economic progress. This financial support not only facilitates infrastructure development but also reflects Saudi Arabia’s broader vision of fostering sustainable growth and prosperity in the region.

The role of Bangladeshi migrant workers in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s economy through remittance transfers cannot be overstated. As the largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers, Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in facilitating economic opportunities for Bangladeshi nationals while bolstering its own workforce. The commitment to expedite visa processing and the signing of agreements on workers’ recruitment and skill verification further solidify the foundation for continued cooperation in this vital area.

Beyond economic collaboration, the meeting also highlighted the importance of cultural exchange, tourism, and educational cooperation in strengthening people-to-people ties between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. Both countries recognize the value of fostering greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures, traditions, and values, which in turn contributes to the deepening of bilateral relations at all levels.

The proposed visit of the Saudi Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman to Bangladesh holds immense promise for elevating the strategic partnership between the two nations to new heights. The anticipation of this visit reflects the mutual desire to explore avenues for further cooperation and collaboration across a wide range of areas, including trade, investment, energy, and beyond.

The meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia served as a testament to the enduring friendship and shared aspirations of the two nations. It reaffirmed their commitment to working closely together to realize their respective development goals while also contributing to regional stability and prosperity. As Bangladesh continues on its path of economic transformation, Saudi Arabia stands ready as a steadfast partner, offering support, investment, and cooperation every step of the way.

Syed Raiyan Amir

Syed Raiyan Amir is a Senior Research Associate at The KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

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