The State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, held bilateral talks with Ms. Thulisile Dladla, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Eswatini, in Mbabane yesterday (06 February). The State Minister is paying a two-day official bilateral visit to the Kingdom. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to South Africa and high officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present at the meeting. The visit comes in the wake of the Minister for Commerce, Industry, and Trade of Eswatini, Mr. Manqoba Khumalo, to Dhaka in July 2022.
At the outset of the meeting, the Foreign Minister of Eswatini welcomed the Bangladesh delegation. Ms. Dladla mentioned the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Eswatini and expressed a desire to enhance the present ties with Bangladesh. She maintained that Eswatini looks to develop business and investment relations with Bangladesh. She suggested the conclusion of the MoU between FBCCI and the Eswatinian apex chamber of commerce in the field of business cooperation. She also underlined the importance of regular bilateral consultations between the Foreign Ministries.
The State Minister conveyed the greetings of President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to King Mswati III. He remarked that the bilateral talks would allow identifying potential areas of cooperation between Bangladesh and Eswatini. Expressing happiness over his visit to Eswatini, he commented that both countries exchange support and cooperate with each other at the UN and international organizations.
Mr. Alam stressed promoting trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and Eswatini for the mutual benefit of the two countries. He underlined the need to conclude agreements in visa waiver for diplomats and official passport holders and avoid double taxation to promote contacts, trade, and business. He stated that in the context of the growing demand for food and essential commodities, Bangladesh and Eswatini might establish cooperation in agro-production, agro-processing, and food security areas. He mentioned the remarkable success that Bangladesh has achieved in the agriculture and social development sectors, including completing the targets of the MDGs. He said that Bangladesh is a member of the global crisis response group. He also mentioned Bangladesh’s role in climate adaptation and mitigation areas. He invited the Eswatinian armed forces officers to join courses in defense institutions in Bangladesh.
Briefing on the opportunities for higher education in Bangladesh’s private universities, he suggested that Eswatinian students may opt to study in different private universities in Bangladesh. He also stated that there might be cooperation between the government and private sectors in IT & ICT.
The State Minister sought the support of the Eswatinian government for repatriating the displaced Rohingya people to their homeland and in favor of different Bangladesh candidatures at the UN. Accordingly, the MoU between Bangladesh and Eswatini on the Establishment of a Comprehensive Consultation Mechanism and the Memorandum of Agreement on Contract Farming and Agricultural Cooperation were signed by Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, and his counterpart Ms. Thulisile Dladla.
During the talks, both sides discussed the possibility of establishing contract farming by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in Eswatini and agreed to work on the matter. Both sides also agreed to explore options for cooperation in agro-processed and food industries.
After the Memorandum of Agreement was signed, Mr. Jabulani Mabuza, the Minister of Agriculture of Eswatini, remarked that agriculture is one central potential area of cooperation between Eswatini and Bangladesh. He said that a delegation from the Eswatinian Agriculture Ministry might visit Bangladesh to share knowledge in the agriculture sector. He invited Bangladeshi agricultural farms to establish contract farming in Eswatini. The Eswatinian side showed interest in sharing knowledge in agricultural production, agro-commercialization, agro-research, and extension areas with Bangladesh.
The State Minister is due to meet tomorrow with the Eswatinian Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Trade, Minister of Health, and Minister of Agriculture. He will also meet with the investment development authority and trade bodies and visit the Royal Eswatini Technology Park.
Moshiur Ananda, Dhaka