French President Macron Visits Bangladesh, Signs Deals for Infrastructure Development

French President Emmanuel Macron has visited Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, where he met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. During his visit, Macron witnessed the signing of an agreement between Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division and the French Development Agency. The agreement aims to facilitate loans to Bangladesh for infrastructure development. Additionally, a letter of intent was signed between Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited and Airbus Defense and Space SAS, France, to provide Bangladesh with an earth observation satellite system.

The details of the agreements are yet to be finalized. The earth observation satellite system is intended to be used primarily for monitoring crops and the sea, as Bangladesh currently lacks monitoring capabilities across the vast sea. Bangladesh had previously purchased its first geostationary communications and broadcasting satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, from France in 2018.

The visit of President Macron is seen as a step to attract investments from France in sectors where the United States, China, and India are already engaged. It may also have political and strategic significance ahead of Bangladesh’s next general election expected in early January. France is Bangladesh’s fifth-largest trading partner in the fields of engineering, energy, aerospace, and water sectors.

During the visit, both leaders expressed their commitment to work together to ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific region and collaborate on projects related to climate change. Hasina stated that France has reiterated its commitment to facilitate trade with Bangladesh under the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme, which provides developing countries with incentives for sustainable development and good governance practices.

The joint statement issued after the visit highlighted France’s appreciation for Bangladesh’s contribution to U.N. peacekeeping missions and peacebuilding processes, as well as its humanitarian efforts in providing shelter and support for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. France announced an additional contribution of 1 million Euros to the World Food Program’s activities in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.

Overall, Macron’s visit is expected to enhance cooperation between Bangladesh and France and provide a boost to Prime Minister Hasina’s election campaign.