French President Macron Signs Deals with Bangladesh to Boost Relations

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. During his visit, Macron witnessed the signing of a deal aimed at facilitating loans for infrastructure development in Bangladesh. Additionally, a letter of intent was signed to provide the South Asian country with an earth observation satellite system.

The agreement was made between Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division and the French Development Agency. The letter of intent was signed by Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited (BSCL) and Airbus Defense and Space SAS, France.

Bangladesh aims to use the satellite system primarily to observe the status of crops and the sea, where monitoring capabilities are currently lacking. The details of the deals have yet to be finalized.

Bangladesh previously purchased its first geostationary communications and broadcasting satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, from France in 2018. The visit by Macron is seen as an opportunity to attract investments from France in sectors where the United States, China, and India are heavily engaged.

In addition to the economic benefits, the visit is considered politically significant ahead of Bangladesh’s next general election expected in early January. French and Bangladeshi leaders expressed hope that the strengthened relationship would contribute to regional and global stability and peace.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized the need to address the impacts of climate change and ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific region. France has also reaffirmed its commitment to facilitating trade with Bangladesh under the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme.

However, experts have pointed out that joining the GSP+ scheme may result in Bangladesh losing some benefits it currently enjoys as a least developed country under the World Trade Organization’s protocol. Despite these considerations, the visit by Macron is seen as a boost for Hasina as she seeks a fourth consecutive term as prime minister.

Hasina’s main opposition party has threatened to boycott the upcoming election if she does not resign and hand over power to a caretaker government. The United States has raised concerns about human rights and the need for a credible election, while Russia, China, and India have expressed support for Hasina.

Overall, Macron’s visit signifies a significant step towards strengthening economic and diplomatic ties between France and Bangladesh.