Message from His Excellency the High Commissioner
The relations between Bangladesh and Canada dates back before the emergence of Bangladesh on 16 December 1971. When Awami League led by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won an absolute majority in the general elections held on 7 December 1970, the then Trudeau Government in Canada urged the ruling Government in Pakistan to hand over power peacefully to the elected representatives. Canadian Government continued its support towards Bangladesh during our War of Independence. Canada was one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh immediately after the independence (14 February 1972). As soon as Bangladesh emerged as an independent country, it became the member of the Commonwealth on 18 April 1972 with the support of Canada and other friendly countries. Canada co-sponsored the resolution in the UN General Assembly supporting admission of Bangladesh into the UN on 17 September 1974. Canada also supported Bangladesh for its membership in other UN agencies and international organizations including the World Bank.
Bangladesh opened its diplomatic Mission in Ottawa, Canada in May 1972 while Canada opened its resident diplomatic mission in Dhaka on 25 September 1973. Since then, the relationship between two countries has been developing steadily, and over the decades has transformed into robust partnership.
The present government led by the Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attaches great importance to Bangladesh-Canada bilateral relations and considers Canada as an important trade and development partner. Canada also holds the same views on its relations with Bangladesh which have been manifested during bilateral visits as well as in multilateral forums.
Bangladesh’s trade relations with Canada has rapidly grown over the last one decade. The volume of Bangladesh-Canada bilateral trade increased to CAD 3.1 billion in 2019 from CAD 2.24 billion of 2017. Bangladesh is the 2nd largest source of RMG imports to Canada The High Commission prioritizes deepening the trade and investment relations between the two countries through diversifying the trade basket and by attracting Canadian investment to Bangladesh. The High Commission is also committed to strengthening the existing cooperation and collaboration between the two countries in education, research scientific and other areas.
The partnership between Bangladesh and Canada aims to promote socio-economic development, woman empowerment, education, and health in Bangladesh. Canada greatly values the important role being played by Bangladesh in furthering regional connectivity, eradicating terrorism, ensuring universal education, empowering women, eradicating poverty and fostering economic cooperation.
Today, Bangladesh is known as a development miracle. It is recognized as the role model for socio-economic development in the world. Even during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bangladesh’s economy has grown at 5.24%. According to the World Bank, the total GDP size of Bangladesh would stand at around US $ 330 billion by the end 2020. International Monetary Fund (IMF) also ranked Bangladesh the 43rd the largest economy in the world in 2019 in terms of nominal GDP. In March 2018, Bangladesh achieved all the three eligibility criteria for graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) list and is on track for graduation in 2024. In 2015 World Bank announced Bangladesh’s achievement of the lower middle-income country status. Under the dynamic and visionary leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has been marching ahead to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041 to realize the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a Sonar Bangla or Golden Bengal.
Canada is home to over 100, 000 Bangladeshi diaspora. Thus, Bangladesh has an important presence in the Canadian public life through its expatriate community. Our expatriate community has been playing a significant role in building Canada’s economy; they are also contributing towards Bangladesh’s economic and social development. The High Commission will endeavor to focus its public diplomacy and diaspora engagement for furthering the overall socio-economic development of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is celebrating the Golden Jubilee in 2021. The country is also observing the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - “Mujib Borsho” until 16 December 2020. The High Commission will celebrate these two historic occasions throughout the Year of 2021 by organizing a series of events with the active participation of Bangladeshi diaspora in Canada and Canadians from all walks of life.
I firmly belief that the existing bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada would further grow through strengthening and deepening the bondage of friendship, cooperation and people to people contact. I wish to guide the existing friendly relations between the two countries to a new height during my tenure as High Commissioner.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangbandhu, Long Live Bangladesh, Long live Bangladesh-Canada friendship!
Khalil Rahman, PhD
High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Canada