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Vodafone to invest in Bangladesh: UK envoy PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

The British high commissioner Tuesday said Vodafone Group, the largest mobile network operator in the world by turnover, would invest in Bangladesh.

"Vodafone, a billion dollar company, is coming to invest in Bangladesh. This is exactly what Bangladesh needs—foreign direct investment," Anwar Choudhury told reporters after attending a ceremony at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

He said investment in Bangladesh was improving after hitting a low because of the anticorruption drive last year. Choudhury, however, said a democratic government could attract maximum foreign investment. He did not say when Vodafone, headquartered in Newbury, Berkshire in England, would make the investment.

The company has a market value of about £100 billion (December 2007) and has equity interests in 25 countries and Partner Networks (networks in which it has no equity stake) in a further 39 countries.

Vodafone Group has a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States through the company's subsidiary undertakings, joint ventures, associated undertakings and investments.

In the United States, the group's associated undertaking operates as Verizon Wireless. During the last two financial years, the group has also entered into arrangements with network operators in countries where the group does not hold an equity stake.

Anwar Choudhury attended the launch of an exclusive housing project for the non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) styled "Probashi Polli" as special guest. Foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury attended the ceremony as chief guest.

"As we can see, it (investment) seems to be slowly improving from a low point in the middle of last year when we had a slowdown because of the anti-corruption drive," Choudhury told the reporters on Bangladesh's investment situation. "Now it seems to me (business) confidence is returning, [but] not fast enough."

"Many more (investment proposals) are coming in fast," he said. Asked whether this was the right time for investment, the British envoy replied, "Yes, absolutely." Inspired Development Limited, a company set up on August 21 last year, is implementing the Probashi Polli on 2,250 bighas of land near Purbachal housing project on the eastern fringe of the capital.

The NRBs from Britain, the USA and Italy have been investing in the housing project dedicated to the expatriates. The company is collecting money from the NRBs for investment in the project.

"You cannot do it by collecting money from individuals. It (the housing project) needs millions. "You have to think whether you have enough money to invest in such a project," Choudhury told the NRBs in his address.

Managing director of the Inspired Development Limited Mesbahuddin Ahmed told that the amount of investment would depend on the flow of money coming from the NRBs.

The project would be finished in the next three years, Ahmed said.

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