Bangladesh and Bahrain enjoy excellent relations based on identical values, shared perceptions and common traditions. We have an unfailing record of mutual support and cooperation at all international forums including the United Nations.
The political commitment to the close relationship has been translated into action through bilateral agreements covering economic, technical, and cultural cooperation. Conclusion of further agreements in the areas of trade & investment, customs & taxation, and air services etc. strengthening and expanding the relations between our two countries further.
Relations between the two friendly countries have continued to grow since establishment of diplomatic relations following Bahrain’s recognition of Bangladesh in 1974. Bangladesh and Bahrain have maintained an excellent record of mutual support and cooperation at the United Nations and other multilateral forums both on substantive and electoral matters. Bangladesh established a resident Mission at the Ambassador level in Bahrain on 28 February 1983.
Bangladesh opened resident Embassy in Bahrain on 28 February 1983. Prior to that, we maintained diplomatic relations with Bahrain through concurrent accreditation from UAE. Although Bangladesh has been maintaining a resident Mission in the Kingdom for 23 years now, Bahrain had not even considered appointing a non-resident Ambassador or an Honorary Consul in Bangladesh.
The then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia paid an official visit to Bahrain from 8-9 August 1992. The then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the funeral of Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Emir of Bahrain, on 6 March 1999. While two successive Prime Ministers, a DPM and a number of Cabinet Ministers from Bangladesh visited Bahrain in the past two decades, there has been no high level bilateral visit from Bahrain to Bangladesh.
A three member Bahrain Defense Force delegation led by Lt. Colonel Salman Essa Bin Hindi, Director and Head of Officers and Soldiers visited Bangladesh from 9-13 June 1991 to explore areas of defence cooperation in view of the situation obtaining in the region. A two member delegation headed by Mr. Yousif Abdullah Humood, Head of International Affairs, Ministry of National Finance and Economy visited Bangladesh on 28 October 2000, to finalize bilateral agreements in preparation for the visit of His Highness the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain ( which was subsequently postponed due to the situation obtaining in the subcontinent).
Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus came to Bahrain at the invitation of His Highness the Crown Prince in early February 2007. During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen Bank and Dr. Fatima Al Balooshi, Minister for Social Development. Under the MOU, the Grameen Trust would extend technical cooperation and other necessary support for setting up of the proposed the Family Bank, in replication of the Grameen Bank.
Bangladesh received several ministerial and other high level officials from Bahrain on multilateral visits. A Bahraini delegation led by the Director of Political Affairs Ambassador Ali Ibrahim Al Mahrooj, attended the 14th Islamic Foreign Ministers’ conference in Dhaka in December 1983. Another delegation led by the Minister of Finance and National Economy, Mr. Ibrahim Abdul Karim attended the 9th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank in February 1985. In September 1999 the First Vice-Chairman of Shura Council went to Bangladesh to attend the Asian Parliamentarians Conference for Peace and Co-operation in Dhaka.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Bahrain in March of 1999 to attend the funeral of late Emir of Bahrain Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa who passed away on 6 March 1999.
Dr.Abdul Moyeen Khan, former Minister of Science and ICT of Bangladesh led Bangladesh delegation at the 3rd Asia IT Ministers’ Summit and Telecom Arabia held in Manama on 21-23 March 2005 in Manama at the invitation of his Bahraini counterpart.
On 19-22 June in 2007, Dr Nezar Sadiq Al Baharna, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, paid a three- day visit to Bangladesh.
Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Foreign Minister of Bahrain paid a one-day visit to Dhaka on 30 March 2011.
Bangladesh State Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Mr. Zahid Maleque visited Bahrain in December 2017.
Foreign Minister Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP paid a three-day official visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from 21-23 December 2015 to Bahrain at the invitation of his Bahraini Counterpart Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.
A Bahraini Parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Ali Abdullah Al-Aradi, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament participated in the 136th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Dhaka from 1-5 April 2017.
A Bangladesh delegation led by Mr. Md. Israfil Alam, MP and comprised of Secretary, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Begum Shamsun Nahar, two Joint Secretaries (from BMET and Wefare Board), Director General (Consular) from MoFA, visited Bahrain from 12-18 April 2017 with a view to gathering first hand knowledge on the labour market situation in Bahrain.
3-Member Bangladesh Parliamentary delegation attended the meeting of the APA Standing Committee on Economic and Sustainable Development Affairs held in Manama from 25-26 April 2017 at the invitation of the Speaker of the Council of Representatives and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Group of Kingdom of Bahrain and the Secretary-General of Asian Parliamentary Assembly. The delegation comprised of Mr. Rafiqul Islam, MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Shipping, Mr. M. Amanullah, MP and Mr. Sultan Mahmood, Additional Secretary, Bangladesh Parliament Secretariat.
Bangladesh exported goods mainly frozen food, agricultural products, chemical products, jute goods, other products like ceramic, melamine, garment, fabric etc, to Bahrain.
As Bahrain imports virtually all its needs, there is considerable potential for Bangladesh to expand its export to the Bahrain market. Bangladesh’s growing IT industry has big potential in Bahrain market. Leather products from Bangladesh may also get its place in Bahrain.
Main Bahrain exports to Bangladesh include unbleached woven cotton fabrics, scrap of paper and paperboard, bituminous mixtures based on natural asphalt, asphalt in rolls, etc. It is expected that signing of two agreements – one on Avoidance of Double Taxation and the other on Investment Promotion and Protection will positively contribute towards enhancing trade and economic relations between the two countries.
For investment in Bangladesh Bangladesh Investment Development Authority http://www.boi.gov.bd/
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) http://www.beza.gov.bd/
Around 150 thousands Bangladesh nationals are currently living in Bahrain. For the past few years, Bangladesh emerged as one of the top manpower sending countries to Bahrain.
‘Construction’ is the biggest sector of employment for Bangladeshis in Bahrain. About 70% of our work force work in this sector are unskilled, semi skilled and skilled (though the number is very small) workers.
Apart from construction, Bangladeshis are employed in cleaning companies, carpentry, retail shops, tailoring shops, hair dressing shops and as accountants, drivers in offices, fishermen in fishing trawlers and hotel management staff, chefs, cooks, bakers and service staff in restaurants, workers in agricultural farms and plantations. Several thousand, both male and female, are working as domestic aides.
The number of white collar Bangladeshi employees is very limited who are working as lawyers, teachers, engineers, financial experts, bankers business management officials and doctors. A small number of Bangladeshis also are working in Police and Bahrain Defense Forces.
More than 100 investors are now having their own business in Bahrain and this number is increasing. Several thousand Bangladeshis are running businesses by hiring commercial license. Bangladeshis own or run construction licenses, grocery shops/ cold store, internet call shops, small restaurants, Garages and saloons etc.
The contribution of Bangladeshis in the development process of Bahrain is recognized by the country’s Government and its people. Bangladeshi workers generally enjoy good reputation as honest, decent, hard-working, committed, amiable and disciplined people.