A high-powered body has outlined a basic promotional framework in a bid to help bolster
Bangladesh's image worldwide through evolving a 'country branding' as the cornerstone
of all potential promotional activities.
The Strategic Country Promotion Council (SCPC) has also decided, in principle, to
appoint a creative branding agency to evolve a "unique branding" for Bangladesh.
A pool of professionals would be engaged in this connection. The move is expected to
help promote Bangladesh's image both domestically and internationally, now marred by
poverty, natural disasters and religiously-linked violence.
The nine-member SCPC headed by the Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan envisions to
highlight Bangladesh as a 'moderate', 'democratic developing country' with immense
investment and business potentials, a highly-placed source at the Foreign Office said in an
exclusive dialogue with the FE.
The source said that the SCPC has already drafted the Bangladesh Strategic Country
Promotional Plan (2005-10), reviewing the existing promotional techniques of the
traditional agencies. The plan may be submitted to the Prime Minister shortly for her
Noting that country branding has become a popular and effective approach to country
promotions, the draft plan said: "Bangladesh should be differentiated by highlighting its
inherent strength and competitive advantages".
The draft plan added that Malaysia bills itself as "Truly Asia", the Maldives as "The
sunny side of life", Kerala as "God's Own Country", Sri Lanka as "The Pearl of the Indian
Ocean", Hong Kong as "Asia's World City", Singapore as "Global Business Hub", and
China does as the "Factory of the World".
Unfortunately, official sources said, Bangladesh had never attempted to create a unique
brand image for the country's promotion - a widely recognised and effective tool, which
could otherwise help wipe out its negative perception.
The high-powered council has devised five fundamental promotional strategies -
targetting countries, country branding, integrated approach to country promotion,
improving competitiveness and routine monitoring and evaluation.
Considering the present business relations and prospects, global investment trends,
relocation strategies and industrial structures of foreign direct investment (FDI) source
countries, the SCPC initially identified 23 locations, including Bangladesh, as "strategic
target" to be undergone for aggressive and planned promotion.
The initial target locations for promoting the country are: Bangladesh, India, South Korea,
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
Russia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Germany, France,
South Africa, Belgium, Italy, Canada and the United States.
In addition, the council suggests the government may opt for the unilateral visa waivers
for the citizens of these countries, given the immediate economic interests.
The SCPC will conduct the promotional programme by collectively integrating all
It will also suggest the government on various aspects of business facilitation and
competitiveness attainment that would be skilfully promoted.
In terms of monitoring, a regular and strict monitoring system will be establish. A
professional management team would be employed for the purpose.
If approved by the Cabinet, sources said, the plan would be adopted as the national
country promotion policy, first of its kind in Bangladesh's history.
The supporters of the plan say it is a right decision of the government to work out such a
long-term strategy as the recurrent bomb blasts and religious extremism had already
dampened the country's image.
Its opponents, however, said the strategy should be "bi-partisan" and suggested that
opposition leaders should have been inducted in the council.
"Otherwise, the plan might run into bad weather," they added.
The nine-member council, with representatives from the key promotional agencies such
as the Ministry of Information, Privatisation Commission, Export Promotion Bureau,
Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority, the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
and Industry and the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was formed
in late 2004.
A gazette notification was issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in this respect on
August 7, 2004.
The committee had a series of parleys and had already approved the draft plan.