Dhaka | Bangladesh and France on Monday signed two bilateral agreements to improve cooperation in infrastructure and to build the first-ever earth observation satellite after French President Emmanuel Macron held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina here.
Macron arrived in Dhaka on Sunday from India after participating in the G20 Summit in New Delhi. It was the first visit by any French president to Bangladesh since 1990. Francois Mitterrand was the last French president to visit Bangladesh in February 1990.
Hasina said France expressed support for Bangladesh's sovereign policy independence, particularly in the context of the ongoing geopolitical instability and economic uncertainty.
“We both hope that this new strategic move between Bangladesh and France will play an effective role in establishing regional and global stability and peace,” she said in a joint press briefing after holding talks with Macron.
“The Government of France has expressed its satisfaction with the responsible and committed activities of the Government of Bangladesh in protecting the fundamental and human rights of its people,” Hasina was quoted as saying by UNB News.
As leading and responsible resident powers in the Asia and Pacific, the prime minister said, Bangladesh and France will act to ensure geopolitical stability of the region.
As a trusted development partner of Bangladesh, Hasina said, France has assured Bangladesh of its continued cooperation in infrastructure development, she said.
Earlier, a Credit Facility Agreement was signed between the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Bangladesh, and the France Development Agency (AFD), France on Improving Urban Governance and Infrastructure Programme, Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.
The concessional loan will help the Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement (UGIIP) project, which will be implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), it said, quoting the French embassy here.
The deal will also serve to provide capital investment for improved municipal infrastructure and service provision in 88 municipalities.
A Letter of Intent (LOI) on Cooperation between Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited (BSCL) and Airbus Defence and Space SAS, France related to the Bangabandhu-2 Earth Observation Satellite System was also signed, the report said.
This will be the first-ever earth observation satellite for Bangladesh, which depends on buying images from different companies' satellites like Airbus when needed, it said.
Two-way trade between Dhaka and Paris reached an all-time record of 4.9 billion euros in 2022. Thirty French companies have an office in Bangladesh, most of them in the RMG (ready-made garment) sector, logistics shipping, or engineering, the report said.