17th April, 2018:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in London in the early hours of today on a six-day official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) to join the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
A special aircraft of the Saudi government carrying the prime minister and her entourage members landed at Luton Airport in the British capital at 12:40 am local time (5:40 am BST).
British Premier Theresa May’s representative Neil Holland and Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Nazmul Qaunine received her at the airport from where she was escorted to Claridge’s Hotel Limited London in a ceremonial motorcade where she will be staying during her UK visit.
Sheikh Hasina departed Saudi Arabia for London on Monday evening, after attending the concluding ceremony of a joint grand military exercise named “Gulf Shield-1” in the Saudi Eastern Province of Al-Jubail. This year’s theme of the CHOGM Summit is – “Towards a Common Future”.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister will attend the Commonwealth Women Forum as a presenter at the session on “Educate to empower: making equitable and quality primary education and secondary education a reality for girls across the Commonwealth” in the morning at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre at Westminster.
Sheikh Hasina will join a high-level programme to be organised by Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a prestigious think tank of the UK, in the afternoon.
She will be the keynote speaker on “Development Progress of Bangladesh: Policy, Progress and Prospect” in the programme.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has pledged to provide education for all — the key to achieving the overarching vision of inclusive development in the light of sustainable development goals.
“We foresee a future where women and men work hand in hand for achieving human development,” Hasina said in her keynote speech on Tuesday to the Women’s Forum, one of the four forums organised as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
The Women’s Forum reflected on some of the global challenges still faced by women, as part of a wider commitment to “leave no one behind” in the Commonwealth journey to achieving gender equality by 2030.
Hasina shared with global leaders Bangladesh’s priority and commitment to ensure 12 years of quality education for girls and boys by 2030.
“We want to build a future where world peace and women empowerment remains the cornerstone to create a society free from poverty, discrimination and conflict,” she said.
“Our national plans and policies including the seventh five-year plan are geared towards that.”
The economic and political transformation of women is vividly evident in rural Bangladesh, Hasina said citing data from Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
As many as 20 million women are engaged in agriculture, industry and services sectors, she said. Eighty percent of about 4.5 million garment workers are women in a sector that accounts for 82 percent of exports.
The government has offered special facilities for women entrepreneurs and they receive collateral-free bank loans with only 5 percent service charge. Women are entitled to 10 percent of the SME fund and 10 percent industrial plots, Hasina said.
On April 18, Sheikh Hasina will attend the Asian leaders’ roundtable – ‘Can Asia keep growing?’
The Prime Minister will join the Welcome Reception followed by a dinner to be hosted by British Premier Theresa May in the afternoon.
On April 19, Sheikh Hasina will attend the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and official welcome to be hosted by the British premier.
She will join a reception to be hosted by Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland QC and a presentation and reception followed by a dinner of Queen Elizabeth II in honour of Heads of Government and their spouse/partners at the Buckingham Palace.
On April 20, the Prime Minister will attend three retreat sessions and the closing executive session of the summit.
On April 21, she will attend reception for participating Commonwealth Heads of Government and the Queen’s Birthday Party Concert to be organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS).
The prime minister will join a community reception the same day.
Besides, Sheikh Hasina will call on heads of government of different countries on the sidelines of the summit.
She will return home on April 23.