Home / Bangladesh / Korea and Bangladesh have big potential for Infrastructure Cooperation: Korean envoy

Korea and Bangladesh have big potential for Infrastructure Cooperation: Korean envoy

South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun has stressed the importance of infrastructure cooperation in developing close bilateral ties between the two countries.

Mentioning that Korea and Bangladesh have a long history of infrastructure cooperation, Ambassador Lee said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1973, 111 Korean companies have participated in 210 infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, with a total project volume of more than eight billion US dollars.
“Even before Bangladesh’s independence in 1968, one Korean company, Koryo Development, participated in the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway construction project,” he said while addressing an Infrastructure Project Roadshow event at the Sheraton Dhaka Hotel on Tuesday.

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea and KOTRA Dhaka Office organised the Roadshow, in which ten Bangladesh benders and 11 Korean construction and engineering companies based in Dhaka participated in the event.

In our record, he said the first project a Korean company participated in was in 1973. Daelim Construction was involved in the agricultural underground water development project in Bogra.

“However, I learned recently that even before Bangladesh got independence during the East Pakistan period, there was a Korean company in Dhaka in 1968 which was building a highway between Dhaka and Chittagong. This company was Koryo Development Corporation. I was very surprised to know that even as early as in the 1960s Korean companies were participating in overseas construction projects.”

There is a well-known story of a Korean company’s involvement in Bangladesh infrastructure development. It is the Jamuna Bridge project which was the biggest infrastructure project of Bangladesh before the Padma Bridge, said the Korean envoy.
He said Hyundai Construction and Samhwan Construction were the companies that built the Jamuna Bridge and its access road in 1998. “I was told about this many times by many Bangladesh friends and partners. They said that they were very proud to have the bridge successfully done by the Korean company.”

“This project produced a famous catch-phrase, Yesterday Just a Dream, Today a Glorious Reality. It was a placard hung at the Jamuna Bridge construction site. Workers watched it everyday and witnessed a dream become a reality,” Ambassador Lee said

He informed that the Korean Government has made various efforts to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure with Bangladesh. Our soft loan, EDCF, Economic Development Cooperation Fund actively supported many infra development projects.

The total projects we have supported this soft loan is 27 amounting to 1.4 billion US dollars and interest rate of this loan is between 0.01 to 0.04 percent with 40 years of payment period. It has the best condition among all the soft loans provided by international donors, said the Ambassador.

In addition, he said Korea and Bangladesh launched a Private Public Partnership Platform in 2019 in order to implement and facilitate infrastructure cooperation. Through the 4 rounds of joint platform meetings we have identified 5 projects to consider constructing through this G2G platform. Also the Korean PPP authority, KIND, Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development opened its office in Dhaka last month.

“I truly believe that infrastructure could be an area where Korea and Bangladesh can make a big mark in our collaboration. The reason is clear. In addition to our willingness, Korea and Korean companies are the best partners for Bangladesh in its infrastructure development.”

Lee said Korea has proven world top quality of construction and engineering capabilities in a number of major mega projects around the world. “The Buz Khalifa Tower in the Arab Emirates, Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, Chankale Suspension Bridge in Turkey, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah Maritime Causeway in Kuwait are all the works of Korean companies. This is Korean standard,” he said.

In Dhaka, he said one of the most frequently mentioned projects is the 3rd Terminal of Dhaka International Airport which is under construction by Samsung under the contract with Japanese company Mitsubishi. “It started in the middle of the corona pandemic in April 2020, but progressed on time in difficult circumstances. This is the Korean spirit. “

The Korean Ambassador in his speech said this year Bangladesh achieved another landmark in its history through the successful opening of the Padma Bridge.

“This bridge has given great pride to all Bangladesh people. I wholeheartedly congratulate Bangladesh on this big achievement. I am very happy that Korean companies have contributed to the construction of the Padma Bridge. Korea Expressway Corporation, KEC, provided supervising consultancy service and will be in charge of the management and operation of the Bridge,” he said.

He further said that that Korea and Korean companies have been all in all and will be the best and reliable partner for Bangladesh in its journey towards becoming the advanced economy by year 2041. “Let’s work together to make infrastructure collaboration a success story between our two countries. I look forward to your support and cooperation.”

Representatives of BBA, BPDB, DMTCL, DPDC, DWASA, SREDA, PGCB, REB, RPCL, RHD from the Bangladesh side, and KEC, Samsung C&T, Hyundai Construction, Hyundai Development Corporation, Halla Construction, GS Construction, Kunwha Engineering, Pyunghwa Engineering, Dohwa Engineering, Susung Engineering, Heerim Construction from Korean side participated in the Korean Roadshow.

Also, the country directors of KOICA, Korea Exim Bank, and KIND of Korea were presented.