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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Business in Ivory Coast

Mahboob, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, writes in Daily Star
Bangladeshi garments sector is in dire straits. The 74% export market depending on RMG is an ominous sign and we must look for diversification of our exportable products base in order to keep our competitiveness in the international market. To add fuel to it are the conspiracy theories and vested interest groups who are constantly trying to take away our market to the other countries vying for the share of the export pie. It's indeed a shame that we are not adding value to our products and not looking into product diversification and we are paying the price by being tied to a single product. A t-shirt can get a manufacturer may be a paltry 3 dollars whereas the same t-shirt is sold at 10-20 dollars even in the discount stores in the US or in the EU countries. The next alarming news is losing the manpower market in Malaysia. Because of our over greedy recruiting agencies, young aspiring people are falling prey to these unscrupulous agencies and are being trapped into inhuman situation in foreign countries. Why can't we see the bigger picture? Why do we have to run after the quick money by pushing innocent job seekers at bay? I am working in a West African country named Ivory Coast or Cote d'Ivoire as it is called from the times when it was a French colony. The country is huge and only 2 million people are living in this fertile country. The weather is a pleasant 20-25 degrees all year round. It's much like a permanent 'Shorotkaal' here in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Cote d'ivoire. Windy, pleasant and you don't sweat. You don't need a sweater ever and one t-shirt can go on you for a week before it might need a wash! The people are friendly and the public systems are good. The infrastructure is West European standard and the electricity is surplus. The people are welcoming and there's plenty of land to work on. But the daily commodities are costly. I mean costlier than Dhaka. But the things which are costly in Dhaka are less expensive here! Like land, leasehold, house rent, a transport etc. So a Bangladeshi entrepreneur can find a nice niche for him to open his business here in Abidjan. . All I want is good things to happen to my dear country Bangladesh. So if some business entrepreneurs come here and open their import business in Abidjan, I think it's going to be very profitable for both the parties. Local people will enjoy world standard products and the Bangladeshi entrepreneurs will make a good living. I heard about a Japanese trade fair here in Abidjan and I am hopeful that there can be a trade fair of Bangladeshi products here in Abidjan. I am willing to help anyone interested to know more about these and you can mail me at or you can visit the blog at
Good to see call from NRBs overseas for setting up Bangladeshi businesses abroad. If NRBs provide useful information on initiating business keeping in view host country norms and regulations, I think it would be easier for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to venture into unknown territories.

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