The diaspora communities play a critical role in growing global footprints of Bangladeshis. A key aspect of it stems from how non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) in Europe make their presence felt through their works. Asaduzzaman and Arka Dev Biswas speak to British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BBCC)’s former President Enam Ali about widening bilateral relationship.
Bangladeshi touch for the Kingdom
Bangladesh is a land of opportunities and such opportunities are visible only if the endorsement comes from what is considered a reliable source. For Enam Ali, the opportunity came from organizing “The Global Challenge” where former British prime minister David Cameron spoke about the investment environment in Bangladesh.
The potential of country lies in how Bangladesh tends to be persistent even during the times of adversity. A nation once dismissed as “a basket case” being endorsed by a former premier of one of the great powers, speak volumes about how far Bangladesh has come and can go. Supporting and empowering NRB businesses and highlighting their success stories across the world is a key part of what Enam Ali and BBCC stand for.
Curry on a Chance
The British Curry Awards is the poster event for the BBCC. It is recognized as one of the biggest events for the British hospitality industry, not only in terms of the impact it has, but also the attention it garners. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II had been gracious enough to send a message to the organizers for the work they have been doing since its inception. The event had also had the presence of various cabinet ministers, ruling and opposition party leaders, as well as celebrities. This attention has dubbed The British Curry Awards as Britain’s “Curry Oscars”.
FDI Growth Incentives
The volume of foreign direct investments has had a steady rise. Bangladeshis abroad previously were unwilling to come back to Bangladesh, let alone making investment in the country. This perception has changed, not only because how Bangladeshis have become inclined to give back, but because they want to do something for their country.
“The NRBs like me don’t need a reason to give back to our nation. What we really need is leniency and a safe space to do what is best for the nation,” said Enam Ali. “Bureaucracy tends to deter investors because they do not want to deal with the trouble. The red tapes that investors have to face and the hoops that investors have to jump through do not make the investment worthwhile in the end. This should change if FDI is something that has to increase.”
The chamber leader feels that the West still believes that countries like Bangladesh still live in a stereotypical bubble. “People have various misconceptions about immigrants and immigration. Westerners still have this notion that immigrants desert their nations whenever they either lose interest or the will. They lose interest as individuals feel that they did not get what they feel that they deserved. They lose the will when they see that investing is pointless as return is almost non-existent. These two aggregate and lead to individuals leaving nations. And immigrants are like this and they are opportunists. This sort of narrative has to be changed.”
As the BBCC’s former President, Enam Ali believes waves of change can only come when people take the initiative to represent their identities in a proper manner. Highlighting achievements and venturing into uncharted territories to grow as business personalities and to grow over time.
The British Culinary and Hospitality Industry does have various Asian personalities and the Bangladeshi presence is growing each day. It’s just like how Enam Ali started off as a Bangladeshi-born restaurateur, emerged as a leading figure in the UK Curry Industry.