Malaysian business opportunity boosting up with bangladesh

Malaysian companies identified actual sales of RM1.4 million and potential business worth RM722.7 million at recent events in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) said.

It said Matrade organised the participation of 16 companies at the Malaysia Product and Services Exhibition from Aug 7 to 9 with the objective of supporting Malaysian exporters in the promotion of their products and services in Bangladesh.

The sectors that participated at the exhibition included Malaysian food and beverages, electrical and electronic products, plastic products, medical and healthcare services, professional services and education, it said in a statement on Friday.

Concurrently in Dhaka, Matrade also led a delegation of eight Malaysian companies on a Specialised Marketing Mission to promote automotive products and services to Bangladesh from Aug 6 to 9.

Members of the mission had the opportunity to directly discuss business with pre-screened quality buyers during the Individual Business Meeting sessions, officiated by Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jamaluddin Sabeh.

The two day business meetings, held from Aug 7 to 8, resulted in immediate sales worth RM107,547 and potential sales of RM1.6 million from the 45 business meetings arranged, Matrade said.

Malaysian products on demand during the programme included automotive lighting, windscreen glasses, motorcycle rims and spoke, gasket and spare parts as well as engine lubricants.

“Despite the economic slowdown facing the world today, we can see from the outcome of Matrade trade promotion programmes that there are still pockets of opportunities for Malaysian exporters to exploit,” Matrade chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said in the statement.

To succeed, Malaysian companies must be committed to maintain their visibility in the marketplace while actively searching for untapped opportunities overseas, he added.

He also urged Malaysian companies to take advantage of the export assistance provided by Matrade which could help cushion the impact from softened demand during these difficult times.

Bangladesh awards two compapies to gas exploration

source – AP:
Bangladesh has awarded three offshore blocks to two global energy companies to explore for gas in the Bay of Bengal, a senior energy official said Tuesday.

The U.S.-based ConocoPhillips and Ireland’s Tullow Oil could start exploration work by early next year, said Mohammad Muqtadir Ali, chairman of the state-owned Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, or Petrobangla.

He said the decision came Monday from a Cabinet committee on economic affairs, the highest body to deal with economic issues, as the nation seeks new sources of gas amid a forecast that its current reserves will run out by 2014-15.

Ali, however, said the companies would not be allowed to explore for oil and gas in disputed waters, also claimed by India and Myanmar, in the Bay of Bengal.

“We will not allow them to work in the disputed waters,” he told The Associated Press by phone.

The official said the oil companies are expected to invest a total of $160.5 million in line with their initial bidding estimates for the exploration work. It will need years to complete the exploration job, he said.

Officials of the companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bangladesh has said it will fight internationally to establish its rights over the disputed waters, and is preparing to file its claims to the United Nations for a resolution. India and Myanmar claim the areas fall within their maritime boundaries.

Last year, Bangladesh’s military-backed interim government divided the country’s sea territory into 28 blocks in the Bay of Bengal and invited exploration bids, but failed to get much response apparently because of the dispute.

In November 2008, tensions mounted between Myanmar and Bangladesh after Myanmar escorted a South Korean gas exploration company into territory also claimed by Bangladesh. Both countries deployed their navies and finally ended the stand off with high-level diplomatic negotiations.

The government has recently asked energy authorities not to allow any new gas connections since the country is facing up to 250 million cubic feet in shortages of gas each day.

Currently, Sangu gas field, operated by Britain’s Cairn Energy, is the country’s lone operating offshore gas field.

Bangladesh has proven natural gas reserves of up to 15 trillion cubic feet.

Foreign companies have invested millions of dollars to explore and produce gas in deals with the state-run Petrobangla.

A Bangladeshi leading financial institution has entered into billion dollar carbon trading

A Bangladeshi?leading financial institution has entered into billion dollar carbon trading aiming to mitigate global warming through adoption of new technology in different carbon-emitting industries. The Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IIFDC), a non-banking financial institution, signed two emissions reduction purchase agreements (ERPA) for the first time with the World Bank and the Danish government on Tuesday to transfer 249,000 tones carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction from brick fields, the company said. The ERPA means a transaction that transfers carbon credits between two parties under the Kyoto Protocol. As per the guidelines of the Kyoto protocol, Bangladesh will receive US$15.20 from the global Community Development Carbon Fund for reducing each ton of carbon emissions. Under the deals, the IIFDC will act as a bundling agent to facilitate implementation of a project titled improving kiln efficiency in the brick marking industry in Bangladesh. At least 20 new energy efficient kilns will be constructed to produce 300 million high quality bricks annually and are expected to reduce emissions of CO2 in Bangladesh by approximately 115,000 tones per year, according to the project proposal. Currently, brick making is a highly energy-intensive and carbon-emitting activity,” said the IIDFC in its project proposal, adding that it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emission in the country, which is estimated to be in the order of 8.75 million tones of CO2 annually. “The success of the project of emission reduction in the brick manufacturing industry will encourage other brick manufacturers to come forward and switch to environmental friendly hybrid hoffman kiln (HHK) technology,” Managing Director of the IIDFC Assaduzzaman Khan told AHN Media in the capital, Dhaka. Mr. Khan also said at least two brick fields are now under production using HHK technology. The brick-making industry in Bangladesh is best described as a “footloose” industry. Production is seasonal, confined to the six dry months of the year; technology is outdated; labour productivity low; capitalization non-existent and mostly operating on equity capital; and management is informal, according to the project proposal. Total brick production in Bangladesh is estimated to be about 8.7 billion bricks annually with an estimated sale value of around US$450 million, almost one per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the project proposal said. The project will reduce an estimated 881,000 tons of CO2 during project period from 2010 to 2020, the IIFDC estimated.

The Confucius Institute for building strong relationships between people of China and Bangladesh

The Confucius Institute in Bangladesh has contributed a lot to building strong relationships between people of China and Bangladesh through language teaching, said Professor Jiang Yinlian, Chinese Director of the Institute. In an exclusive interview with Xinhua recently, Jiang said, “Learning language is the best way of building strong relationship and minimizing gap with people of different countries as it works like a bridge.” Jiang has been working for the last three years at the Confucius Institute at leading private North South University (NSU)in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, the first and so far the only one in Bangladesh. More and more Bangladeshis are now showing interest in learning Chinese language, she said, adding that her students deemed it’s aneed of time. “In 2006 when I joined the Confucius Institute at NSU there were 20 to 30 students, now there are more than 100 students, which means people here are more and more interested in learning Chinese,” said Jiang, professor of China’s Yunnan University. The Confucius Institute at NSU was established on Feb. 14, 2006.It was also the first in the South Asian region. Jiang said some of the students even come from Bangladesh’s southeastern port city Chittagong, some 242 km from capital Dhaka. They came every weekend just to attend the Chinese class as there is no good place to study Chinese in Chittagong, she said. “My suggestion is that there (Chittagong) should have another Confucius Institute,” said Jiang, who was honored by the Chinese Education Ministry with an award in 2008 for her contribution in teaching Chinese. “I think the Bangladesh government also attaches importance in learning the world’s number one Chinese language in terms of the Chinese-speaking population,” she said. “Actually, Chinese language is now more and more popular. Almost all middle schools in the United States have introduced Chinese as foreign language. It’s a matter of need, they think they need this,” said Jiang, who taught Chinese language in the U.S. for one year. She said a number of English-medium middle schools in Bangladesh have already made learning Chinese compulsory after she initiated a course to train local teachers to teach Chinese for the first time in 2008. She is planning to write a text book in Chinese, English and Bengali languages on teaching Chinese in Bangladesh so that Bangladesh people can learn the language more easily. “We’ve already developed a friendship song using both Chinese and Bangladesh languages as our “Institute Song,” which is also the first Confucius Institute song in the world in foreign language,” Jiang said. Jiang, who during her nearly three decades of services as teacher also taught Chinese language in Thailand, said, “Bangladesh people have their own rich culture which impressed me very much. It’s interesting that Bangladesh and Chinese people share some commons in both cultures and languages.” “Both two peoples love to maintain close relations with their family members. And people even in Bangladesh uses some Chinese words like Cha (tea in English),” she said. However, she expressed her surprise saying that still people in Bangladesh know very little about China and its rich culture. “In this connection we’ve a lot of things to do,” she said. Jiang, who has been honored here very much for her prime role in establishing the Confucius Institute on a strong base, said “I want to pass the rest of my life in teaching language and doing something for poor people.” Jiang, in her 50s, said her only son namely Jiang Yuan who is now in Beijing on completion of his higher study has also engaged himself in teaching foreigners Chinese language.

Four Hundred Years Ago, Galileo’s Telescope Changed The World

Despite the summer heat, the Senate of Venice assembled on this day in 1609 to view a remarkable scientific instrument. It was built by the well-known astronomer and philosopher from Pisa, Galileo Galilei, and could make distant objects appear closer when viewed through one end of its long pipe. It was a telescope.
solar system
Not that Galileo had invented the instrument. Credit for that is generally given to a Dutch stargazer who is almost forgotten today, Hans Lipperhay, who unveiled his basic telescope only the previous year, in 1608.

But Galileo, ever the practical perfectionist, had already improved upon the basic essentials and produced a variable-focus instrument that increased the size of the observed object by eight times.

Why he presented it first of all to the assembled Venetian senators is not clear. But perhaps the Venetians, who had business and commerce in their marrow, saw this instrument as a way to boost their glass lens industry. After all, Venice along with Florence, was the leading center for high-quality ground glass for spectacle lenses and magnifying glasses.

Certainly Galileo made money building and selling his telescope to eager customers, until his designs were overtaken in a relatively short time by more sophisticated types.

The telescope, of course, revolutionized astronomical observation and had a profound impact on overall scientific methodology, by allowing more exact mathematical calculations.

Blasphemous ‘Suncentricity’

It also brought into sharp focus the simmering dispute between those who followed the ancient belief of Greek and Egyptian proto-scientists that the Earth was the center of the universe, and that the planets revolved around it, and those who followed the Copernican theory that in fact our Earth is just one of a number of planets revolving around the sun.

Nicolaus Copernicus, the great Polish astronomer, had summarized his theories that the Earth revolved around the sun, instead of the other way around, some 60 years before Galileo intrigued the Venetian senators with his telescope.

Galileo, with his passion for exact observation and independent analysis, became ever more convinced through the use of his telescope that Copernicus was right. But it wasn’t long before this brought him into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church.

Some churchmen began attacking Galileo in 1610, arguing that God had made the Earth the center of the universe as a home for man.

By 1616, the matter had come to the official attention of the church, with the formal condemnation of “suncentricity” as “false and contrary to scripture.”

Galileo was warned to steer clear of such heresy, which he did for a number of years. But in 1632 he published a defense of his views. This landed him in front of that sinister body, the Inquisition. The Holy Office, as it preferred to be known, tried him, found him guilty of being “vehemently” suspect of heresy, and placed him under house arrest.

It also forced him to recant, which he did. Not very brave perhaps, but practical to the end, he may have thought it best to be a live astronomer than a dead ideologue.

It took the church 359 years to rehabilitate Galileo Galilei. Only in 1992 did the Vatican formally acknowledge that it had been wrong and Galileo right.solar system

The astronomer died at his home outside Florence, still under house arrest, in 1642

Bangladesh crocodile farm entering luxury market

Bangladesh crocodileSource : www.reuters.com ?A Bangladeshi entrepreneur wants to add bite to the country’s meager exports with skin and meat from crocodiles, products he says are largely recession-proof as they’re targeted at the rich.

Mushtaq Ahmed’s Reptiles Farm Ltd is the first to commercially farm saltwater crocodiles in largely impoverished Bangladesh, with the aim of supplying the luxury goods market.

It took Ahmed several years to get the necessary financing and bureaucratic approvals to set up the farm, which started operating in late 2005 with imported crocodiles and fulfils all international wildlife protection treaties.

“People first thought it was a crazy idea. But I always knew it was going be a successful project,” Ahmed told Reuters.

“Four years on, it is now home to over 400 crocodiles, which is more than the combined total of wild saltwater crocodiles in Bangladesh,” he said at the farm in the village of Bhaluka, 110 km (65 miles) north of the capital Dhaka.

Later this year, the farm will start exporting baby crocodiles and skin from the larger ones, with several European buyers already showing interest, Ahmed said.

The skin is used to make luxury leather products such as belts and handbags, and Ahmed aims to export over 5,000 crocodile parts annually, eyeing an income of about $5 million by 2015.

Crocodile teeth are used to make necklaces or decorative pieces, while bones are used in perfume production. Crocodile meat is also widely consumed in several parts of the world.

With all these commercial prospects Ahmed is confident his business will succeed, even in difficult times.

“This industry is not going to a affected by the global recession because those who use crocodile skin are targeting the really rich,” he said.

Commercial crocodile farming exists in several countries, notably Australia, Thailand and Malaysia, but Ahmed says Bangladesh has a competitive advantage because of special import tariff agreements with the European Union.

Bangladeshi CNG Auto-Rickshaw

Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre has undertaken a plan to manufacture three-wheeler CNG-driven auto rickshaws at home.
???For the first time, the country is going to produce the motorised CNG-run auto-rickshaw using the local expertise and spare parts aimed at replacing the city?s non-motorised rickshaws, considered as one of the worst reasons for nagging gridlock in the capital.
???BITAC, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Industries, prepared a nine-year project proposal involving an initial amount of Tk?26.84 million for producing such an easy-going passenger vehicle. ?Now the project awaits approval of the Ministry of Industries,? director general of BITAC Ashish Kumar Paul told the news agency on Monday.
???He said the main objective of the project was to phase out non-motorised rickshaws in phases and put in operation an alternative mode of transportation with a rehabilitation option for the rickshaw pullers.
???The BITAC chief, however, made it clear that the rickshaw pullers would get training on technical know-how with soft-loans to help them take up an alternative mode of transportation to earn their livelihood.
???Referring to the poor condition of a sizeable number of motorised vehicles on the city streets, Paul said most of the vehicles of such nature burn much fuel while stranded in traffic jam, contributing pollution enormously into the air to jeopardise the environment.
???He, however, claimed that the existing intolerable gridlock could be reduced to a larger extent besides saving a huge sum of foreign currency when the 3W CNG-driven auto rickshaws would be marketed on commercial basis.
???The large-scale manufacture of the 3W CNG-run rickshaws will be done with the use of small and medium workshops located in the city?s Dholaikhal, a hub of the country?s potential light engineering workshops.
???Asked why the local light engineering workshops have been chosen for manufacturing the 3W CNG-run auto rickshaws instead of imports, Dr Ihsanul Karim, additional director of BITAC, said some of these workshops had a good setup and expertise also in manufacturing three-wheeler automobile parts.
????There is no alternative to promoting the local SMEs to further hasten the countrywide industrialization process? said Dr Karim with the hope that the new venture would contribute a lot in easing the traffic movement in the city.
???Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology will be given the responsibility to carry out a design task following the ministry?s approval to start the project, he said.
???Dr Karim also said that an initial estimation of Tk?2.50 lakh might be charged for each 3W CNG-run auto rickshaw equipped with locally-produced sustainable light and medium industries. ?Such an auto-rickshaw with sub-standard spare parts is being purchased in some local markets at over Tk?3.50 lakh,? he said.
???Approximately 2,000 3W CNG-driven rickshaws could be produced every year depending on availability of local light and medium industries, said Dr Karim

Nuclear in Bangladesh for power

Authorities in Bangladesh continue to plan and prepare to introduce nuclear power, but deny they have reached terms with Russia’s Rosatom atomic energy corporation to build the reactor.

Mohammed Muzammel Haque, chief engineer at the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), claims Bangladesh has opted to build a 1100 MWe plant. But neither the time frame for completion nor the technology supplier for the long-planned plant at Rooppur, western Bangladesh plant have been decided.?

?

“We are still exploring all the options as regards reactor technology,” he told World Nuclear News. This appears to contradict suggestions from Russia’s Rosatom that it had secured the order to supply reactors to the plant. After a meeting in Dhaka in May, visiting Rosatom deputy director general Nikolay Spasskiy said the Bangladesh government had decided on Rosatom technology, with only payment scheduling left to be negotiated.

?

Russia is the latest of several countries ? the others being China, France, India and USA – with whom Dhaka has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on nuclear cooperation ahead of the hoped-for power plant, which could in theory break ground in just a few years. The year 2010 has been previously suggested by Yeafesh Osman, state minister at the Bangladesh Ministry of Science, Information & Communications Technology, speaking at an April conference in Beijing, China.

??

Much debate has swelled around the technical specifications for a plant at Rooppur, which was first conceived in 1963, with current costs estimated by Osman at $2 billion. But the pressure is now on the Bangladeshi government: candle stubs on the footpaths and staircases of Dhaka’s business district Mohtijheel hint at the dire power shortages which have been blamed with losing this country $1 billion a year in GDP. Electricity demand is rising by 6% a year in Bangladesh.

??

Given that alternatives are limited – apart from limited reserves of natural gas and hard-to-mine coal – there appears to be popular and political support for the Rooppur nuclear station. Current prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s late husband was a nuclear scientist and leading proponent of Rooppur during his stint as chairman of the BAEC.

??

A government white paper published this summer however also suggests her administration has been exploring alternatives to nuclear energy: the extraction of local coal supplies ? long environmentally sensitive ? is included in a Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources plan to have 7000 MWe generation capacity in place by 2014. Smaller coal power stations would contribute 2000 MWe of that.

Raising money for a Rooppur plant also remains a worry. Local economists have suggested privatisation of the country’s power sector would attract sufficient investment from overseas venture capital and pension funds to complete the nuclear plant. Others point to soft loans from Bangladesh’s chief regional patron, China: Dhaka recently requested $2 billion from Beijing for major infrastructure projects, among which was listed a $150 million request for Rooppur.?

The government’s various nuclear diplomacy gambits seem designed to create the kind of pool of expertise that Bangladesh will need to build and run a nuclear plant. A $67,000 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) grant has been secured to train 40 personnel.

India can use Ctg port

?Bangladesh may offer the use of its strategic Chittagong port to India for using the facility to transport goods from the landlocked northeast.?Bangladesh could offer India the facility to use its southeastern Chittagong Port after upgrading its capacity to take the extra load, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said.

?

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday that if Chittagong seaport has the capacity to take the load, there should not be any problem with India using it for trade transaction.

Faruk, who came here to inaugurate a function on Bangladesh’s brick export to Tripura at Akhaura border check-post complex, told reporters that the issue of transit to India could be resolved through bilateral discussion.

“The day is not far off when you will be able to use Chittagong port as your port,” he told a correspondent from Tripura, giving a clear hint at positively considering by the present government the longstanding Indian plea for the port use.

“In this globalised world, one will not call it my port or your port. It is our port,” the commerce minister categorically said.

He hoped that the export of brick to Tripura would help strengthen the business relations between the two neighbouring countries.

As businessmen raised problems of infrastructure, land port and banking facilities to boost the bilateral trade, Faruk said he would take up the matters with the authorities concerned of Bangladesh.

In next six months a 16-km highway with four lanes from Akhaura border to Darkhar of Dhaka-Sylhet highway will be developed.

A Tk 116 crore project in this respect is now under consideration of the planning commission, the commerce minister said.

Faruk said Bilonia landport will be inaugurated shortly, sometime between Eid-ul-Fitr and Durga Puja.

He assured that the banking and customs problems would be taken up with the finance minister.

The minister said small bilateral problems that remain unresolved would be settled through discussions. He noted that the Bangladesh foreign minister will visit India when the issues will be discussed.

Tripura Commerce Minister Jitendra Choudhury, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, Tripuar Chamber’s President M.L. Debnath, Tripura Chief Secretary Shudhir Sharma, India-Bangladesh chamber president Abdul Matlub Ahmed and businessmen from Bangladesh and India attended the function

Source :http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=102327

Bangladesh to Buy 150,000 Tons of White Sugar

Bangladesh Sugar & Food Industries Corp., a state-owned producer, plans to import 150,000 metric tons of white sugar this year to meet a shortfall in domestic supplies, a company official said.

The company will buy 25,000 tons in a tender that closes Aug. 22 and will seek bids for a similar quantity in a month?s time, Parimal Chandra Saha, director marketing, said in a phone interview from Dhaka today.

Bangladesh joins Pakistan in seeking imported sugar, adding to worldwide demand that?s forecast by the International Sugar Organization to exceed output by 9.35 million tons in the year to Sept. 30. Excessive rain delayed the harvest in Brazil, the top producer, and dry weather limited production in India, the second-biggest. Sugar has almost doubled this year in New York.

?The shortage is likely to persist even next year as cane will be in short supply,? Saha said. ?Private traders will also be importing raw sugar to meet the deficit.?

India may need to import at least 5 million tons in the year starting Oct. 1, double this year?s figure, according to Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Ltd., a grouping of producers. Neighbor Pakistan, Asia?s third-largest user, needs as much as 1 million tons by December, a trade body said yesterday. The nation plans to buy 375,000 tons currently.

Bangladesh last week ended a tax on imports of raw sugar and more than halved the duty on refined sugar import to boost supply after output more than halved to 80,000 tons in the year ended June. Production this year may rebound to 101,000 tons and won?t return to the normal level of 145,000 tons because of a decline in the crop area, Saha said.

The country consumes 1.2 million-to-1.4 million tons a year and produces 146,000 tons. It imports white sugar from countries including Brazil and Thailand to bridge the deficit, Saha said

Investment up 63 pct in 2008.

Bangladesh’s foreign direct investment (FDI) crossed 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, marking a 63 percent rise compared to that in 2007, leading English-language newspaper The Daily Star reported on Tuesday.

The report quoting the central bank’s statistics said the FDI rose mainly because of an increased inflow of investment in telecom sector, which attracted more than half of the total investment in 2008.

According to the central bank’s latest survey report released recently, the FDI inflow was 1,086.31 million U.S. dollars in 2008, which was 666.37 million U.S. dollars in the previous year.

The Bangladesh Bank calculates FDI on the basis of three components — equity capital, reinvestment earning and intra- company loans.

Equity capital comes solely from abroad, while foreign investors reinvest local earnings in intra-company loans and reinvestment earning.

Equity capital shot up by 102 percent in 2008 and stood at 809 million U.S. dollars from 401 million U.S. dollars in 2007.

Reinvestment earning increased by 15 percent to reach 245 million U.S. dollars, while intra-company borrowing fell by 39 percent to 31 million U.S. dollars in 2008.

In telecom sector, the FDI increased by 219 percent and 641 million U.S. dollars was invested in 2008, which is 59 percent of the total. The amount was 202 million U.S. dollars in 2007.

Bangladesh Bank officials said more investment by different oil companies went to energy sector in the last 10 years. But in the recent years the investment was attracted to the telecom sector as the mobile phone companies went for expansion, the newspaper said.

The FDI inflow from countries like the United States and the UK went down last year. FDI from the U.S. fell by 60 percent to 41 million U.S. dollars, while 0.05 percent to 130 million U.S.

dollars from the UK.

FDI from Malaysia increased by 268 percent to 71 million U.S.

dollars and from Japan by 58 percent to 57 million U.S. dollars, according to The Daily Star.

Solar power technology is lightening the new hope of Bangladesh energy

solar-powerBangladesh? – Straw fences and tin roofs: the homes in Pritomoddi village are typical of millions of others across rural Bangladesh, except for one thing: the shiny solar panels that provide electricity, all the time.

At the moment, only 40 per cent of Bangladesh’s nearly 150 million people have access to electricity, often only for a few hours a day.

At some places, electricity does now show up for days, making lives difficult at home and disrupting industries and farming, where irrigation pumps stand idle.

The country’s power system is almost entirely dependent on fast depleting fossil-fuel, with state-owned and private sector power plants only able to generate up to 3,800 megawatts of electricity a day against a demand of 5,500 megawatts.

All of this makes solar energy systems, offered to villagers heavily subsidised by the World Bank and via an installment scheme run by the state-owned Infrastructure and Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a big relief.

“Life has become much easier now,” said Kulsum Begum, a mother of four whose husband and son work abroad and who lives in Pritomoddi, some 60 km (40 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka.

Begum installed a 40-watt solar system on the roof of her house, which powers four bulbs, one television and also recharges her lifeline: her mobile phone.

“Whenever I need something, I call my husband or son on the cellphone. I am so happy now,” she said.

?

NEWS .

Grameenphone (GP), the country’s top mobile phone operator, has selected Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei to deploy first solar-powered base transceiver stations (BTS) in Bangladesh, .

Huawei will install its fourth-generation base stations, using a solar and diesel generator hybrid power solution to provide mobile connectivity in rural areas. The base stations will primarily be powered by harnessing solar energy without having to be linked to an electricity grid. The diesel generator will be used as a backup.

Once deployed, the new system will improve GP’s network performance by preventing service interruption, a previously persistent challenge in Bangladesh due to power instability, a Huawei press statement said in the capital, Dhaka.

Huawei has developed a series of end-to-end green solutions for wireless broadband networks, using a combination of solar energy, wind power and diesel fuel, according to the statement.

Norway’s telecom giant Telenor owns 62 percent of the GP, which was launched in 1997, while the remaining 38 percent is held by local Grameen Telecom.