29 March: Bangladesh seeks to establish a sister city relationship with Saudi Arabia to follow its city development practices, the local administration said on Wednesday, after a meeting with the Saudi ambassador in Dhaka.
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is one of the most crowded and unsustainable urban areas in the world, with more than 22 million people living in a densely packed environment. The city faces many challenges, such as rapid urbanization, waste management, traffic congestion, and mosquito control. To address these issues, Dhaka is looking for a sister city relationship with Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, which is undergoing a remarkable transformation under Vision 2030.
Riyadh is ranked as the third-smartest city among the G20 capitals and the 30th smartest city globally, according to the 2021 Smart City Index. Riyadh has invested heavily in infrastructure and digital solutions to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness of its residents.
The idea of Dhaka’s partnership with Riyadh was discussed on Tuesday, when Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Al-Duhailan met with the Dhaka North City Corp., which governs around 80 percent of the Bangladeshi capital. “Both Dhaka and Riyadh are capital cities. Riyadh is considered one of the smart cities in the world. We want to follow the best practices of that city,” DNCC Secretary Mohammed Masud Alam Siddique told Arab News.
A sister city relationship is a long-term partnership that promotes joint cultural, research, and development projects between two geographically and politically distinct localities. Such a relationship can bring many benefits to both parties, such as opportunities for citizens, business connections, cultural exchange, tourism, and exchange of know-how and best practices .
“If a sister city agreement is in place, it would become easier to exchange ideas and boost cooperation,” Siddique said. “Our councilors, city corporation officials could receive training in Riyadh, especially on waste management, traffic management, mosquito control … During the discussion (with the Saudi ambassador), the issue of waste management was on the table.”
Dhaka hopes to learn from Riyadh’s experience and expertise in building a smart city that can meet the needs and aspirations of its people. Riyadh has implemented various initiatives to enhance its urban environment, such as smart street lighting, intelligent traffic management, waste-to-energy projects, e-government services, and digital platforms for citizen engagement.
Dhaka believes that a sister city relationship with Riyadh can help it achieve its vision of becoming a livable and sustainable city for its residents and visitors.