Arlinks Group – Shaping the world since 1972

Rokia Afzal Rahman

Passed away on Wednesday, 5 April, 2023


In 1980, Mrs. Rahman started R.R. Cold Storage Limited which dealt with the import-export of potatoes and storage of seeds & table potatoes. She also facilitated loans to farmers by standing as guarantor, taking loans for them and retailing the loans to them. She bought another agro-business company, Imaan Cold Storage Ltd.

Mrs. Rahman diversified her business in many other sectors. She ventured into media, insurance, real estate and the power sector.

She was the Chairman of Arlinks Limited, R. R. Cold Storage Limited, Aris Holdings Limited & Director of Imaan Cold Storage Limited. She was the Chairman of Mediaworld Ltd (owning company of “The Daily Star” the largest circulated english news paper in Bangladesh) and MIDAS Financing Ltd. She was a Director of Mediastar Ltd (owning company of “Prothom Alo” the largest circulated bangle news paper in Bangladesh), Ayna Broadcasting Corporation Ltd (ABC Radio – FM Station). She was also a Member of the Board of Directors of Bangladesh Lamps Ltd. and Marico Ltd.

Mrs. Rokia Afzal Rahman was the Vice President of International Chamber of Commerce – ICC Bangladesh.

Mrs. Rahman was appointed as an adviser (Minister) in the Caretaker Govt. of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 2001.  She also served as a Board Member of the Central Bank of Bangladesh, and the President of the Bangladesh Employers Federation – BEF. She was also a Director of Reliance Insurance Ltd. She is the former President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries – MCCI, Dhaka.

Mrs. Rokia Afzal Rahman served as an Independent Director at Grameen Phone Ltd. MARICO Bangladesh Ltd, Grameen Telecom Trust Ltd. She was a Trustee member of TIB.



Her commitment to development brought her to the Boards of a number of development organizations. Mrs. Rokia Afzal Rahman served on the board of BRAC. She served as a Chairperson of Banchte Shekha, Jessore – working for the underprivileged and extremely poor. She was a board member of MRDI (Management and Resource Development Initiative), DNET &

In August 2006 Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs – BFWE was launched. The federation works in different sectors through its member associations, most of the women are in secondary towns and rural areas of Bangladesh. Mrs. Rahman was the founder president of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (BFWE).

In 1994, the first Women Entrepreneurs Association (WEA) in Bangladesh was formed with 150 members and Rokia Afzal Rahman as founder President. In 1996 Mrs. Rahman formed Women in Small Enterprises (WISE) to further promote women into small enterprises and industries. WEA and WISE worked to bring about a change in the lives of women and bring empowerment through entrepreneurship development.

Women doing business had to share a percentage of their profits with middlemen, to eliminate the role of the middleman Mini Marts were established first in 1992. Mini Marts are Marketing outlets owned and managed by a group of business women to sell diversified items. For the first five years, Mrs. Rokia Rahman was the Chairperson in all the Mini Marts.

Mrs. Rahman was the former chairman of Presidency University and former president of Asian University for Women (AUW), Foundation.

Awards Received

  • Leading women entrepreneurs of the world. Monte Carlo
  • Best Business person, Bangladesh Shilpa Bank
  • Prime customer, Janata Bank
  • Business person of the Year-2003 American Chamber.
  • Priyadarshani award, India.
  • Deshbondhu award for women’s Empowerment
  • Women’s development, Mercantile Bank.