Under the strong leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, we got our cherished freedom. Bangabandhu and Bangladesh are inseparable. If Bangabandhu had not been born, Bangladesh would not have been born. The 50th year of independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu are undoubtedly a beacon of hope for the Bengali nation. Much of Bangabandhu’s dream of building a golden Bengal has come true today. Bangladesh is now on the verge of becoming a strong, developed and prosperous country. Bangladesh has already received the final recommendation of the United Nations for the transition from a least developed country to a developing country. This is a big milestone and a landmark event for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is about to become a strong economic state. Bangladesh will be the 25th largest economy in the world by 2035 if the current economic growth continues. The Center for Economic and Business Research, a British economic research organization, has provided such information. According to the 2020 index, Bangladesh is now the 41st largest economy in the world.
According to the CEBR survey, Bangladesh’s economy will grow at a rate of 6.8 percent between 2021 and 2025. Bangladesh has surpassed South Asia in most of the economic and socio-economic indicators (10 out of 12) and it has surpassed low-income countries long ago. Today, Bangladesh is a milestone in terms of growth and poverty alleviation. Bangladesh today is a role model for women’s economic empowerment. In the nineties, 57 per cent of the people in the country lived below the poverty line. Today, the number of the poor is 20.5 per cent and the number of the extremely poor is below 10 per cent.
Bangladesh today is truly a milestone in some social indicators of development such as growth, inflation, per capita income, export remittances and foreign exchange reserves. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics survey, our GDP growth in the last fiscal year ended last June was 5.24 percent and per capita income stands at 2064 dollars. The New York Times columnist Nicholas urges inferior US President Biden to learn from Bangladesh on what to do to end poverty. The Wall Street Journal has praised Bangladesh’s economic growth.
Remittances play a huge role in the economy of developing countries around the world. However, due to last year’s coronavirus epidemic, most of the countries could not keep up with the previous remittance flow but Bangladesh is an exception. In 2020, the remittance flow in Bangladesh has increased compared to the previous year. According to the report of the organization, the remittance of Bangladesh in 2019 was 1840 crore dollars. In 2020, Bangladesh’s remittance was 1988 crore dollars. Last year, Bangladesh’s remittances increased by 8 percent. Immigrant workers sent 196 crore 26 lakh dollars remittances in January 2021 and that’s about 20 percent more than in January last year. Last January, immigrants sent 163 crore 84 lakh remittances. For the first time in the history of the country, foreign exchange reserves exceeded 43 billion dollars on December 30, 2020. Although Bangladesh is a small country on the world map, the speed of its economy is surprising the world day by day.
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, in some cases, Bangladesh has had surprising successes. The biggest achievement of the last 50 years has been the transition from a least developed country to a developing country. Bangladesh has shown tremendous success in the three areas of per capita income, human resources index and economic index. Bangladesh is continuing its efforts to become a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. Already Bangladesh has gained international recognition for its achievement of positive change in both social and economic indicators. Bangladesh has shown great success in the field of agriculture, education, health and poverty reduction with the goal of sustainable development in mind. There has been huge economic development within 50 years in this country since its independence. Our country has achieved the highest accretive GDP growth in the last few years and is now being considered as ‘role model of development”. Bangladesh has already achieved a revolution in the field of infrastructure. Notable infrastructures are Bangabandhu bridge, Rampal power station, Matabari port, Rooppur nuclear power plant, Bangabandhu satellite 1, Padma bridge, Mega projects in Dhaka-metro rail, Elevated expressway, Bus rapid transit and Underground railway(proposed). With the completion of Metro rail and Elevated expressway the intense traffic jam in Dhaka city, which takes up 3.2 million work hours every day would be over.
Bangladesh has managed to achieve comprehensive food security. For the last few years rice production has increased to 5 million metric tonnes. Bangladesh’s participation in UN peace keeping mission is also remarkable. Bangladesh ranks top among the 120 plus countries participating in UN peace mission. In some cases, Bangladesh has enviable success, such as ability to deal with natural disaster, self-sufficiency in food, modernization of land management, dealing with recession, settlement of maritime disputes, payment of freedom fighter allowance. According to a report of International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bangladesh’s per capita GDP in 2020 will be 1888 US dollars and that of India will be 1877 US dollars. In other words, Bangladesh is ahead of India in per capita GDP. The India Express in its analysis on 17 October 2020 said that the economic structure of Bangladesh is taking the country forward. In terms of GDP Bangladesh is now much more dependent on the sector of industries and services and a lot of employment is being created here. The analysis further states that the highest participation of women in the labour force is playing a major role in Bangladesh’s progress. The main driving force behind women’s participation in the labour force is the garment sector and Bangladesh has taken a good position in the world market by focusing on the garment sector. The participation of woman in the labour force in Bangladesh is 32 percent and in India it is only 20.3 percent. Bangladesh is also advancing in some other social indicators such as health, sanitation, financial inclusion, women’s empowerment, etc.
For the first time, the government is going to set up a food processing industrial city to ensure fair prices for farmer’s production. This industrial city is to be set up on 50 acres of land in the northern city of Thakurgaon. The prime minister said, the government has taken initiative to create skilled manpower with the idea of the fourth industrial revolution. A survey published by the World Bank on 9th November 2020 shows that the number of extremely poor people is 22.5 percent in India and 14.5 percent in Bangladesh. It is clear from the survey that the number of extremely poor people in Bangladesh has decreased a lot. Overall the poverty rate has decreased and the current poverty rate is 20.5 percent. Bangladesh is not lagging behind in other sectors either. UNCTAD’s survey of 12 November 2020 shows that Bangladesh is the top country in ship recycling and the global percentage is 54.7. Bangladesh is moving ahead in export sector and Bangladeshi medicines are being exported to 148 countries of the world. The main reason behind Bangladesh’s rapid economic growth is political stability and Sheikh Hasina’s great leadership.
The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola Dhaka Cantonment.