On the golden jubilee of independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, the great success of Bangladesh is being noticed in various sectors. 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 in the process of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and becoming an upper middle income country and becoming a developed country by 2041.
In just three and a half years, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made war-torn Bangladesh a least developed country. Bangladesh, which has been a least developed country since 1975, meets all CDP requirements in 2018 to become a developing country. To be a developing country, the per capita income of a country must have at least 1200 USD. In 2020, the per capita income of Bangladesh was 1827 USD. To be a developing country, a country must have a human resource index of at least 66 points and Bangladesh has 75.3 points. Bangladesh’s points in the economic fragility index are now 25.2. Bangladesh has met all the three main conditions for transition to a developing country. Bangladesh will have 5 years to prepare and during this time Bangladesh will be able to enjoy all the facilities available as a least developed country. Bangladesh received the final recommendation to cross over from the least developed country at a time when the nation is going to celebrate Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and 50 years of independence.
Bangladesh has continued its efforts to alleviate poverty through social and economic progress since its independence. Per capita income of the people of Bangladesh, GDP growth, poverty alleviation technology development, communication revolution, remittance growth, living standards and various developments have been possible due to the tireless work of the people of this country, public and private initiative, and the dynamic leadership of the present government. The transition to a developing country proves that Bangladesh is no longer a backward country rather Bangladesh is now the master of rapid progress. In July 2015, Bangladesh was upgraded from a low-income country to a low-middle-income country. As a result of lifting from LDC, Bangladesh has taken a special place in the international forum. Bangladesh will gain a lot of potential due to its transition from LDC. Bangladesh’s image on the world stage will be brighter and foreign investment will increase, and at the same time the country’s bargaining power will increase. True to say, economic growth will be much higher. Developing countries get GSP plus benefits from EU by fulfilling the conditions and we hope Bangladesh will get it by meeting those conditions. However, Bangladesh will have to face some challenges due to its transition from LDC.
The tariff free facility will reduce and as a result the competition will increase a lot but the good news for Bangladesh is that by 2027 Bangladesh will get tariff free facility in the export of goods. Bangladesh needs to address a number of other challenges, including controlling climate change, accelerating human resource development, sustaining per capita national income growth and overcoming economic fragility.
The global economy has been hit hard by the corona epidemic, so Bangladesh needs to be careful to maintain macroeconomic and inflation stability.
The biggest challenge for Bangladesh will be to hold its own position in the midst of a hostile world economy. There is stagnation in trade expansion and investment activities around the world, but it must be overcome by Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs to address the challenge of repatriation of 1.2 million Rohingya and the cost of their maintenance. Overall development is closely linked to the development of human rights and the reduction of inequality, so civil rights and good governance must be ensured. Bangladesh needs to pay more attention to free trade and more focus on tax collection and foreign investment. Bangladesh needs to pay attention on other issues such as the implementation of the Eighth Five Year Plan, the Climate Action Plan and the implementation of the SDG Agenda announced by the United Nations. Bangladesh will be completely out of LDC in 2026 and as a result of this transition, Bangladesh’s relations with various international organizations will be further strengthened and ratings will increase and investment will increase a lot.
Our achievements in the last five decades are much higher than in other countries in Asia and Africa. Today, Bangladesh is in an irresistible progress. Many great achievements have been added to the progress of Bangladesh in 50 years. By building a huge infrastructure like the Padma Bridge with own fund, Bangladesh has stunned the whole world. The construction work of Karnafuli Tunnel, Rooppur-Atomic-Power-plant, Pyra Deep Sea Port, Matarbari Deep Sea Port, Bangabandhu Railway Bridge, Metrorail and Subway in progress now. Bangladesh has shown the ability to launch the fast Bangabandhu Satellite 1. Under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina, many great achievements have been possible such as adoption of long-term plans, achieving MDGs, implementing SDGs, advancement in education, health, agriculture sector, reduction of infant mortality, empowerment of women, birth control, healthy toilet system and successful immunization program, gender equality, poverty reduction, export-oriented industrialization, formation of 100 special economic zones, progress in garment industry and pharmaceutical industry. There has also been progress in various economic indicators including increase in export earnings.
Foreign exchange reserves are now at a new height. The current foreign exchange reserves are 4 thousand 403 crore dollars despite Covid-19 epidemic and it has been possible due to huge remittance flow and stability in export earnings. The duration of the Eighth Five Year Plan is 2021 to 2025 and if this plan is implemented, employment will be 1 crore 13 lakh people. The target for achieving annual average GDP growth is 8.51 %.and inflation will be 4.8 percent. Power generation will be increased to 30,000 MW. The average lifespan will be seventy four years. Poverty rate will be reduced to 15.6 percent. A revolution has already taken place in the communication sector of Bangladesh and a huge number of roads, flyovers, expressways, bridges and railways have been built. Unprecedented progress has been made in the health sector and currently 98% medicines are being produced in the country. At present, there are 13,907 community clinics in the country.
By February 2020, the total foreign investment in the country was 1,023,920 US million dollars. According to the EPB, the total export revenue for the fiscal year 2019-20 is 33,674,09 million USD. The total remittance flow in FY 2019 20 is 18,205,01 million USD. In FY 2019-20, the amount of remittances is about 5.52 percent of GDP. Bangladesh has advanced in the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI). According to the GSCI report of 2020, Bangladesh ranks 115th out of 180 countries and in 2019 it ranked 132th. The literacy rate in the country is increasing on the one hand, the poverty rate is decreasing on the other hand, and the current literacy rate is 74.4% and the poverty rate is 20.5%.
In 1990, 61 out of 100 children were admitted to schools but now 98 out of 100 children are admitted to schools. About 27,000 primary schools have been nationalized to ensure education for all. Almost all sectors of the country have been digitalized today and the dream of a digital Bangladesh is on the verge of fulfillment.45 50 Union Parishads have been brought under digital services.
The average annual per capita income of the people of Bangladesh has exceeded 2000 dollars. In the outgoing fiscal year (2019-20), per capita income stood at 2064 dollars which was 1909 dollars the previous year. According to BBS, in Bangladeshi currency it is one lakh 75 thousand taka and an average of taka 14,500 per month. If Bangladesh’s ongoing progress continues, Bangladesh must be included in the list of developed countries by 2041.
The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola