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18 March, 2020 12:11:40 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 March, 2020 12:18:11 PM


The Bangladesh growth story

The economic experts are optimistic about the country’s uninterrupted high economic growth
Md. Mizanur Rahman
The Bangladesh growth story

When Bangladesh was emerging from the ashes of the brutal war of independence in 1971, Bangladesh was among the poorest nations in the world and on the edge of becoming a failed state. It was however, difficult to predict Bangladesh would turn-out to the most emerging nations today.

Now, the whole world is amazed seeing the miraculous advancement of Bangladesh. World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), JICA and other world famous economists have expressed their astonishment seeing the miraculous development of Bangladesh. Today, Bangladesh is considered as an emerging tiger to the global arena. But the main question is how Bangladesh moved from a “Basket Case” to a "Development Surprise"? People usually say, there must be a story behind each and every success. So, what’s the story behind Bangladesh’s remarkable development? The hero of this story was none but the  Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was the dreamer of today’s Bangladesh. Under his charismatic leadership the Bangalee nation got a free state in the global map. He used to dream for “Sonar Bangla” which will be free from hunger, poverty, corruption, illiteracy, communalism and ignorance.
Bangladesh has come a long way since its independence in 1971. Bangladesh’s annual GDP growth has exceeded Pakistan by roughly 2.5per cent points per year. Our population growth rate is 1.1per cent, while in Pakistan, it is 2per cent. Our average life expectancy is now 72 years while in India it is 68 years and in Pakistan it is 66 years. Now, the economic growth of Bangladesh is quite equal to Canada. Bangladesh has been on the right path towards becoming a part of regional and global economy, taking full advantage of its geographic location.  Standard Chartered Bank, the world famous financial institution has predicted that by 2030 Bangladesh will be richer than its neighboring country India. The centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a UK based research firm has predicted that by 2030 Bangladesh will be the 23rd largest economy in the world. Currently, Bangladesh is the 43rd largest economy in the world. According to the World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Development Index, Bangladesh is the 34th largest economy in the world which is ahead of many established nations and by 2030; it will be the 24th largest economy in the world. The World Economic League Table  predicted that, Bangladesh will make one of the biggest jumps within 2034. Bangladesh has been enlisted into the “Next Eleven Countries” by Goldman Sachs-South Korea, Mexico, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam- which are ready to become the world’s biggest economics in the 21st century, after the BRIC countries ( Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

The per capital income will be 5500 by 2031 and it will be 16000 by 2041 as our government pursues the “Vision 2021”. Once upon a time when we used to import almost all the products from the foreign countries. But now we are exporting medicines, furniture, leather, medicine, making ships etc. The RMG sector is holding the second position in the global economy. Every year our export volume is increasing. Remittance from the expatriates has been increased. We are now self sufficient in food production. Bangladesh is now the 3rd biggest inland fish producer in the world. Today there is no shortage of food in our country and no person die due to hunger. Even we have achieved the capacity to export the surplus production to foreign countries. “Monga” is totally vanished. In 1971 only 10 million metric ton rice was produced, while now it is 160 million metric ton. Our foreign currency reserve is $32,381.5 million. The number of Mobile Phone users has crossed 10 million. According to the Oxford Internet Institute, Bangladesh has the second largest pool of online workers in the world. The urban-centric development initiatives have accelerated the equitable development process for rural and urban. Both the rural and urban people are getting the banking facilities equally. It is notable that 78per cent of the rural branches are now online and the rural people are getting the modern banking facilities even staying at home. A survey conducted by World Bank shows that 34.1per cent Bangladeshi adults make digital transactions, while the average of whole South Asia is 27.8per cent. Moreover Bangladesh Bank shows that in Bangladesh only 10.4per cent accounts are dormant, while in India it is 48per cent. Our country has made remarkable progress in the reduction of fertility rates from 6per cent to 2.2per cent. The school participation rate is quite equal in the primary level. Moreover gender discrimination in the secondary school has been disappeared. Every Year near about 40 million school students get new books at the first day of the year. Recently 26,000 primary schools have been nationalized. According to the Global Gender Gap Report Bangladesh is a bright example among the South Asians country in ensuring gender equality.  Bangladesh is an example in the global trend where the Prime Minister, the Head of the Opposition Party and the Speaker of the Parliament are female. Moreover, Women Entrepreneurship is highly encouraged in Bangladesh. The per capital income is $1,909. The current GDP is 8.15per cent. The current poverty rate came down to 20.5per cent. Due to the economic power, the people’s purchasing power has been increased. The current inflation rate is within 5per cent. We have ranked better in the Human Resource Development Index. Foreign investment is increasing here as we can provide all sorts of logistic supports to the foreign investors in accordance to their desire. Bangladeshi Scientist Dr. Maksudul Alam had decoded the genome sequence of Jute fiber.

Now, the question is whether Bangladesh’s strong economic growth can be sustained? I am optimistic that the existing rate will be sustained. As in Bangladesh, majority people are hardworking and innovative. Especially, our prime Minister is none but Sheikh Hasina, the able successor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is working relentlessly to materialize the dreams and incomplete works of her father. Our Prime Minister often says,” I am working to fulfill Bangabandhu’s dream, and I don’t care about any conspiracy against that. It seems the Almighty is giving me the scope to establish Bangabndhu’s “Sonar Bangla”. By giving his blood Bangabandhu showed the path of freedom. So we will have to establish that ideal at any cost of any sacrifice. I am ready for that sacrifice.” The economic experts are also optimistic about the country’s uninterrupted high economic growth. Moreover, Bangladesh is a country where 47per cent of the total population are younger than 35. If these young people can be properly utilized, then they can change the full appearance of the country. But, the biggest challenge is that, how to turn its population into human assets?

It’s the high time to realize our achievements, on the other hand acknowledge our shortfalls. The major challenges of the Bangladesh economy in the upcoming year will be compounded by several factors such as; sluggish private investment, negative export , tepid revenue collection, increasing of Nonperforming loan, poverty, overpopulation, unemployment, corruption, poor governance etc. Corruption is extremely pervasive in the society.

Bangladesh Government has chalked out vision 2021 program aiming to raise GDP  growth rate to 10per cent by 2021.This is in line with the objective to elevate the country as a middle income country. The implementation of SDGs and Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 will be dependent on the combination of three factors namely resource mobilization, improved governance and eradication of corruption. We must ensure good governance, social justice, transparency and accountability to make the development sustainable. Moreover, female labor participation in the work place should be increased and investment in the human capital should be increased. Bangladesh is going to celebrate its 49 years of independence. Actually, the Independence Day is a day of great achievement. It is a day of reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. This year the whole country is in the process of celebrating “Mujib Borsho" also. In 1971 when Bangladesh emerged from the liberation war, many doubted that the country could survive as an independent state but today after 49 years later, those doubts have been put to rest. Bangladesh has become a “Role Model” of socio-economic development in the world despite facing various local and international challenges. Though Bangladesh stands with its head high on a strong base but there is no room for complacency. The nation still has a long way to go to fulfill the dreams of the father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In this “Mujib Borsho” it is important to be reminded what Bangabandhu said in his home coming speech on January10, 1972. He said, “I want to say, and not a single employee should take bribes. Remember, it was not an opportune moment then (1971), but now, I will not forgive those who take bribes”. Like Bangabandhu, our Prime Minister often says, “My priority is to establish this country as corruption free country”.  We, the general people can be optimistic that the ministers led by the Prime Minister has cleared that corruption will not be tolerated. It is most important to punish who are corrupted-no matter who are they. The Government has set “Vision 2021” and “vision 2041” to materialize Bangabandhu’s dream into reality. Concerned efforts are imperative from all to implement these initiatives. Actually, if confrontational politics is overcome, then “Sonar Bangla” will have a truly golden future.

The writer is a banker.
Email: bds.mizan@gmail.com



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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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