Bangladesh moves up
On the golden jubilee of independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, 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 landmark event for Bangladesh. Bangladesh is on the way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and becoming a developed country by 2041.
Bangladesh, which has been a least developed country since 1975, meets all CDP requirements in 2018 to become a developing country. In 2020, the per capita income of Bangladesh was 1827 US dollars, which is far more than the CDP standard. 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.
The country will have 5 years to prepare to leave the current category of LDC 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 been continuing its efforts to alleviate poverty through socio-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. 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. 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 in international arena.
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 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, caused by C-19 pandemic, but it must be overcome by Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs to address the challenge of repatriation of 1.2 million Rohingyas and the cost of their maintenance. Overall development is closely linked to the development of human rights and the reduction of inequality. Therefore, 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 finally leave the LDC in 2026 and as a result of this transition, Bangladesh's relations with various international organizations will be further strengthened and investment will increase a lot.
By building a huge infrastructure like the Padma Bridge, Bangladesh has stunned the whole world. The construction work of Karnaphuli Tunnel, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Payra Deep Sea Port, Matarbari Sea Port, Bangabandhu Railway Bridge, Metrorail and Subway are under construction. 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: achieving MDGs, implementing SDGs, achievement in education, health, agriculture sector, reduction of infant mortality, empowerment of women, birth control, healthy sanitation system and successful immunization program, gender equality, poverty reduction, export-oriented industrialization, formation of 100 special economic zones, progress in RMG 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 corona epidemic. The duration of the Eighth Five Year Plan is 2021 to 2025 and if this plan is implemented, employment opportunity will be created for 1 crore and 13 lakh people. 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 per cent. A revolution has already been taken place in the information technology and transport sector of Bangladesh and a huge number of roads, flyovers, expressways, bridges and railway tracks are being built. Unprecedented progress has been made in the health sector and currently 98% medicines are being produced 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 was 33,674,09 million US dollars. The total remittance flow in FY 2019 20 was 18,205,01 million US dollars. In FY 2019-20 , the amount of remittances was about 5.52 percent of GDP. 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 primary education for all children. Almost all sectors of the country have been digitalized today and the dream of a digital Bangladesh is on the verge of fulfilment.
In the last fiscal year 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 an assistant professor,
BAF Shaheen College, Kurmitola,