The Financial Express

Rebranding Bangladesh

| Updated: July 30, 2022 22:00:59

Rebranding Bangladesh

The 'basket case' that Kissinger had called Bangladesh since her inception has long been an obsolete town crier's empty slogan shaming himself  as part of insidious cold war legacy. In a direct proportion to the intended display of an air of superiority and super power patronisation, Bangladesh has disproved it all with full vindication. That dishonourable mention, by hindsight has long since been the motivator of the mettle we have proved to the world we belong. In fact, to dub Bangladesh 'resilient' is being rather minimally appreciative of the intrinsic qualities of head and heart of Bangladesh's people. A more appropriate label the country perhaps deserves is: 'resilient plus', a certain X factor, to survive against adversities --- be those natural or man-made.

Call it you may cherry-picking pseudo-fashionably i.e. picking on brighter points or pluses to pare down the deficiencies or darker sides; you think it's a clever point. But is it, in the essence? On the contrary, such a perception is superficial; for, if a value chain is made of the positive, sterling aspects the economy has mastered by virtue of private initiative, enterprise, improvisations, the add-ons look impressive.

On the objective plane, the contrasting evaluations are pouring in as interesting dimensions to the glossary of development so to speak. For instance, the IMF looking up close at the grimmer future   of the global economy with health, environment, food, fuel supply, devoted a critical space to Bangladesh scenario. The IMF is expressly worried over the non-performing loans of the banks. The monetary watchdog wanted to know about the planning of the central bank to reduce the volume of classified loans and the 'declassification' standards. The Bretton Woods' pointers or implied conditionality assume importance in view of the $4.5 billion worth of payments support Bangladesh is going to seek from the IMF. The multilateral body focused on growth, inflation, exchange rate fluctuations, implementation of stimulus package and above all the challenges the country is likely to face should the Russia-Ukraine war prolong. For instance, the mined Black Sea Port, the major oil supply route across the globe remains shut for all practical purposes.

According to the ADB, in Bangladesh the latest estimates show GDP growth at 7.2 per cent surpassing the Asian Development Outlook for 2022 at 6.9 per cent. In this context, the success story that Bangladesh remains even in varying circumstances needs to be retold with the purpose of rebranding her. One may ask while its branding is yet unfinished, we may have to wait some more time to lend it a firm shape. Yes, images are and can be variable, like for instance in Britain where an Indian origin Briton may be about to ascend the height of UK's power politics.

As valuable add-on to Bangladesh's branding is the country enjoying innumerable mentions, mostly positive, across the globe. In sports, international event managements, adventure-seeking pursuits, regional bon homie, multifarious cultural contacts, art and cuisine contests, you see no dearth of Bangladesh's presence. Our wider socio-international contacts are on the increase. After the luxury of power rentals, three imperatives cry out to be attended to: R&D and reliable and verifiable database and training upgrade. In fine, as a people, our strength lies in being homogeneous.

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