With a 7.1 per cent economic growth rate, Bangladesh is rated as the second fastest growing country economy-wise according to the IMF. This is based mainly on its ever-growing market structure such as the exports of ready-made garments, the domestic agriculture sector as well as remittances and fast growing SME. All this happened with very little to no international attention. Bangladesh is currently known for its emerging economy that has been hit by the influx that led to an increase in the number of refugees, and the natural disasters.
However, macro-economic policies put in place have aided in the ease of inflation, raised foreign exchange to a comfortable level as well as stabilized the public debt.
Earlier in the year 2018, Bangladesh met the criteria that required them to graduate from the least developed country status by 2024 to a developing economy. This acted as a massive boost to their public image as they could no longer entirely be at the mercy of other countries. This was a stepping stone highly celebrated.
At this point, Bangladesh stands second to China in the garment industry due to its fast-growing manufacturing sector.
According to the World Bank, the country stands at a near self-sufficient food production for a population of about 166 million with the poverty level shrinking to about 9.0 per cent. This has come with an increase in per capita income that has greatly reduced the poverty level. The economy is expected to accelerate by the year 2030.
Non-resident Bangladeshis, known as NRBs, play a big role in the Bangladesh economy. Such is the application and adaptation of the most modern technology to aid in development. This can be achieved through knowledge remittance. Recently, this scribe went to a conference on "Bangladesh in The Next 30 Years: Challenges and Prospects" 2019; hosted by Bangladesh Development Initiative in partnership with the Yale University's South Asian Studies Council. This scribe gathered knowledge on how Bangladesh should face and mitigate various challenges in the coming decade. Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI) is a non-profit organisation based in the United States. Its members include scholars and professionals committed to supporting development initiatives in Bangladesh aimed at improving the quality of life for all its citizens.
My understanding says that by the year 2030, most of the people of Bangladesh will be urban if not peri-urban. Even though most people will be economically oriented and empowered, there will be limitations due to overpopulation as the economy changes with international ethics, norms and also practices. Infrastructure requires a large financial allocation and technicality to achieve. Bangladesh being a developing country might find itself to lack the capacity to facilitate the mentioned tasks. This might hinder its productivity as there needs to be proper, up-to-date infrastructure to produce and transport the goods. NRBs involved in projects in developed economy can play the role of mentoring the projects in Bangladesh. Skilled migrants can contribute to cross-border knowledge and technology diffusion and thus help less advanced economy to catch up with others on the technology frontier.
As mentioned above, though the poverty level has greatly reduced, there is still a percentage of the people who live below the poverty level such as those in the coastal region. They constitute roughly 50 million of the population. Poverty means more money will be spent in places such as rehabilitation centres due to increased crime rates or hospital due to preventable ailments. Both these factors and more derail the economy of a country.
In conclusion, every society that has achieved success or near success has had to work in an environment with ambition, cohesion and a mind not stuck in the past. Challenges are inevitable in growth, but with commitment, collaboration, and cooperation, the next level will always be achieved.
The writer is Managing Director of Paper Rhyme
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