Bangladesh an economic miracle: Economists
DHAKA, March 5, 2019 (BSS) – Bangladesh has achieved a “miracle” in economic and
social terms. This has been supported by a shift to the non-farm sector and a large
workforce, economists and analysts observed.
Access to microfinance, investment in human capital, women’s empowerment and
infrastructure development also helped a lot in achieving the feat, economists said at
a book launching seminar at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Investment on some key infrastructure like Bangabandhu Bridge helped internal
migration of the labor which actually contributed to growth of non-farm activities,
especially RMG and pharmaceutical industries, they explained.
The economists made the observations as they were commenting on a book titled:
’Economic and Social Development of Bangladesh: Miracle and Challenges’ jointly
published by JICA Research Institute and BIDS.
“Bangladesh’s recent economic and social success under several unfavorable situations
can be called a miracle,” Dr Yasuyuki Sawada, one of the authors and Chief Economist
and Director General of ADB commented.
He listed industrialization success, infrastructure development, microfinance and
women’s empowerment as the mechanisms of the structural transformation that Bangladesh
has recently gone through.
Now, time has come to put more emphasis on quality of education, skill development,
productivity of labour, setting priorities for infrastructure, more expansion of
healthcare facilities and meaningful social protection, according to the analysts.
Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud commended the country’s success saying that low-cost solutions
in education, health and excellent rural road network helped Bangladesh a lot in its
To move forward the country will require focusing on higher technology, more skilled
and productive manpower and raising public trust in institutions, increasing quality
of governance and institutional capacity.
Planning Minster MA Mannan said although governance is an important issue, but the
government has its own priorities like lowering basic poverty, improving
infrastructure and energy, etc.
“If these important issues are addressed, governance will ultimately reach the
doorsteps of the poor,” he said.
Mannan also added that continuity of government and able leadership were the catalysts
behind the country’s latest success.
Dr Binayak Sen, BIDS research director, said Bangladesh’s success with very low public
expenditure compared to similar countries is definitely exceptional.
He suggested putting more focus on exploring decentralised urban development.
The World Bank’s local office’s lead economist Dr Zahid Hussain, warned against any
complacency regarding the success, saying that some peer countries like China and
Vietnam at similar historical junctures had done much better in terms of economic
growth and poverty reduction.
“There is no doubt that our achievement is much larger and wider than our expectation,
which has increased aspiration and potentials,” he remarked.
JICA Chief Representative Hitoshi Hirat, ADB’s Country Director Monmohan Parkash, BIDS
researcher, also an author of the book, Dr Minhaj Mahmud, Dr Imran Matin of Brac, also
spoke at the seminar chaired by BIDS Director General KAS Murshid.