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 achievement.

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.