Bangladesh has been on the right track in terms of economic growth and development, though the country has faced many obstacles in the last couple of years, experts said.
In the past decade, the economy has grown at nearly 6 percent per year, and human development went hand-in-hand with economic growth. Poverty dropped by nearly a third, coupled with increased life expectancy, literacy, and per capita food intake. More than 15 million Bangladeshis have moved out of poverty since 1992, they added.
The GDP in Bangladesh grew by 7.1 per cent in 2016 from the previous year. The GDP growth rate averaged 5.72 per cent from 1994 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 7.05 per cent in 2016 and a record low of 4.08 per cent in 1994. Bangladesh has consistently been attaining over 6 per cent GDP growth for the last couple of years. It reached 6.55 per cent in FY15, up from 6.06 per cent in FY14, 6.01 per cent in FY13, and 6.52 per cent in FY12.
Dr AMB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former adviser to the caretaker government, said Bangladesh has shown notable success in achieving GDP growth over the last two decades. The country has reduced poverty from 74 per cent in 1971 to 22 per cent in 2016, he added.
Bangladesh has made commendable progress over the past 40 years in achieving food security, despite frequent natural disasters and population growth (food grain production, for example, tripled between 1972 and 2014, from 9.8 to 34.4 million tons). With one of the fastest rates of productivity growth in the world since 1995 (averaging 2.7 percent per year, second only to China), Bangladesh’s agricultural sector has benefited from a sound and consistent policy framework backed up by substantial public investments in technology, rural infrastructure and human capital.
Bangladesh has shown dramatic achievement in export earnings, which reached USD 34.5 billion in the last fiscal year.
At a public lecture in Dhaka in February 2015, Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen remarked that Bangladesh has performed better than India in terms of the economic and social development of women despite the latter’s faster economic growth.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, life expectancy in Bangladesh has reached 70.5 in 2016. The General Economic Division of the Planning Commission has prepared a report to be used by the Bangladesh delegation led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York from September 15 to 30.
Despite the success, unemployment, as well as underemployment, remains a curse for the young people in the country. The absolute number of poor people under the upper poverty line is 39.2 million and under the lower poverty line is 20.4 million.
About gender equality and the empowerment of women, the report said Bangladesh has already achieved the targets of gender parity in primary and secondary education at the national level. In 2015, Bangladesh was awarded the prestigious Women in Parliament Global Forum award for its outstanding success in closing the gender gap in the political sphere. Bangladesh ranks 10th out of 142 countries in this regard.
Bangladesh is on track to meet the target that is measured on three different parameters, such as under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate, and immunisation against measles. The under-five mortality rate was 151 per 1,000 live births in 1990, which came down to 41 per 1,000 live births in 2013, and hence, achieved the MDG target before the stipulated time.