Over the past several years, Bangladesh has invested a great deal of labor and resources into key development sectors. The progress Bangladesh has made as a result was well worth the effort. A sustained economic growth of 6 percent annually has pushed Bangladesh out of poverty and above the World Bank’s Lower Middle Income threshold. The hope is that in five years’ time, as the country celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation in 2021, it will have attained full Middle Income status.
“It is no secret that Bangladesh made outstanding progress on key Millennium Development Goals and we are confident that similar progress is possible under the Sustainable Development Goals,” said USAID Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski in her opening remarks at the recently-held Bangladesh Development Forum 2018.
But in order to consolidate its gains and reach the next level, Bangladesh must not rest on its laurels. First, it must continue to encourage investments, particularly in infrastructure and renewable energy. And it must break down barriers to regional trade.
Second, it must modernize its institutions of governance, maintain ample space for informed policy debate, and avoid instituting well-intentioned but counter-productive laws limiting civil society and the media. Such limitations are counterproductive to good governance.
Third, Bangladesh must prepare its young people for a rapidly evolving world economy by equipping them with the sort of quality education and analytical reasoning skills that will enable them to adapt and excel.
And finally, Bangladesh must enhance the participation of women and girls in all aspects of society. “We urge greater attention, in particular, to preventing gender‐based violence and child marriage,” said USAID Mission Director Jaruzelski.
“Bangladesh has the skills to accelerate its already very impressive achievements in moving millions out of extreme poverty. The approach of pursuing fewer, but larger, better targeted, and more efficient government programs is one that we view as most promising.”