'Role model of economic development'
Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and industry (FlCCl), is organising a seminar in New Delhi on June 20, 2018, to celebrate the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduation from its Least Developed Countries (LDC) status to a developed country. The seminar will discuss 'New Frontiers and Horizons of India-Bangladesh Economic Engagement' in view of Bangladesh's graduation. Distinguished experts from both Bangladesh and India will deliberate at the seminar.
It is indeed a historic achievement for the 160 million people of Bangladesh that just before the 47th anniversary of our Independence on March 15, 2018, the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP), announced that Bangladesh had met the criteria to graduate from its present LDC status. This achievement partly fulfils the dream of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of our Nation, to transform Bangladesh into "Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bangla) and it has been possible largely due to the dynamic and visionary leadership of his daughter, our able Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The eligibility of a country for graduation is measured by the UN on the attainment of threshold value of three criteria – a) Gross National Income (GNI); b) Human Asset Index (HAI); and c) Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) – a country can pass the test by achieving the threshold target for at least two of these three criteria. Happily, Bangladesh as the first LDC, achieved all three targets quite convincingly. Bangladesh, however, will have to maintain the thresholds till the country's final graduation from the LDC category in 2024.
During the critical days of our nationhood in 1971, many of our friends and wellwishers would express deep concern about the survival of Bangladesh as an independent state with its huge population, a small territory and limited mineral resources. They were assured that our highly homogenised and hard-working population is our greatest national asset and that we would not depend on the international community for too long for our survival. Under the dynamic leadership of Bangabandhu, we had not only reconstructed our war-ravaged economy but were also able to develop the necessary infrastructure for self-reliance. Today, under the leadership of his daughter, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh, which was once ridiculed as a "bottomless basket", making giant strides in the pursuit for development and fulfilment of the "LDC Graduation Criteria" is a testimony to that end.
Bangladesh has aligned her national development plans with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a result, Bangladesh's success in social sectors has been remarkable, which has been duly noted by the UN and other international organisations. Bangladesh is now often mentioned as a 'role model of economic development'.
Surely, the graduation will pose some challenges as the country will no longer be eligible for concessions for LDC countries after 2027; but it is also a matter of national pride to be self-reliant at the earliest hour.
Besides branding of our nation, it should attract foreign investors, given the country's inherent strength and the size of the market. It should also raise the country's creditworthiness which would also boost our capacity to absorb greater Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and would lead to the creation of more jobs. All these positive trends would pave the way for the country to implement Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's 'Vision 2041' to make Bangladesh a developed country by 2041.
(The author is High Commissioner of Bangladesh, New Delhi)