Economists say good governance and dispelling social discrimination are important alongside infrastructural development before graduating from low-income country status to developing country status Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
According to the 2015 assessment by CDP, a country needs 32 points (or less) in the economic risk index, 66 or more points in the human development index, and $1,242 per capita income to be considered as a developing one
Bangladesh is finally going to be recognized as a developing country – economically and socially – in March, 2018, crossing over from the list of least developing countries (LDCs).
Bangladesh has achieved all the three conditions that were needed to be a developing country.
However, the announcement will be effective in 2024 – after being assessed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The council will make the announcement by considering three aspects of the country – economic risk, human development, and per capita income. In the meantime, Bangladesh has to maintain its progress.
Planning Ministry sources said the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) creates indexes for countries every three years based on their per capita income and social issues.
Based on the indexes, the countries of the world are divided into three categories: least developing countries (LDCs), developing countries and advanced countries.
Bangladesh has reached the second phase after meeting the eligibility criteria of CDP – now it is a matter of time for the country to emerge from the LDC list to the list of developing countries.
According to the 2015 assessment by CDP, a country needs 32 points (or less) in the economic risk index, 66 or more points in the human development index, and $1,242 per capita income to be considered as a developing one. In 2015, Bangladesh’s position in the economic risk index stood at 25.1 points, 63.8 points in the human development index, and it had $923 per capita income based on the Atlas system.
However, according to a meeting between the government and the CDP this year, it was found that Bangladesh has 72.8 points in the human development index, earned below 25 points in the economic risk index, and has $1,772 per capita income this year. Based on these numbers, Bangladesh has passed the test on the three indexes.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said: “Bangladesh will become a developing country in March 2018. Bangladesh has achieved the three conditions that are required for it.”
He said: “United Nations Economic and Social Council’s evaluation committee will hold a meeting this month where the topic of Bangladesh being declared as a developing country will be discussed.
“We can hope that the council will make the announcement. We will be given time to prepare for the announcement to be effective. By 2021, Bangladesh will become a developing country in the same year when it will celebrate 50 years of independence.”
However, even if Bangladesh gets the recognition, the country has to seriously maintain the progress over the next 15 years. This will be a one-way process for Bangladesh. Bangladesh may not get back its previous title – even if it is a possibility – as countries which have over 75 million people cannot get the LDC title. Thus, Bangladesh has no scope for going back.
Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the global economy will pace forward in 2018. Bangladesh will be able to take advantage of it if it makes adequate preparations.
When asked about what Bangladesh should do in order to gain the recognition, Professor Mostafizur Rahman, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said: “We need to focus on improving the efficiency and productivity of our technologies.
“Three million people are still living below the poverty line in Bangladesh. Our economy is still not fully industrialized. In this context, along with the diversification of export products, we will have to move towards a production economy from an economy which is dependent on situation.”
He added: “Thus, we cannot solve all our problems merely through this recognition.”
He said: “We need to focus on improving our business environment, port and infrastructural development so that we can at least maintain the right price of goods in the market even if we do not get duty-free access. Besides, we need to be more efficient with our macroeconomics and ensure good governance.”
It should be noted that Bangladesh will get the trade facilities of LDCs till 2024 even if the country gets the recognition of “developing country” this year.
An LDC or a developing status, BD lacks most of the ingredients needed to propel a further development too far. I am not sure of the HDI figure at 63.8%, because if it is so improved why should BD need all the money, technology and know how from the foreign sources to build even a civil engineering project?
Any such project needs site survey, soil investigation, structural design analysis on the basis of US or British codes and standards, preparations of drawings and finally construction. BD has so far completely failed to conduct this procedure for even the high-rise building structures in Dhaka. It is because a proper system has not yet been established to carry out precisely all the steps I am telling here. Almost no structural analysis was conducted for most of these Dhaka buildings.
A proper system is followed only when a foreign company undertakes a project. But, unfoprtunately BD people lack the initiative to emulate that system. So, there is no reason to believe that BD will not remain behind for a foreseeable future. I am not talking here of the electrical, electronics, chemical or mechanical sides of the engineering. They are even more complex than a civil engineering project. We remain so behind that BD has to import even the good quality nails from China or India. Our nails bend at the first strike of a hammer.