Karachi Correspondent: Zaigham Khan advised the newly elected Prime Minister and the ruling party of Pakistan to follow the Bangladesh model of development instead of Sweden. In the talk-show he lauded the tremendous progress Bangladesh made in the last couple of years. He drew an analogy between Dhaka Stock Exchange and Islamabad Stock Exchange to explain the weakness of Pakistan bourse. Other participants at the talk-show also lauded the progress of Bangladesh.
Zaigham Khan said even if the Pakistani Prime Minister can fix up all the problems, including wide ranging corruption, it will take ten years for Pakistan to become equal to Bangladesh in development. He mentioned that Bangladesh now exports goods and services worth $ 40 billion a year but Pakistan only $ 22 billion. Zaigham Khan said “We do not want to be like Sewden, for God’s sake, please make us like Bangladesh”. He further added “We will be grateful to Imran Khan if he can take us to the level of Bangladesh by next ten years, which is also impossible”. The video clip of the talk-show went viral on the social media.
The comment of Zaigham Khan elicited positive response from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. When a journalist drew her attention and asked if she would share ‘Bangladesh model of development’ with Pakistan she said “Why not? We will certainly help them (Pakistan) if they seek any sort of cooperation”.
Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan in many sectors. The UN has recognized Bangladesh as developing country after graduating from Least Developed Country (LDC) bloc. Bangladesh has fulfilled the eligibility requirements to graduate from LDC as it has met all the three criteria for getting out of the LDC bloc. These three criteria include: Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). The UN recognition would allow the country to start graduating from LDC category and would have to qualify two more reviews in 2021 and 2024 by the same UN committee to get out of the LDC tag.
According to the United Nations Economic and Social Council a country needs to fulfill some criteria to be a developing country. Per capita income should be at least $ 1230. Currently, per capita income in Bangladesh is $ 1610. Human Resources Index should be at least 64 where Bangladesh stands at 72 points. The economic risk point of Bangladesh is now 25.2 per cent. If this point exceeds 36 per cent the country comes under LDC category. Bangladesh looks like the first LDC category country to category country to graduate on the basis of all the three criteria.
Bangladesh is being tagged globally as the “land of impossible attainments”. The country has already achieved the targets set for hunger and poverty-free society under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The success in poverty reduction has been well acclaimed by the international community. Bangladesh will be projected as a focal country in a global initiative to end hunger by 2025 to be launched in the US. Former World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Johannes Zutt, said “Against all said “Against all odds Bangladesh has lifted 16 million people out of poverty in last 10 years and also reduced inequality that is a rare and remarkable achievement”.
Poverty is the single most important socio-economic policy challenge for Bangladesh which is home to a huge population of about 16 crore (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Significant progress has been achieved in poverty reduction in the last few years. This has been possible due to the present government’s relentless engagement in poverty reduction interventions.
In July 2015 the World Bank recognized Bangladesh as lower- middle income country. The World Bank elevated Bangladesh as lower-middle income economy on the basis of per capita gross national income. Bangladesh has already adopted advanced information and communication technology (ICT) to be digitized. The government has already introduced e-commerce, e-banking, automated clearing house etc. These are really a historic move towards achieving higher productivity across all economic sectors including agriculture and small and medium enterprises. After Bangladesh split from Pakistan in 1971 political observers doubted that it could survive as an independent country. Bangladesh that was then dubbed ‘the test case for development’, has recorded remarkable progress and become an important example for others to follow.