Bangladesh template for development success: Financial Times

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Published on July 30, 2022
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A recent article, published by British daily the Financial Times, said the rise of Bangladesh as a "development success story," is "a template for a host of African nations."

Bangladesh offers a glimpse of what is genuinely possible and a rebuke to those who see past national performance as a guide to future prospects, reads the article by David Pilling.

Citing Charlie Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance Capital, the article put down the country's development success to three factors – literacy, electricity and fertility – all tests that Bangladesh passes.

In his book "The Time Travelling Economist," Charlie argues that the prerequisites for industrial take-off are adult literacy above 70 percent, electricity supply above 300 kWh per person and a fertility rate below 3 children.

In Africa, most of the nations have a sordid record in providing electricity to their citizens.

David wrote: "Bangladesh today is where South Korea was in 1975," and the country "holds lessons for many parts of Africa, though it is rarely mentioned as a template for development."

South Korea and Singapore are frequently cited, but no African country has come close to matching their success.

Pointing to the recent effort by the government to seek loans from the International Monetary Fund, David wrote: "If you take the long view, Bangladesh – once dismissed as a 'bottomless basket' by Henry Kissinger – is a development success."

About the remarkable turnaround of the country in three decades, the article said: "GDP per capita has increased eightfold. Women have two children on average, meaning parents have more money to devote to each child's education, health and wellbeing – and banks have more savings to recycle to industry."

"The proportion of people living in absolute poverty has more than halved. The position of women has greatly improved. More girls are in secondary school than boys."