The Centre for Policy Dialogue on Saturday said that Bangladesh should adopt a strategy for keeping the momentum of development in its post-LDC regime following a United Nations’ projection that Bangladesh would graduate from the least development country to a developing one by 2024.
It is more important how Bangladesh achieves the status and maintains the development momentum for ensuring smooth and sustainable development in the post-graduation era beyond 2024 rather than when the country graduates, the CPD said referring the Least Developed Countries Report-2016 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
‘Focus should be on longer term development pathway rather on meeting the statistical eligibility or meeting the criteria for graduation from LDC,’ the independent think-tank said at a press briefing held at the BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.
The research organisation held the press briefing to launch the report titled ‘the path to graduation and beyond: making the most of the process’ that released globally on December 12.
Bangladesh needs developing productive capacities and structural transformation of the economy for graduation with momentum and subsequent development, it said.
Bangladesh may also lose 5.5 per cent of its export following losing preferential market access it enjoys as an LDC after graduation while the overall loss for all LDCs is estimated at $4.2 billion a year.
According to the report, Bangladesh along with five other countries might meet the statistical pre-eligibility for graduation in 2018 and full eligibility in 2021.
After two consecutive reviews to be held by the Committee for Development Policy, a group of independent experts reporting to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2018 and 2021, Bangladesh will finally graduate from the list of 48 least developed countries.
A country including Bangladesh, however, will continue to enjoy the benefits including market access to developed countries until 2027, three years after the graduation, it said.
‘Bangladesh will have to adopt the strategy for smooth and sustainable graduation with momentum,’ CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman said.
It is important to meet the criteria for graduation but quality of structural transformation is more important for maintaining momentum of development, he said.
A country has to meet at least two of the three criteria — per capita income, human assets index and economic vulnerability index — for two consecutive triennial reviews to graduate from the LDC category.
Bangladesh has already met the EVI criterion and reached close to HAI criterion.
According to the report, Bangladesh’s three years’ (2011-2013) average GNI (gross national income) per capita was $1,190 in 2015, the year for evaluation when the GNI per capita threshold was $1,242. The calculation was conducted following the Atlas method that considers exchange rate and inflation.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh’s per capita income is now $1,465.
The BBS, however, does not follow the UN criteria in calculating per capita income.
The report also termed the country as lower middle-income one.
As per the World Bank criteria, Bangladesh graduated to lower middle-income country status in July, 2015 as its GNI per capita reached to above $1,046, which is the WB’s standard.
CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said that Bangladesh should emphasise HAI criterion to meet the graduation target as GNI per capita may fluctuates depending on other factors including remittance inflows and exchange rate.
Graduation with momentum is important for Bangladesh, he said.
For maintaining development momentum, Bangladesh should ensure structural transformation in economy through setting up more labour intensive industries, creating decent employment, increasing productivity and emphasising rural economy, he said.
Political stability, inclusive growth, good governance, rule of law and human rights is also important, he said adding that the international community now does not accept the only growth-driven economic development.
So, development without democracy is not acceptable, he added.
CPD research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan made the key note presentation on the report while research director Fahmida Khatun also spoke at the briefing.
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