Natural disasters didn’t hurt its spirit, poverty didn’t mar it’s ability to fightback and the world’s largely opaque understanding of its culture and realities did little to dissuade Bangladesh from regrouping with its cerebral, inwardly bound talent and a collective spirit to mount a fightback.
A vibrant evening in Chittagong, an eclectic vibe boasting of hospitality and bustling cosmopolitan life seen in Dhaka and, the rustic charm of being immersed in the eye-pleasing beauty of Comilla’s charm- is this Bangladesh that we are talking about?
Forget the religious fundamentalism and sectors of the society that are still strangely at odds with the country making inroads toward progressive economic-partnerships with the world. Forget the blithe that ignorance serves in undermining Bangladesh’ resurgent spirit. Here’s the truth. Gone are the days when you would conveniently turn a blind eye on Bangladesh. Gone are the days of cold-shouldering and flickering myths surrounding Bangladesh’s economy being in a state or peril. There’s a reason why the country is being increasingly referred to as being a “rising tiger” economy of Asia and one of the pivotal forces of the sub-continental region.
A country that was till 2000, in dire-straits being mired by poverty and challenged by economical growth has upturned it’s formerly critical situation. Wondering how? Through noted advances in the agricultural sphere, Bangladesh reversed it’s crippling impoverished situation to being one that boasts of shining overturns.
In the past decade and a half, Bangladesh’s rural and agrarian economies have constantly led to a state of poverty reduction. Moreover, the country isn’t grappling with existential crises that are hitting other countries in Asia- most noticeably, China, India and Pakistan, the latter being inflicted if only to an extent. What this has done is that it has effectively increased the per capita earning of Bangladesh, seeing it overtake economies like Pakistan. Project-Syndicate in it’s earlier publishing this year noted that Bangladesh’s annual GDP growth rate has doubled when compared to that of Pakistan by roughly 2.5 percent each year.
This, could well be Bangladesh’ most remarkable development since 1971- a period of great travesty and one wrought by suffering and economic backlash. Famines came and eroded peace of the country. Natural disasters didn’t spare the happy go lucky nation their striking. Food grain production wasn’t what was sufficient.
Today, akin to a sleepy giant having consumed a pot of elixir, it seems Bangladesh has made it’s very weaknesses the reasons of its strengths. In fact, make that celebrations. In the last 40 years or so, Bangladesh has made commendable progress in the key area of food security. Rice, Wheat, Jute, Mango- you name it, Bangladesh holds a plush economic basket of self sufficiency in these aforementioned food-grains. Interestingly, the food-grain production nearly “tripled” between the period 1972 to 2014, growing manifold, growing to 34.4 million tons when it was merely 9.8 million tons nearly four and a half decades ago. If this isn’t success, then what is?
In the realm of clothing and textile, lest it be forgotten, Bangladesh rules akin to an avalanche. How many countries have you heard making such uptight progress through a largely single component of trade as Bangladesh? Bangladesh sees a contribution of 80% of exports from the spectre of shoes, shirts, knitted garments, hosiery are concerned. At all these times, Bangladesh has had to weather the storm of political uncertainty and among other problems, has put a brave foot forward in holding on its own against one of the gravest problems of them all: climate change. Saline intrusion and draught have constantly been challenging the topography of a fragile ecosystem.
Even to this day, Bangladesh remains one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. On other fronts, efforts are being constantly taken to endure the sphere of job-creation- Rural non-farm enterprises that orient households with the power to run dainty businesses are on the rise. The priority of the current government- if facts are to be believed- rests on promoting both farming and non-farming jobs for both women and youngsters.
But despite the constant balance between problems and challenges on a front, Bangladesh has ushered positivism through the developments in the region of export. It’s become a talismanic economic mini-giant thanks to the continuous focus rising export figures fetch to a country that is often jolted by acts of religious fundamentalism. No other country in Asia saw it’s garment sector grow by 10 per cent in the last 2-3 years other than Bangladesh. The classicists believe that a large part of the change is owing to the prospect of women empowerment that has seen them participate in the contributions to the economy. The irrationality of the past has seen the tide turn toward women-inclusiveness today.
Bangladesh’s health and education services- it is argued- owe a lot of bright transformation to it’s high performing NGOs. These are doubtlessly important planks that foment a country’s intellectual development. Of course, that said, there’s little surprise that one of the world’s largest NGOs ever, BRAC- began in Bangladesh. With so many positives on the fore- there’s a great threat of agreeing to an understatement that Bangladesh- time is here and now!