The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said it remains very optimistic about Bangladesh's continuous growth but how the country will maintain the current political stability remains a big challenge.
"It's a big challenge for Bangladesh how it will maintain political stability. Political stability is very important," ADB's Director General of South Asia Regional Department Hun Kim told UNB.
With political stability, he said, bureaucrats become more accountable, motivating and empowered ones enabling the development trend to continue.
"From our experience, as we work on the ground, we can say if there’s a good man - project director - committed to a particular project, that project succeeds. But that person has to be empowered," said the ADB senior official.
Talking to this correspondent on a sideline event of the ongoing annual meeting of ADB, Kim said Bangladesh just needs to continue the growth trend. "I’m very optimistic about Bangladesh."
Responding to a question, Kim who oversees ADB operations and support for regional cooperation in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, said, "We’ve a strong confidence in Bangladesh bureaucracy."
"Bangladesh is doing very well. It can take fast decisions. With the increased capacity of bureaucracy, Bangladesh is willing to take bigger investments," Kim said.
Bangladesh's economy registered a record high growth rate of 7.3 percent in 2017 as higher farm and wage incomes lifted private consumption, according to the ADB Annual Report 2017.
The report says public investment has improved, although remittance inflows declined and exports have stagnated.
Bangladesh growth, according to the ADB, was mainly driven by service industries, although agriculture, small-scale manufacturing and construction also made contributions.
Responding to another question, the ADB official said South Asia politics is always a problem but good politics can make a difference, UNB reports.
South Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, and its rising population of young people is expected to provide a demographic dividend in the coming decades, ADB officials said.
ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy for Bangladesh proposes total assistance of $8 billion, including for non-sovereign operations, during the period of 2016-2020, 60 percent up from $5billion in 2011-2015.
In 2016-2017, the ADB approved $2.5 billion in sovereign and $600 million in non-sovereign assistance.
To support government efforts, the ADB will provide additional resources depending upon need, performance of ongoing projects, and readiness of new projects.
Bangladesh joined the ADB in 1973, and in 1982 became its first member to host a field office. To date, more than $20 billion in ADB loans, grants, and technical assistance have been approved for Bangladesh.
The approved non-sovereign loans, equity investments, and guarantees have totalled $985.28 million.