Eminent economist and former governor of Bangladesh Bank Professor Dr Atiur Rahman believes that Bangladesh's quantum jump from a war-ravaged country to a role model of inclusive and sustainable development can be an eye-opener for the rest of the world.
He said this yesterday while presenting the keynote paper at the seminar titled "From Ashes to Prosperity: Bangladesh's journey towards inclusive growth" held at the Council Chamber of Redbridge Town Hall, London.
Among the esteemed speakers were- Saida Muna Tasneem (Bangladesh High Commissioner to UK), Freedom Fighter Mahmud Hasan MBE (Chief Executive of Apasen International), and Dr Selim Jahan (former Director of the Human Development Report office of UNDP).
Current and former Council Members of Redbridge, academics, representatives from charity organizations and other British-Bangladeshi dignitaries were present at the event.
Saida Muna Tasneem welcomed the initiative of inviting Dr Atiur Rahman to speak about Bangladesh's amazing macroeconomic transformation within fifty years of the country's independence.
She added that the values of secularism, inclusiveness, equal rights, and social justice have worked behind Bangladesh's success as a country.
Mahmud Hasan, MBE, in his remarks, emphasized Bangladesh achievements in terms of inclusive development and expressed the commitment of British- Bangladeshis to work towards strengthening the bond between UK and Bangladesh.
"That is why under his aesthetic leadership Bangladesh was well on track of inclusive development and within less than four years of the country's independence the per capita income almost tripled to $273," he added.
Dr Atiur added that Bangladesh got derailed from this path in 1975 when Bangabandhu was murdered. However, after much struggle, the country got back on track under the prudent leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter- the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He informed that Bangladesh's per capita income has increased more than 7 times since 1975. And 73 percent of this increase has taken place within the last 12-13 years under the leadership of the present Premier.
The former central bank Governor further pointed out that the benefits of these macroeconomic achievements have reached the bottom of the social pyramid as reflected in poverty reduction and other human development indicators.
He emphasized Bangladesh's macroeconomic potential in the medium-term and inferred that following the macroeconomic trajectory of its Southeast Asian peers, Bangladesh can also have USD 4,000+ per capita income by 2026.
However, Dr Atiur cautioned, Bangladesh will also have to overcome certain hurdles in the way, e.g., managing the 'dollar crisis' arising from the Ukraine-Russia war, safeguarding the population from inflation, managing the fuel prices, recovering from the recent flood, creating employment, bolstering domestic demand, and coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic fallouts.
Dr Selim Jahan highlighted the social resilience of Bangladesh along with its tested gains in inclusion. Iqbal Ahmed suggested decentralized urbanization to make Bangladesh growth process more sustainable.