Bangladesh Can Overcome Extreme Poverty through More Inclusive Growth

Bangladesh Can Overcome Extreme Poverty through More Inclusive Growth

Bangladesh Can Overcome Extreme Poverty through More Inclusive Growth

The FINANCIAL -- Bangladesh has done an impressive job in reducing poverty over the last decades and has the potential to overcome extreme poverty by 2030 if it takes firm steps to make growth more inclusive to benefit all Bangladeshis.

Under the new $1.90 poverty line based on 2011 purchasing power, 28 million, or 18.5 percent of Bangladeshis lived in extreme poverty in 2011. 16.2 million people in Bangladesh were lifted out of  extreme poverty between 2000 and 2010. Achieving the goal of reducing extreme poverty to less than 3 percent of Bangladeshis by 2030 will require economic growth becoming more inclusive with the poorest 40 percent of society receiving greater benefits from development, according to the World Bank.

“The fruit of Bangladesh’s development experience in innovations such as conditional cash transfers, gender equity in education, and successful family planning is being reflected in its notable reduction of poverty and improvement in the lives of its citizens,” said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. “As a steadfast partner with Bangladesh since 1972, we are committed to supporting the country in increasing shared prosperity to overcome extreme poverty and other development challenges within a generation.” 

Two new reports, the Bangladesh Development Update and Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality, find that Bangladesh is making sustained progress in poverty reduction and increasing opportunities. However, the country is currently the 64th poorest out of the 154 countries included in the World Bank’s global poverty database and much remains to be done. The Bangladesh Development Update stresses increasing resilience to security, financial, and trade shocks along with weaker than expected global trade and growth.

To move to the next level and realize its goals of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and overcoming extreme poverty by 2030, the country needs to sustain its economic and remittance growth, create more and better jobs, focus on energy and transportation infrastructure, and make progress on improving the investment climate and the quality of health and education.

“Bangladesh needs to continue creating enough jobs to employ the 2 million young people who enter the job market every year. This requires boosting productivity and foreign and domestic investment by reforming business regulations, reducing infrastructure and energy deficiencies, while enhancing financial efficiency,” said Zahid Hussain, Lead Economist and Author of the Bangladesh Development Update. “The country could also increase its resources to make much-needed investments and become a leader in environmentally sustainable development through a well designed and implemented carbon tax.”

Going forward, the World Bank remains committed in continuing to help Bangladesh achieve its development goals. Having provided over $19 billion in support since 1972 to advance the country’s development priorities, Bangladesh is currently the largest recipient of credits from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The continued partnership will help Bangladesh build on its successes and boost shared prosperity to overcome extreme poverty.