Poverty in urban areas is a big challenge for Bangladesh towards achieving middle-income nation status and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), say economists and researchers at an international conference yesterday.
“Urban poverty is a big challenge in the way of achieving the status of middle income country as 34% of urban people are poor,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) at the “International Conference on Urban Poverty: Challenges of Perspectives and Action” held at LGED auditorium in Dhaka yesterday.
He said: “Bangladesh is witnessing rapid urbanisation with big challenges with different characteristics. If we can mainstreaming the challenges with cooperation from all corner, it would help to attain middle income country status.”
Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud, a noted economist, said poverty is spilling over from rural to urban areas due to migration, natural disasters and river erosion.
He said in some of the non-income aspects, there are extreme and worst forms of human deprivation in terms of education, health and sanitation in urban areas needed to be addressed.
Prof Mahmud said if Bangladesh wants to achieve the SDGs, it will have to look into the urban poverty. He suggested social safety for the rural people, so that they can enjoy the facilities of urbanisation.
Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal attended the event through a video conference. “The city cannot bear the flow of so many migrant people. That is why we are working to provide facilities to the rural areas,” he said.
“We have have to ensure better education, health and job opportunity so the people do not need to come to the cities.”
The conference will conclude today. A book “The Urban Spectrum: Metropolitan to Mofussil”, edited by Hossain Zillur Rahman, was launched on the opening day.
The book states that the urbanisation is a compelling and growing reality, and predicted that urban population in Bangladesh will rise to between 91m and 102m by 2050, which will be 44% of total population.
According to the research findings, the average monthly income for the lowest income class across the urban spectrum is below Tk8,000. The lower middle class’s monthly income - between Tk10,000 and 25,000 - constitutes the majority of the population in all urban centres: 47% in Dhaka, 56% in Chittagong and 49% in pourashavas.
The findings showed that monthly income of 7.8% of Chittagong City Corporation area people is below Tk10,000. The below Tk10,000 income group is 28% in pourashavas and 11.3% in Dhaka. The lowest monthly average income is Tk7,444 in Dhaka, Tk8,027 in Chittagong and Tk7,717 in pourashavas.
The research was conducted at six city corporation areas including Dhaka and Chittagong and 14 pourashavas in 2016. The information on Dhaka City corporation is basd on 2012.