Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact in 2022

Bangladesh will have to deal with foreign exchange rate, inflation and interest rate, says an expert

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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will continue to significantly impact Bangladesh throughout the year of 2022, experts told a roundtable on Sunday.

The effects will be felt on many aspects of life, but the economy will be at the forefront, they said, adding that Bangladesh must be prepared to face the challenges forecasted by the global trends for this year.

As part of a series of discussions on important national and international issues, Dhaka Tribune and the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) jointly organized the roundtable titled “Global Trends 2022”at a hotel in the capital.


Panelists at the roundtable titled “Global Trends 2022” at a hotel Dhaka on Sunday, January 30, 2022 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan and BIPSS President Major General (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman moderated the roundtable, attended by academia, local and foreign diplomats, former and serving government officials, journalists and university students.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, member of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPB) board of trustees and distinguished fellow, talked about trade and economic trends; Dr Lailufar Yasmin, professor of international relations at Dhaka University, spoke about strategic and geopolitical trends while Shafqat Munir, research fellow of BIPSS shed light on security and technology trends.

“One of the major challenges of 2022 will be the pandemic and vaccination,” Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said, initiating his talk.


Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Projecting the disparity with respect to vaccination between the developed world and the remaining countries, he said it was to be seen if the gap would be reduced in 2022.

The global growth would not be as perceived, he warned.

Dr Bhattacharya described Bangladesh’s economy as a globalized one with 60-70% linked to global economy, saying: “Bangladesh is already feeling the pressure with lower exports and higher imports.”

Bangladesh would have to deal with foreign exchange rate, inflation and interest rate, he said.

The economist cautioned that the government might have to adjust the interest rate upward.

Macroeconomic of the country is on “autopilot” and Bangladesh needs to be vigilant to address the issue, he said, adding that the country would have to be careful about debts.

BIPSS President Gen Muniruzzaman said: “Global trends indicate the critical issues and scenarios that paved the way for international events that shape the rest of the year and beyond. We live in an interconnected world, so a scenario anywhere is a scenario everywhere, what happens in metro capitals in the world has a direct impact on critical issues of policy in all states including Bangladesh.”

Therefore, he said: “It is extremely important for us to understand what is going to drive 2022. We identified some critical issues regarding trade, economy, security, technology, geopolitics and strategy. In a scenario of uneven economic recovery there could be several economic shots that countries including Bangladesh can face in the coming year.”

“All the trends we are trying to understand and analyze not only have consequences but they have second and third tier consequences. So, we need a holistic understanding of all the forces that are being played here.”

“We can really not hope for 2022 in isolation,” Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan said.


Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

“This is really the start of a new way of doing things. May we come along in the next horizon of 7 to 8 years to see where we are? I think a lot of the trends are only becoming apparent this year,” he said.

Prof Yasmin predicted that the size of the world economy would be shrunk by 2.3% in 2023.

She also laid emphasis on issues like environment, global governance, vaccine nationalism and vaccine hesitancy.

BIPSS research fellow Munir detailed the ongoing and potential conflicts worldwide and said that in the globalised world, conflicts would have implications for all including Bangladesh.

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