It is a great honour to know that Bangladesh has become eligible to graduate and ascend from the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to a developing nation. It is indeed a great achievement for an emerging nation, and this long-cherished success must be maintained consistently. We feel proud and privileged to move one step ahead.
Now we have to carry on with consistent hard work to success in the stipulated time.
Hence, there is a pressing need for all bodies of concern to figure out all the associated challenges and work together to maintain this accolade.
There are many questions to be answered concerning our graduation on time. Being eligible for graduation, if we cannot accomplish it by the estimated time-frame, it will be quite objectionable. The path to glory is not going to be smooth sailing, rather a course riddled with challenges.
Certain challenges, currently, are a threat to the sustainability of this remarkable achievement -- for instance economic sustainability, social sustainability, and environmental sustainability, and good governance are all areas that demand our attention.
To be a developing nation, economic sustainability is strongly challenged by financial corruption, inequality, gender discrimination, high inflation, low labour participation, non-tariff barriers, poor infrastructure, population growth, poverty (particularly women’s poverty), business index, taxation, and unemployment.
Another important element of a developing nation is social sustainability, which is quivering due to a lack of quality education, a lack of health care facilities, weak institutions, politicization of everything, and moral decline. It is clear that, without the development of human capital, being a developing nation makes no sense.
This is due to the fact that the education and health sectors are neglected in various ways. Indeed, quality education guarantees quality citizens, which also promises an uptick in the level of morality among citizens.
Quality education guarantees quality citizens, which also promises an uptick in the level of morality among citizens
And therefore, the primary concern should be the quality of education, not merely the quantity.
Education should contribute to the innovation and technological advancement of a country. A significant number of people, particularly the children and the elderly, are constantly deprived of proper treatment, adequate nutrition, and intensive care -- all these are absolutely crucial to the sound “mental” growth of a country.
This has led to enormous moral degradation; the young generation is now on the brink of destruction. As their moral values fall apart, the decadence of the nation increases to a great extent. We are foolish to think that this does not affect all aspects of the country’s development.
In this regard, it is imperative that all decision-makers, guardians, politicians, as well as conscientious individuals wake up to the crying need of the hour.
They all need to address the problem of the quality of human development before it is too late.
And what about the state?
Institutional development is the biggest challenge for national development -- for instance, political corruption and the lack of coordination between executive, legislative, and judicial systems need to be addressed and resolved.
Lately, several schools of thoughts in economics and business have come to understand that institutions are rather important for sustainable development. Without achieving economic freedom, good governance, judicial credibility, efficiency, and transparency, it is impossible to be a developed nation. These factors are considered as important and interdependent elements of a developing nation.
Good governance, in particular, is the key to institutional and national development. It will ensure the freedom of speech, political stability, and prevent violence of all forms. It also will ensure government effectiveness, rule of law, and an end to corruption. However, the results show that Bangladesh lags behind most of its South Asian counterparts in the case of a few specific indicators.
Protect the environment
Last but not least, environmental sustainability is another challenge for Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the second worst country in the world in regards to environmental pollution. We are the most vulnerable nation to climate change in the world.
Although, a global problem, Bangladesh is a unique case, in that it faces enormous impacts from climate change -- floods, cyclones, and other frequent environmental threats.
Apart from these prevailing environmental issues, there are numerous other concerns such as water shortage, electricity crisis, poor urban planning, poor sanitation, and improper drainage system.
These are the main obstacles on the road ahead.
To continue this breakthrough, politicians, policy-makers, regulators, civil society, conscientious people, the judiciary, and all stakeholders should come forward, and work together.
Muhammad Mehedi Masud is Assistant Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Malaya.