The economy of Bangladesh has never been healthier.
For the first time in the nation’s history, we have exceeded a 7% growth rate, overshooting the provisional estimate as well as the World Bank’s forecast.
This is no small achievement, considering that earlier, the World Bank would not even include Bangladesh in its economic development report, as it was considered a minor economy.
Breaking the 7% barrier is a significant milestone for Bangladesh. It should be a cause for celebration, but not for complacency.
This is a new era in GDP growth, but there is much work to do yet.
A series of deals recently signed with China means that Bangladesh is now positioned to tap into the vast Chinese market -- we should not waste this opportunity. Furthermore, Bangladesh’s location gives it a unique advantage in benefitting from the growing markets of both South Asia and Southeast Asia.
To truly unlock the economy’s potential though, Bangladesh must ease up on the various restrictions that make it difficult to do business in the country, and sometimes keep potential foreign investors at bay.
The higher than expected growth rate has been achieved partly because opposition thugs are no longer able to enforce hartals or blockades. These destructive forms of protest crippled our economy in the past. We hope that the politics of hartal are now gone for good.
Millions of young workers enter the work force every year. It should be a priority to cash in on the demographic dividend -- speeding up the creation of high value jobs, and investing in our youth are key.
Improving infrastructure, cutting out red tape, and providing political stability -- all would go a long way in freeing up the entrepreneurial instincts of our people.
Let us make every effort to nurture and maintain the high economic growth we are now experiencing, to build a better future for all citizens of this nation.