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The path out of poverty

  • Published at 12:04 am October 9th, 2019
Poverty
Photo: SYED LATIF HOSSAIN

It is good to see the government take the initiative for the creation of some 10 million jobs

Bangladesh has come a long way from the days of being associated with poverty and famines -- we are now a nation of great economic vitality, with admirable growth numbers and a dynamic exporting sector.

Nevertheless, we must be realistic about the fight against poverty, while acknowledging the great progress that has been made so far.

According to a World Bank report, in the six years from 2010 to 2016, some 8 million people were lifted out of poverty; 90% of this poverty reduction and improvement in living standards happening in rural areas, driven by higher labour incomes.

But the challenge of poverty alleviation is a complex one, and it is estimated that 54% of this demographic is at risk of falling back into poverty.

The fight needs to be stepped up in that case, particularly in urban areas, where half of the country’s poor population is projected to live by the year 2030.

This will involve widespread job creation, because even though our economy has grown consistently, much of that growth has been jobless, and so unemployment has continued to be a major problem.

To that end, it is good to see the government take the initiative for the creation of some 10 million jobs across the country through the establishment of 100 special economic zones.

A myriad of issues, however, need to be addressed, to ensure that people do not slip back into poverty: This means paying attention to climate change, natural disasters, public health, and urban infrastructure.