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We can beat poverty

  • Published at 11:24 pm December 18th, 2019
Poor
Photo: SYED LATIF HOSSAIN

The path out of poverty lies in tackling unemployment

That Bangladesh has come a long, long way since its days of famine and abject poverty is an incontrovertible truth.

With a rising middle class that is now able to afford products and services that, even a decade ago, were considered luxuries, our economy is better than it has ever been, with money in people’s pockets.

Of course, a great knock-on effect of a rising economy is a steadily declining poverty rate. According to projections made by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the poverty rate has declined to 20% in June of this year from 21.8% in the same month last year. Additionally, the rate of extreme poverty fell from 11.3% to 10.5% within the same time period.

According to the Planning Ministry, the biggest reason behind poverty rates plummeting so fast was the contribution made by labourers and farmers throughout the country. And it makes sense. Historically, it has been proven that the path out of poverty lies in tackling unemployment.

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

Creating more jobs throughout the various spheres of the economic ladder is key.

One of the more notable initiatives that the government has made, to that end, is the establishment of 100 special economic zones throughout the country, which is geared to create some 10 million jobs.

Sliding poverty rates are indeed a great sign of a healthy and happy nation, but they are often the result of the economy improving organically rather than though concerted efforts to tackle the issue of poverty. In order to do that, we need to pay attention to key issues such as climate change, natural disasters, public health, and improving our rural infrastructure.