Political stability has been the key driver to Bangladesh's economic success, said Prime Minister's private industry and investment adviser Salman F Rahman at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"The real growth of Bangladesh has taken place for the last 14 to 15 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Political stability has been the primary key to Bangladesh's economic success story", said Rahman.
While explaining the other keys to economic success, he elaborated on an example and said, "Take the electricity crisis; when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initially took the power 14 years ago, the country was grappling with suffocating power outages. Electricity generation was only 4,000 megawatts at the time; currently, it is about 25,000 megawatts. Bangladesh now has power in every household. However, we now create more electricity than we require at night and are on the verge of eliminating all sorts of power shortages."
"Our garment industry is another key to our prosperity. We began with garments and later added backward linkages to the garment sector. We now have vertically integrated businesses. We started with a cotton bale and ended up with a shirt. As a result, the textile industry received a significant amount of funding. This industry grew primarily due to domestic investment, but there was also some foreign direct investment (FDI)", he added.
"Bangladesh is a densely populated country, with a population of 170 million people, but we are now food grain self-sufficient. In truth, domestic food grain production is sufficient to meet domestic demand while also providing a surplus. Rice, vegetables, and fish are our fourth and third greatest exports, respectively," Rahman explained.
He said that Bangladesh has been a role model for moving people out of poverty thanks to continued economic progress.
"Because the government has identified ICT as one of the primary drivers of growth, it offers huge potential for Bangladesh to establish a competitive position in the global market. We were successful during the pandemic because of digital Bangladesh, and we led the fiber optic backbone up to the village level. The notion of "Digital Bangladesh" has transformed the country into a significant center for ICT-driven export industries and digital services. We've been offering 4G connections at a moderate cost with excellent connectivity, "he explained.
Moreover, he said, "We have roughly 6,50,000 freelancers who can access the international marketplace from their local towns. Women's empowerment has been another essential to the garment industry's success story, with women working and propelling the economy ahead. State organizations and private firms both played important roles and responsibilities in assisting the country's economic activities."
Expressing the integration of regional cooperation, he said, "We are doing regional cooperation between Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Bhutan. We have power-sharing agreements with India; we are seriously now developing hydro-power in Nepal. If we really lessen the political differences and integrate the region, South Asia has an enormous potential hotspot of economic growth."
When asked, what are steps or initiatives need to be taken for regional integration among South Asian countries, he said, the dispute between India and Pakistan has to be resolved, otherwise integration within South Asia will not be possible.
Haslinda Amin, chief international correspondent, South-East Asia, Bloomberg News, was the host of the discussion.
The other speakers were, Hina Rabbani Khar, state minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Rajan Anandan, managing director of Sequoia Capital India LLP, and Hari S Bhartia, founder and co-chairman, Jubilant Bhartia Group.