Bangladesh has finally graduated from the least developed countries (LDC) category this year and embarked on the journey of becoming a developing economy.
On 24 November, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on allowing Bangladesh to graduate into the developing country level during the 40th plenary meeting of its 76th session following a recommendation of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP).
The country is set to leave this category after five years in 2026, and prepare for the transition in the meantime due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact on the economy.
Alongside Bangladesh, two other countries — Nepal and the Lao People's Democratic Republic — also got the clearance this year.
Since the creation of the LDC category in 1971, only six countries have managed to leave it. In recent years, the trend towards graduation has accelerated.
Some 16 countries now formally meet the LDC graduation criteria. Among those, Angola, Bhutan, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Solomon Islands are already scheduled to leave the category by 2024.
Kiribati and Tuvalu have also been recommended for graduation by the CDP and endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc).
Earlier in February, Bangladesh received the endorsement of the CDP regarding its final timeline for exiting the LDC group.
However, the notion behind LDC graduation first materialised around 2016.
During 12-16 March 2016, it was decided that Bangladesh would be removed from the LDC list, at the CDP's triennial review meeting in New York.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed the graduation from LDC as a "milestone" in the country's journey towards development.
In a parliamentary session on 28 November, Sheikh Hasina said that LDC graduation as a developing country will immensely help the campaign of branding Bangladesh in the world.
She also remarked that many alternative opportunities would be created for Bangladesh as a developing country once LDC graduation is underway.
Bangladesh, on the occasion of this beaming achievement, is staring at the revocation of LDC category-specific preferences and privileges.
Bangladesh currently enjoys the World Trade Organisation's Duty-Free Trade Facility (GSP), especially in European countries, for being an LDC.
The LDC group, including Bangladesh, has been lobbying for the continuation of all support measures, including unilateral trade preferences, for 12 years even after graduation.
Meanwhile, WTO postponed its first ministerial meeting in four years in November this year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus variant omicron.
Several committees under the Prime Minister's Office are working to identify and address the challenges likely to be induced by the LDC graduation.
In addition, the government has undertaken the "Support to Sustainable Graduation" project involving a cost of Tk134 crore to conduct various research concerning graduation.