AS per a report published by ESCAP titled 'Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2015', Bangladesh is ahead of both India and Pakistan in terms of inclusive growth. Bangladesh being one of the more densely populated nations in South Asia, which may be a plus or a minus point, depending on how we utilise this largely young population. Although many other nations in the survey are dependent heavily on foreign trade, the case of Bangladesh like many South Asian nations is more insulated i.e. domestic consumption plays a big role in the economy. This has helped it weather the big shocks that came with the global financial downturn in 2008.
The report highlights that unemployment is relatively low in the country. Yet, we have not been able to achieve higher growth due to structural weaknesses like infrastructure bottlenecks, particularly in energy and power and lower productivity. More attention needs to be paid to development policies that focus on narrowing the income gap and increasing and equal opportunities for the educated youth. The report points out that higher growth cannot come if the rural populace is sidelined in the development process; a revision is required to contain the huge subsidy trap, investing in education and raising government investments to improve general healthcare.
The country has excelled in the South Asian perspective primarily because of policy interventions in reducing poverty and improving food security. Serious challenges lie ahead and it will not be possible to meet all goals, but sustainable development can only succeed if growth is made more inclusive.