The latest forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) titled “Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update” states that Bangladesh’s economy could grow by eight percent. If that became reality, then it would be the fastest growing economy in Asia. ADB analysts believe that this growth is being propelled by “buoyant exports, robust private consumption, higher remittance, accommodative monetary policy and ongoing reform to improve business climate and high infrastructure spending”.
In order to steer Bangladesh to the next level of growth, private investment has to be reinvigorated from its present stagnant state. This requires ensuring basic elements such as good governance, transparent financial system, pool of skilled manpower, human capital, incentives, etc. that encourage investors to put money into the economy. Again, when we talk about foreign investment, our score in indices like ease of doing business discourage potential foreign business entities from setting up projects here.
While the latest news is more on the positive side, we have continually been highlighting the issue of inclusive growth. The rich-poor divide has been growing over the past decade and the fruits of the GDP growth have not trickled down to the masses. In fact, Bangladeshi economists have pointed out that much of this growth has been “jobless”. Growth for the sake of growth is pointless in such a densely-populated country like ours; every year, millions of young people pass out of colleges and universities with advanced degrees but remain unemployed. Boosting private-sector investment can reverse this bleak scenario and make this growth more meaningful.