When Bangladesh was included in the Least Developed Country (LDC) group in 1975—at a time when the country and its economy was still recovering from the devastating Liberation War and the genocide that was committed against its people, and was about to fall into the clasps of one military dictatorship after the other—83 percent of the population was living in poverty. By 1982, this figure still stood at a formidable 74 percent. However, by 2019, the poverty rate in Bangladesh had fallen to 20.5 percent.
On Friday, this same country was given the green light by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy to graduate into a developing nation from an LDC after confidently meeting the eligibility criteria in terms of income per capita, human assets index (HAI), and economic and environmental vulnerability index (EVI). This is nothing short of a momentous occasion for us as a nation—a vindication of our pledges from the Liberation War while we prepare to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence next month—and we extend our heartiest congratulations to the prime minister and the government of Bangladesh for this achievement.
As the PM herself said at her most recent virtual press conference, it is the people of this country who have made this possible. From the farmers who have toiled on our fields to ensure that the country's food requirements are met to the migrant workers who have propped up our economy with their remittances, and all other labourers, workers and businesses, big and small, who have contributed to bringing us this far in our journey as a nation—this victory belongs to them all. As of now, Bangladesh is scheduled to officially become a developing country by 2026, which gives us five years to prepare for the transition and deal with the impacts of Covid-19 on our economy. Going forward, we must also have concrete economic policies in place for when we lose the trade benefits that we are currently enjoying. We have full confidence that with good governance and efficient planning and its characteristic resilience, Bangladesh can continue this positive trend and become a higher middle-income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041.