Bangladesh to leave LDC status in a decade

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Bangladesh to leave LDC status in a decade
Says Debapriya ahead of Istanbul summit

Debapriya Bhattacharya

Star Business Report

Bangladesh has the capacity to come out of the LDC (least developed country) status in a decade, a leading economist said yesterday.

“It is possible for Bangladesh to come out of the LDC club by 10 years, riding on the country’s strength in human assets and risks mitigation capacity,” said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Dialogue (CPD).

Dr Toufiq Ali, a former ambassador, however, said Bangladesh has to go a long way to make it happen.

“There are many challenges for Bangladesh. Concrete measures need to be taken to address those,” said Ali, now the chief executive of Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre.

They made the observations at a discussion co-organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) and Oxfam GB at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity auditorium. DCAB President Raheed Ejaj chaired the dialogue.

DCAB arranged the discussion ahead of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDC to take place on May 9-13 in Istanbul, Turkey. The purpose of the conference is to assess the results of the 10-year action plan for the LDCs adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs in Brussels, Belgium, in 2001.

The summit is also expected to adopt new measures and strategies for sustainable development of the LDCs in the next decade.

Bhattacharya opposed the 10-year action plan, saying that the global situations change a lot in 10 years. He said experts could not forecast on the recession even three months before it happened, but action plans are taken in the purview of 10 years.

He said it would be relevant for the prime minister to tell the summit that her country is ready to take the challenges of coming out of the LDC list in 10 years provided that she gets supports like resources, remittance and technology transfer.

The economist was upbeat on Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing country, linking it to the effectiveness of improving the human resources and risks. He pointed out that Bangladesh’s economy and human assets will be a good support in coming out of the poor-country club.

Fulfilling two criteria out of three — income, human resources and risks — can take Bangladesh off the list, said Bhattacharya, also a former ambassador in the World Trade Organisation.

He said increasing the national income to the threshold middle-income level would be tough for Bangladesh. So the country should go for achieving it by managing its human resources and risks.

Bhattacharya said Bangladesh has already progressed in the risk management capacity. He, however, said global climate change will be a concern for the country, as this change will enhance economic vulnerability or risks

The LDCs category was established in 1971, and since then, only two countries — Botswana in 1994 and Cape Verde in 2007 — have graduated to developing nations. The Maldives is expected to leave the LDC list this year.

Now the number of LDCs is 49.

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