Bangladesh lifting vulnerable populations from poverty trap: Sajeeb Wazed

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Published on June 27, 2022
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Prime Minister's ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has said Bangladesh is now lifting its vulnerable population from a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty trap.

"Lack of resources, not lack of will or talent, prevent the poor from improving their circumstances. In Bangladesh, as elsewhere, the very poor get caught in a self-perpetuating cycle," Joy said in a write up published in Foreign Policy News on June 20.

"But that can change and, in Bangladesh, it has. The South Asian nation is lifting vulnerable populations from their poverty trap."

Stressing that providing housing to the poor is one of its most effective actions, Joy said Bangladesh government has handed over homes to more than 150,000 homeless and displaced families, including 30,000 homes by the end of this year, since it began the Ashrayan Project in 1997.

Over 298,000 families have been benefitted by the assistance they received through the Ashrayan Project over the years, he revealed, adding that the project has changed the lives of millions.

The PM's ICT Adviser also stressed that the project has helped the country break from the male-dominated traditions of the past and has empowered women.

"Women now have the same property rights as men. Ashrayan resources, including land, are jointly owned by husband and wife. Thanks to these property rights, women have been able to attain economic security and independence," he said.

Joy also noted the significant drop in Bangladesh's poverty rate and extreme poverty rate in the last two decades.

The World Bank recently praised Bangladesh's "remarkable progress in economic development," and described it as a "model for poverty reduction", he said.

"Between 2009 and 2020, Bangladesh's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita rose from $710 to $2,064. HSBC Bank recently predicted that Bangladesh would be the 26th-largest economy in the world by 2030 due in large part to its sustained GDP growth of roughly 6 percent during the last twenty years," Joy said.

Joy also stressed that Bangladesh is strengthening physical infrastructure and online connectivity to connect the disparate rural regions.

The Padma Bridge, a government-funded mega-project connecting entire regions of the country, will boost Bangladesh's GDP by an additional as much as 2 percentage points, he said.

Joy also noted development of metro-rail system and elevated expressways to reduce traffic and improve commuting time.

He also stressed that Bangladesh is no longer just a source of apparel and textiles but has been successfully diversifying its economy.

Joy noted that Bangladesh has made remarkable turnaround for a country once the West referred to as a "basket case."

Bangladesh's per capita income has trebled in a single decade to $2,227 in fiscal 2021, while foreign currency reserves have reached an all-time high of $48 billion, as the country is on track to graduate from the United Nations' list of least developed countries by 2026, he said.

The story of Bangladesh's success can be repeated in other countries as well, he added.