Dhaka, Mar 25: UN assistant secretary general Haoliang Xu on Sunday suggested Bangladesh to work together to escape the middle-income trap it faces by focusing on necessary structural transformation, innovation, increasing productivity, improving governance and lowering inequality.“This is a significant achievement. And definitely Bangladesh is on the right track to address the challenges ahead,” he told a small group of journalists.
The UN official, however, said there is still much to be done as Bangladesh is embarking on a new chapter in its development with the expectations of continued strong economic growth.
Xu, also a UNDP assistant administrator, laid emphasis on addressing challenges related to inequality, climate change, urbanisation, job creation, technological advancement and economic diversification.
The UN official said he has every confidence that Bangladesh will be able to make the current achievements sustainable and become a developing country officially.
He said though Bangladesh will lose some benefits as an LDC country after graduation, there are lots of benefits that Bangladesh can enjoy after formal graduation. “You have many years to get prepared.”
Xu said successful graduation from LDC means Bangladesh is giving a strong message that Bangladesh is the right place for investment.
Responding to a question, the UN official said they feel proud that they have been able to support Bangladesh in its development journey and their role in the future will be considered as a technical partner.
Xu said they can share best practices from other countries to help Bangladesh achieve its future goals.
He said Bangladesh has reached a significant milestone in meeting all the criteria for graduating from the Least Developed Country status.
“Based on current estimates and with sustained progress, it’ll graduate in 2024,” said the UN Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific.
“We need to continue to work together with the government and other partners for a smooth transition to graduation and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” Xu added.
The government of Bangladesh invited UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner to participate in a series of celebratory events around its prospective graduation from Least Developed Country status. Representing Steiner, Xu visited Bangladesh from March 22-25.
He attended the LDC Graduation ceremony earlier this week, honoring Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and read out a message from Administrator Steiner.
Xu also participated in a workshop titled ‘Bangladesh Graduation from LDC Status: Opportunities and Way Forward’ organised by the Economic Relations Division with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair.
Other speakers at these events included United Nations Under Secretary-General Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utokamanu, Secretary-General’s High Representative for LDCs, Land-locked Development Countries and SIDS.
Xu also visited Teknaf to witness the firsthand situation at the Rohingya refugee camp and learn more about the impact of the situation on the local community.
Xu commended the government of Bangladesh as well as the local community for sheltering the large influx of Rohingyas.
He said UNDP was ready to support the host community along with the government and other partners to deal with the social, economic and environmental impact of the humanitarian crisis.
Responding to a question, Xu said Bangladesh will have a burden due to the Rohingya crisis but it will be limited.
He said the international community is doing its best to support Bangladesh finally though Bangladesh itself also investing a lot.
Asked whether the Rohingya crisis will have negative impact on Bangladesh’s formal graduation, he said, “My intuition is that it won’t.”