Bangladesh has an impressive track record for growth and development, aspiring to be a middle-income country by its 50th birthday. The World Bank has supported Bangladesh since 1972, providing more than $15 billion in support.
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Bangladesh has marked considerable
progress since independence in 1971 despite its dire initial
conditions. Real per capita income is about 60percent higher
now than... Show More + in 1971. The share of population in poverty
currently stands at about 50 percent, compared with over 70
percent in the early 1970s. Even more impressive has been
the progress in improving the social and human dimensions of
poverty. Bangladesh's faster gains in human development
than in income growth result from public policies that have
complemented the remarkable energy at the grassroots level.
This energy was effectively channeled by the country's
nongovernmental organizations and community-based
organizations, many of which are world leaders in their
innovative ideas and operational methods. Many challenges
remain to be addressed, however, especially in the area of
institutions. Remaining gaps in policies and weak
institutions have impeded a faster pace of development.
Inadequate improvement in governance has particularly
constrained the investment climate and greatly diminished
the state's ability to deliver basic social services,
especially to the poor. The situation requires urgent action
on the bold reform agenda adopted by the new government in
the context of its Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
(I-PRSP) in 2003. The authorities need to accelerate the
pace of structural reforms-particularly in the areas of
infrastructure (physical and financial), macroeconomic
management, and overall governance-to improve the investment
climate and strengthen social inclusion and participation.
Unless this is done, Bangladesh will not be able to achieve
the goals laid down in the I-PRSP; indeed, the gains already
achieved risk being eroded. Show Less -