UN recommendation for Bangladesh’s LDC exit is a 'historic' moment: Hasina

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-02-27 16:12:29 BdST

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has hailed the emergence of Bangladesh from a least developed country to a developing one as a 'historic achievement' at a time when the nation is gearing up to mark the 50th year of its independence.

Hasina was speaking at a media briefing on Saturday after receiving the final recommendation from the UN Committee for Development Policy on its graduation from the LDC category.

"Yesterday, Bangladesh received the final recommendation from the United Nations to move from a least developed country to a developing country. We are fully qualified to be promoted to the rank of developing countries," she said.

"This is a matter of great joy and pride for the entire nation. It comes at a time when we are celebrating the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengali of all time, and are on the verge of celebrating the golden jubilee of independence."

The prime minister dedicated the achievement to the next generation of Bangladeshis who will "take the country further and transform it into a developed and prosperous nation”.

"This achievement belongs to the common people of this country. We have achieved this milestone through the combined efforts of all. At this auspicious moment, I extend my sincere congratulations to all the citizens of Bangladesh, both at home and abroad," said Hasina.

The Awami League chief reiterated the government's commitment to realising Bangabandhu's vision of building a non-communal Bangladesh, free from poverty, hunger and illiteracy.

"We continue to work for the people. The transition from a least developed country to a developing country is the result of our relentless planning, hard work and effort over the past 12 years. The people of the country have done all this. We have created opportunities through policy support from the government."

Hasina also highlighted the socio-economic progress made by the country over the last decade.

"Today, the benefits of 'Digital Bangladesh' initiative in the development of Bangladesh have expanded from urban to the village level. Broadband facilities have been extended to remote villages. The 'Bangabandhu Satellite' also heralded a revolutionary change in the IT sector."

Hasina believes the transition from a least developed country to a developing country will boost Bangladesh's credibility and image in the world stage.

"We need to consolidate and sustain this achievement. This is a special step for us to achieve the goals of sustainable development by 2030, to become a high-income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041," she said.

"We have already adopted the eighth Five Year Plan. It incorporates various strategies aimed at a sustainable transition. Several mega projects, including Padma Bridge, Metro Rail, Elevated Expressway, tunnel under Karnafuli River, Rooppur Nuclear Power Project, Maheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Development Project, have been implemented. Many of these will be launched either this year or early next year."

With the final recommendation from the UN panel, Bangladesh received a five-year transition period. That means Bangladesh will formally graduate to the developing nation category in 2026.

Bangladesh has been on the UN's LDC list since 1975. According to the UN, a country is eligible to graduate from the LDC category if it has a gross national income (GNI) per capita of $1,230 or above for three years, a Human Assets Index (HAI) of 66 or above and an Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) of 32 or below. Graduation requires fulfilling these criteria in two consecutive tri-annual reviews.

Bangladesh satisfied all the necessary conditions for the first time in 2018 and has continued to meet the mark ever since. The South Asian nation is now set to rank among developing countries along with Nepal and Lao DPR.

The South Asian nation's GNI per capita was $ 1,827 in 2020. The HAI is 75.3, while the EVI is 25.2.

According to the CDP provisions, a country can get between three and five years to make preparations after the recommendation is made.

To make the step up to the 'developing nation' bracket sustainable amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has sought the facilities reserved for LDCs during its five-year preparatory period.

After the formal graduation, Bangladesh will lose the benefits for LDCs, such as soft loans and export facilities. It can, however, enjoy those benefits during the five-year preparatory period.

Under the current rules, Bangladesh will enjoy duty-free access to the European Union for three more years after 2026.