The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has approved a resolution to allow Bangladesh for graduation to the developing country grouping from the least developed country (LDC) category.
Experts said this is a remarkable landmark in the development journey of Bangladesh.
After graduation to the higher status the country will no longer enjoy the existing duty-free and quota-free facilities. We will need to address this problem and other challenges and require diversification of export and try to get better prices by improving the quality of export products, experts added.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “This is a recognition of the incredible socioeconomic progress that has been attained under the prudent leadership of the honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over the years.”
He mentioned that this success had been achieved thanks to the Prime Minister’s vision to fulfil the dream of the Greatest Bengali of all time, the Father of the Nation and the architect of independent Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“This is an international recognition of the indomitable progress achieved by Bangladesh under the direction of the Honorable Prime Minister. People from all walks of life of this country have contributed to this historic success”, he said.
AB Mirza Azizul Islam, economist and financial adviser to a former caretaker government, said, “Now it is one more step ahead to become developing country. But now we will face some challenges. One is in the case of trade.”
In particular, the EU's duty-free and quota-free facilities will no longer exist, he mentioned.
So, the European Union has a GSP plus system for developing countries, we have to try for that, he said adding that, although there are several conditions such as labor rights, workplace safety, and so on, we have to keep that in mind.
“However, there is still time for five years. It remains to be seen whether we can get more time here. These challenges need to be addressed. This requires diversification of exports. We have to try to get better prices by improving the quality of export products,” Islam mentioned.
Now we have to try to face the challenges that will come, he added.
However, earlier, the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations recommended Bangladesh for LDC Graduation during its triennial review meeting held on 26th February this year.
CDP also recommended providing an extended preparatory period of five years for Bangladesh spanning from the year 2021 to 2026.
The recommendation had been duly endorsed by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations on 08 June 2021.
Bangladesh is the only country that has been recommended for graduation from LDC by fulfilling all three criteria set by the United Nations.
This achievement will further brighten the overseas image of the country and accelerate the ongoing development pace.
Bangladesh has been recommended for graduation at a time when the whole country is celebrating fifty years of its independence as well as the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
As per the rules of CDP, a country can enjoy a three to five years long preparatory period after being recommended for graduation. Since Bangladesh has received a five-year preparatory period for graduation as per the recommendations of CDP, the country will formally graduate from the LDC status in 2026.
During this preparatory period, Bangladesh would be entitled to enjoy all the international support measures reserved for LDCs. In addition, as per the existing provisions, the country would also remain eligible to enjoy duty free/ quota free access in the European Union market for three more years lasting until the year 2029.
With a view to continuing the international support measures received as an LDC in the aftermath of graduation as well as to ensure a smooth and sustainable graduation-- the government is taking various policy measures under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office, in partnership with private sector and development partners.
Earlier by the end of February this year, Bangladesh became qualified to graduate into a developing nation from an LDC and United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UN CDP) recommended the graduation of Bangladesh.
However, Bangladesh is scheduled to officially become a developing country in 2026 as the UN committee recommended that the country should get five years, instead of three, to prepare for the transition due to the impact of the Covid-19 on its economy.
The country has met, for the second time, all the three eligibility criteria for the graduation involving per capita income, human assets index (HAI), and economic and environmental vulnerability index (EVI).
The UN CDP in its second triennial review assessed the economy of Bangladesh and found a strong fulfillment of all three conditions required for the graduation.
Bangladesh was well ahead in the gross national income (GNI) criterion: its per capita income was $1,827 in 2019 against the threshold of $1,222.
In the HAI criterion, the country's score stood at 75.4 points, well above the requirement of 66. In the EVI, a country's score has to be less than 32. Bangladesh's score was 27.3.