Extend preferential market access for graduating LDCs for at least 6 years: PM to dev partners


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today placed a five-point recommendation, including at least six-year extension of preferential market access for Bangladesh and other graduating least developed countries (LDCs), before development partners.


“I wish to make five suggestions for our development partners: first, extend preferential market access for graduating LDCs like Bangladesh for at least six years, and support their trade facilitation and capacity building, including through aid-for-trade,” she said.


The premier was addressing an event, titled “Global Partnership for Smooth and Sustainable Graduation: Marching Towards Smart Bangladesh”, held on the sidelines of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-5) at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) in Doha.


The other suggestions she placed include (second) enhancing FDI flow in graduating LDCs through incentives to the private sector, and updating mutually beneficial investment protection agreements; (third) promoting sustainable industrial growth in graduating LDCs, including by way of supporting their private sector for efficient resource management, to improve industrial relations, and through fair pricing.


The remaining recommendations are: (fourth) developing innovative financing mechanisms so that the cost of borrowing remains sustainable for graduating LDCs during their transition phase; and (fifth) financing viable physical and digital infrastructure projects in graduating LDCs and supporting their continued investment in human capital formation and institutional reforms.


“In the course of our graduation, we know where we want to go and how to get there. Our government will not allow Bangladesh to slide back. In order to graduate with confidence, we need support from our friends in the international community,” said the PM.


She said Bangladesh’s track record in the last fifty-one years has shown that the country has done justice to international cooperation. “As the world’s largest LDC economy, we hope to encourage other LDCs to opt for graduation through our own experience of a smooth transition,” she added.


Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has qualified for graduation in all three UN criteria. In 2015, the country attained middle-income country status. Bangladesh ranked in the medium bracket of UNDP’s Human Development Index ahead of that.


She said Bangladesh was considered a model for MDG achievement. Her government kept its commitment by building a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by 2021, she added.


The premier said her government and people attach high importance to Bangladesh’s smooth and sustainable LDC graduation in 2026. “We look forward to building a knowledge-based, developed and smart Bangladesh by 2041. Our private sector and social partners will have to play a prominent role in this journey,” she said.


She hoped to sustain the momentum, including by achieving SDGs. “For us to move forward, we need continuation of some international support measures for LDCs beyond our graduation,” she said.


Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh needs to further build its productive capacity and diversify its manufacturing and exports. It must pursue a low-carbon growth pathway. “We hope to comply with due diligence measures. We must digitize and innovate to stay competitive. We are committed to upholding our people’s right to development,” she said.


Noting that Bangladesh has shown that it can deliver, she said. The economy of Bangladesh grew by 8.15% just before the pandemic. The country has made a fast decline in poverty and hunger.


She said people’s life expectancy in Bangladesh rose to 73 years and literacy rate now stands at 75.2%. Gender parity has been achieved in its schools. The country’s women and girls are making their mark in all parts of society. “Our disaster preparedness and climate adaptation are often taken as examples,” she added.


She said her government has decided to take urban facilities to rural areas through the “My Village, My Town” programme.


The PM said she has urged people to cultivate every inch of land to acquire food security.


She also focused on her government’s success and achievements in different areas particularly primary healthcare services for rural people, social protection support for the disadvantaged people, digitization of public services, implementing mega projects, setting economic zones, export processing zones and hi-tech parks to attract investment.


The PM said, “I dream of our boys and girls taking the lead in artificial intelligence, internet of things, and robotics. Our government is pushing for an innovation ecosystem, with attention to intellectual property. We wish to make good use of our traditional knowledge, genetic resources and blue economy.”


She said Bangladesh will soon have a logistics policy with a view to cutting down cost of doing business. “We are investing in an energy mix, including clean energy,” she added.


Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is also making international contributions to the extent possible. “We are sharing our e-governance tools with other LDCs under the South-South Cooperation. A regional climate adaptation center has been set up in Dhaka to share our good practices with other countries,” she said.


She said the Bangladeshi NGOs are taking home-grown development models to other parts of the world. “We have offered to share our agricultural good practices with African countries,” she said.


The PM said Bangladesh responds to humanitarian emergencies, while continuing to host 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar.


Denmark Minister for Development Cooperation Dan Jogensen and high-level representatives from different agencies including WTO, OECD, UNIDO and UNCTAD spoke as the panelists in the side event arranged by the Commerce Ministry of Bangladesh.


Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi made the closing remarks in the event moderated by Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN offices in Geneva ambassador Mohammad Sufiur Rahman.


Commerce Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh delivered the keynote address.


Source: United News of Bangladesh