Hasina, speaking at a ceremony in Dhaka to mark the End Poverty Day 2016 attended by senior officials of The World Bank Group including its president, listed the areas of successes in Bangladesh’s 45 years and hoped the international community would live up to its promises in helping reach climate change targets and SDGs, reports bdnews24.com
She said she believed Bangladesh would be a middle income country by 2021, an optimism shared by the Bank officials in their speeches, and a developed nation by 2041.
A World Bank presentation documenting Bangladesh’s social development was played at the end of the symbolic event attended by politicians, civil servants, diplomats and civil society representatives.
Jim Yong Kim, the president of The World Bank Group, said in just a year 100 million people came out of extreme poverty globally.
While he recognised the numbers were impressive, the Bank chief spoke of Bangladesh’s “impressive record” and hoped “lessons of Bangladesh can spread to other countries”.
“Innovation is extremely important in eradicating poverty and Bangladesh recognised that very early.”
Kim, who is a medical doctor by training, referred to Bangladesh’s handling of diseases like diarrhoea, creating “an army of women health workers.”
“Investments in people are just as important as investments in hard infrastructure,” he said.
“These investments occurred despite many challenges,” the Bank chief said on a day the Washington-based lender pledged to hike loans to Dhaka by 50 percent.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith referred to resolution taken decades ago to end “the curse of poverty on human race” and said Bangladesh had come a long way towards the goal — bringing the poor from 75 percent of its population to 20.6 since Independence.
Muhith, who gave the welcome address, spoke of the nation’s commitment to carry forward the agenda and vowed to reach tougher sustainable development goals by 2030, having done very well with the MDGs.
Paul Romer, the Bank’s chief economist and a senior vice president, said the economy in general needs ‘less government but countries such as Bangladesh lacked the kind of government needed’ to boost economic activities.
Romer, the keynote speaker, stressed investments on education but said quality was the key.
He advocated “pursuing growth via equality” and asserted there was no alternative to that.
“We must move quickly,” Romer said, “Every day of delay would be very costly when it came to ending poverty.”
Annette Dixon, vice president for South Asia, highlighted Bangladesh’s successes in education, women’s empowerment, anti-poverty programmes and achievement of MDGs.
ERD Senior Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin gave the vote of thanks.