poverty in Bangladesh
About one in four Bangladeshis live in poverty, making poverty in Bangladesh an ongoing fight for the nation. However, there has been significant economic growth and improved education and infrastructure. With international development assistance, poverty in Bangladesh is on a downward trajectory, especially in rural areas. These seven facts about poverty in Bangladesh show the country’s improvements.

 7 Facts About Poverty in Bangladesh

  1. International Assistance. The International Development Association (IDA) has been a large part of Bangladesh’s success in education, health and infrastructure. Funded by member countries, IDA coordinates donor assistance. Additionally, IDA also works to provide development assistance to countries around the world. Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of IDA funding. In fact, its program totals $11.3 billion. Also, multilateral organizations, like the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations, have worked with the IDA to lower poverty in Bangladesh.
  2. Economic Growth. Bangladesh has made strides in alleviating poverty through sustained economic growth in recent years. Impressively, steady growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) allowed Bangladesh to reach lower-middle-income status in 2015. Bangladesh remains one of the fastest-growing economies among developing nations. Its GDP in 2018 was $274.02 billion, a 9.73% increase from 2017. With these steady increases, the GDP should grow another 8% in 2020.
  3. Education. Bangladesh has seen an increase in education enrollment. In addition, more girls are going to school. The enrollment rate at the primary school level increased from 80% in 2000 to above 90% in 2015, and from 45% to 62% at the secondary school level. Bangladesh has also achieved gender equality in education enrollment. It sent almost 6.4 million girls to secondary school in 2015. This makes the nation a frontrunner among developing countries to achieve gender parity in education.
  4. Health. Bangladesh has also made important progress in its health indicators over the past few decades. This includes improvements in maternal and child health. There was a 40% reduction in maternal mortality, from 322 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 194 deaths in 2010.  Credit goes to the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) work with local groups.  The USAID work provides high-quality reproductive services and brings integrated health care to Bangladeshis as well.
  5. Agricultural Growth. The agriculture sector is essential to Bangladesh, and its growth has been among the highest in the world for the past 25 years. Through IDA, more than a million households have modernized food practices and 500,000 households have increased grain reserve. Natural disasters are a primary threat to Bangladesh’s success in agricultural production. IDA is also financing almost $1.5 billion in aid to Bangladesh’s resistance against natural disasters. This leads to further increases in agricultural production and promotes food security.
  6. Sustainable Development Goals. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Bangladesh is making strides in attaining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and improve its quality of life. For example, Bangladesh is well on its way towards reaching the access of 100% of households to electricity by 2025, which is SDG 7. Bangladesh has also seen improvements in sanitation and access to clean water, which the SDGs also include. In 2019, 87% of the population had access to clean water and 61% had access to sanitation.
  7. Rural Infrastructure: Efforts to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh have occurred in rural areas, and IDA has provided support to build roads and increase access to water in these areas. According to the World Bank, 1.1 million people in rural areas now have access to clean water, and support measures have led to the paving of 800 kilometers of new roads in these areas. This infrastructure allows for easier transportation to school and the creation of jobs for men and women, improving the quality of life in several rural areas.

These seven facts about poverty in Bangladesh show that efforts to alleviate poverty in the country have been remarkably successful in the past few decades. Still, much work remains essential in order to alleviate poverty in urban areas and bring about continued growth in Bangladesh’s economy, infrastructure and access to food security. However, with continued international assistance and Bangladesh’s commitment to reducing poverty, there is hope that Bangladesh will continue to be a global model for poverty reduction.

– Anita Durairaj
Photo: Wikimedia