Economy

Bangladesh Has Potential To Become Asian Tiger: US Envoy

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has stressed the necessity for Bangladesh to take bold steps in order to prosper as a country, but also added that Bangladesh has potential to become an Asian Tiger.

“In order to become prosperous, Bangladesh must then take bold steps to expand economic, political, and legal freedoms for its people,” the envoy said.

He was speaking at the Prosperity and Good Governance Conference, jointly organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Asia Foundation on Monday (15 April).

A report titled ‘Freedom and Prosperity in Bangladesh’ prepared by Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center was presented at the conference.

This report highlights Bangladesh’s economic well-being based on its democratic and governance indicators.

According to the report, Bangladesh witnessed a concerning decline in its global standing on the Freedom Index, slipping 25 notches since 2000 and earning the status of ‘mostly unfree.’

The country ranked 141st out of 164 nations in 2023, reflecting a troubling trend in its economic, political, and legal freedoms.

However, Bangladesh has fared somewhat better on the Prosperity Index, where it ranked 99 among 164 countries, categorising it as ‘mostly unprosperous.’

This Prosperity Index considers various factors beyond GDP per capita, including health, inequality, environmental conditions, minority rights, and education.

Speaking about the report, Haas observed that out of the 164 countries the Atlantic Council has looked at, not a single country ranked ‘mostly unfree’ is also ranked ‘prosperous.’

The report also highlights the enormous challenge ahead in moving from being a mostly ‘unprosperous’ least developed country today to a middle-income country in 2026 and a developed country by 2041.

He added that every country faces unique challenges like corruption and securing economic and political rights on its path to freedom and prosperity.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The key lies not in avoiding the problems but in actively acknowledging and tackling them,” Haas added.

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