Is Bangladesh an underdeveloped country?


 by Obaidul Karim Khan, Consultant and freelance writer  March 18, 2018

Bangladesh has been on the list of Least Developed Countries (LDC) list since 1975 but last week, the country has been removed from the list. Bangladesh is expected to get a status as developing country by 2024.

This means that Bangladesh officially is not an underdeveloped country. UN has taken consideration to criteria of underdeveloped countries.

The criteria of an underdeveloped country are: Poor per capita income, Capital deficiency, the Unutilised potential for growth, Underutilised human resources and natural resources and weak socio-economic systems.

The per-capita income of Bangladesh is 1660 USD according to latest figure from IMF. This number is little less than neighboring and much higher than that of Pakistan.

Bangladesh has utilized its natural resources very optimally, apparently no unutilized natural resources. Bangladesh is competent in using its human resources.

On the other hand, the bureaucratic system is backdated. Bangladesh is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Billions of dollars disappear in corruption.

Bangladesh has enjoyed the stable growth of 6–8% in last several years. According to a World Bank report, traffic jams in Dhaka city cost Bangladesh 12,6 billion USD annually. If the traffic jam could be eliminated, the economic growth would be doubled.

There is no documented figure how much money disappeared in corruption, but non-governmental agencies estimate that the number could be as high as 50 billion USD. If corruption and bribery could be eliminated, Bangladesh would be a developed countries.

The Bangladesh GDP is 221 billion USD in 2016. We have not got GDP figure from 2017, but it could be around 240 billion USD. The loss in corruption and gridlock contribute a considerable reduction to Bangladesh economy.

Hypothetically speaking, Bangladesh could overtake India and China by far if corruption could be eliminated.

Despite corruptions, Bangladesh has been placed 34 in the emerging economies according to World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 whereas India is ranked place

Let me come back to the definition. Bangladesh has a couple of criteria of an underdeveloped country. But the state does not have most of the criteria of an underdeveloped country.

Therefore conclusion is: Bangladesh is not an underdeveloped country.