Publication: Harnessing Competitiveness for Stronger Inclusive Growth : Bangladesh Second Investment Climate Assessment

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World Bank
Bangladesh has recorded impressive economic and social gains since the 1990s. Recent growth has been at levels close to six percent. The country has doubled per capita growth and taken large strides toward reaching many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ahead of many comparable countries. Attaining the MDGs calls for accelerating economic growth to six-seven percent a year. Accordingly, Bangladesh's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), ?unlocking the potential, puts into sharp focus the need for investment climate improvements, as well as inclusive growth and empowering the poor. Accelerating growth will require greater investment - to aid diversification into areas of comparative advantage and to finance infrastructure - and higher productivity. This in turn calls for a substantial improvement in the investment climate. The strategy as laid out in the PRSP promotes an enabling business environment as a key to Bangladesh's development - by improving trade policies, enhancing the legal and regulatory environment for the private sector, developing an effective competition policy, establishing policies friendly to foreign direct investment, and deepening financial sector reforms. Addressing labor skills and education is critical to improving productivity. Improvements in the policy environment for energy development are central to this effort, by strengthening the institutional framework, addressing distorted pricing, and encouraging accountable and transparent processes for investment decisions. Equitable growth and empowerment of the poor further call for strengthening of high-growth rural and peri-urban areas with natural potential, via services and infrastructure provision to such promising growth poles. With sustained growth, the scarcity of certain resources (energy, finance, land, labor skills) has started to strain the economy's growth and productivity gains. Along those lines, authors hope that this report will highlight successful strategies to unblock bottlenecks in basic resource markets and the investment environment, informing the policy dialogue and allowing for the economy and development of Bangladesh to forge ahead in a rapid, robust, and socially equitable manner.
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World Bank. 2008. Harnessing Competitiveness for Stronger Inclusive Growth : Bangladesh Second Investment Climate Assessment. Bangladesh Development Series Paper; no. 25. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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