Sheikh Hasina Responsible for Bangladesh’s Growing Economy

A recent interview appearing in the Washington Post with Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, began trending last week on social communities and video platforms. In reaction to another recently published article appearing in the American Reporter, the social community responded with praised by labeling her as the “Mother Theresa” of modern civilization.

The 76-year-old grandmother, currently in her 4th term as the PM (considered globally as the longest serving stateswoman), is applauded for being contemporary with the times. Despite her powerful political position, Hasina is celebrated by her people for being extremely down to earth.

For example, she is known to participate in normal house chores, regularly cooks biryani for family and house guests, and yet still finds time to make herself accessible to those in need.

In politics, Sheikh Hasina, is a democratic secular, who is the only female leader globally to consistently serve as head of government for over 18 years. As a token of her popularity, the Awami League political party, (originally founded in 1949 by her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president of Bangladesh) currently holds 288 of the available 300 parliamentary seats.

Since the beginning of her political incumbency, Hasina has played a vital role in the growing economy of Bangladesh. In 1971, the World Bank ranked her country as one of the poorest in the world. After years of improving the educational standards, health care, local infrastructure, etc., Bangladesh reached “lower-middle income” status in 2015.

Since then, the nation’s GDP has consistently grown by nearly 9% annually making it the second largest on the the Indian subcontinent. Under Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh has become the 35th largest economy in the world in nominal terms, and listed amongst the 25th powerful nations by purchasing power parity.

According to Richard Morgan, a former UN observer, “With hard work, determination, and the local support of the people, Sheikh Hasina restructured the economy, health system, education, and other aspects of government to operate on behalf of citizens”.

Mr. Morgan explains “Hasina signed a thirty-year water treaty with India, developed the telecom Industry and later privatized it, and continues to take an active role in improving housing and living conditions for residents.”

Under her tenure, Bangladesh has become a member of two major multinational organizations: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8).

The charter of the latter D-8 is to promote peace, dialogue, cooperation, justice, equality, and democracy. The member states, representing nearly 1 billion people from 8 countries are set to host their annual meeting this year in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

Sheikh Hasina is also known to be an avid human rights activist, and zealous opponent of extremism, militancy, and terrorism. Earlier last year, she opened her countries borders and social programs to over a million Rohingya refugees who escaped the atrocities occurring in Myanmar (Burma).

According to Richard Harris, a World Bank advisor, “Bangladesh is around the size of Wisconsin, and is home to over 170 million inhabitants. The nations GDP is nearly $500b annually. In contrast, Burma (Myanmar) geographically covers over 4 times the size (of Bangladesh) yet has a yearly GDP of just below $80b.”

Mr. Harris explains the discrepancy between the neighboring countries financial figures proves democracy is far more profitable to society than militant run governments. Observers may have initially disregarded the Prime Minister based on her gender and pragmatic attitude, yet it is evident that no explanation of Bangladesh’s political, social, and financial achievements would be full or comprehensive without the Sheikh Hasina factor being included.

Suffice to say, her greatest achievement appears to be unifying her people and improving their standard of life.

Nadeem Mirani
Author: Nadeem Mirani

Freelancer and an avid reader.

About Nadeem Mirani

Freelancer and an avid reader.

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