On Liberation, Bangladesh inherited a devastated economy and thoroughly disrupted infrastructures. The country was dubbed ‘bottomless basket’ by the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and “The Test Case of Development” by the first Country Representative of the World Bank to Bangladesh Just Faaland and Jack Parkinson. They were rash, in making the comments they made, probably due to their mindsets unfavourably disposed towards the newly independent country. Today, Bangladesh is widely recognized in the international arena as a ‘role model’ of development.
Indeed, the country struggled at the initial stages under the prevailing tortuous conditions in the wake of ravages caused by the War of Liberation. Further troubles ensued as a long period of military rule followed the heinous act of killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by national and international anti-Liberation conspirators. After reestablishment of democracy in 1991, confrontational politics and pursuit of unfettered market paradigm kept the country’s forward move slower. But, due to conducive policies and commitment of the Government of Bangladesh since 2009 to enhance poverty reduction, digitization, and acceleration of development, the country has achieved an annual average GDP growth rate of over 6% every year from 2009/10 to 2016/17, over 7% in each of the last two years.
The articles in this book contain reviews and analyses of various aspects of the prevailing socio-economic realities, periodically from 1979 to December 2017, as the country’s development journey continued. These articles give a flavour of the realities concerning constricted development at times, much lower progress than the potential at other times, and the significantly accelerated socio-economic progress since 2009 as well as of policy and implementation environments at the relevant times. The book, thus, can be useful in relation to stocktaking of past experiences and vicissitudes and learning of lessons, which may serve useful purposes in the context of shaping the future.