Challenges of economic transformation and growth in Bangladesh: agriculture and manufacturing

  • Centre for Policy Dialogue Dhaka Bangladesh
c. Asian Development Bank/Flickr

c. Asian Development Bank/Flickr

Over the last two decades, Bangladesh has created a vibrant manufacturing industry, particularly through its international garment production. However, much of this sector still involves simple assembly tasks, rather than more skill-intensive design, marketing or textile production.

The challenge now for Bangladesh is to upgrade to higher value-added activities. The ability to achieve this will depend partly on whether firms engage in innovation and training for their staff, but also on the right incentive framework and public policies led by government.

Economic transformation applies equally to rural Bangladesh, where two changes will likely be critical to rural incomes. One is the extent to which productivity, especially labour productivity, in farming can be raised. The other is the extent to which rural non-farm economy develops, partly in synergy with agriculture, to create additional jobs — preferably with rising labour productivity. The extent of such rural economic transformation will also be reviewed in this workshop.

Bangladesh's Centre for Policy Dialogue and DEGRP convene a policy dialogue in Dhaka to discuss challenges and solutions for economic transformation and growth. Building on the work of a DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme project, the workshop examines how firms and policy-makers can work together to address co-ordination failures and increase productivity in Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector, and how productivity can be increased in the agricultural sector.