chapter  11
Market-oriented reforms and poverty in Bangladesh
ByClem Tisdell, Mohammad Alauddin
Pages 13

Bangladesh has experienced rising per capita income and increasing GDP since the 1960s and the direction of this growth has been sustained since it commenced market-oriented reforms in the early 1980s. For the first time in its history Bangladesh has achieved foodgrain sufficiency. It is important to remember that this is a significant achievement against the background of the fact that the goal of foodgrain self-sufficiency albeit in a narrow sense has eluded Bangladesh for nearly three decades. In the second half of the 1990s the annual growth rate in GDP has consistently topped the 5 per cent level and has broken the 4 per cent syndrome that has epitomised Bangladesh’s growth in the preceding twenty-five years. Bangladesh has significantly reduced the rate of population growth to about 1.5 per cent, about half the rate thirty years ago and that of contemporary Pakistan. This is the second lowest in South Asia after Sri Lanka. Literacy rate has more than doubled over the last three decades. Bangladesh has made very slow but steady progress in addressing gender issues. Bangladesh has also come out of the shadow of famine and proved capable of managing crises like the flood of 1998, the most devastating in living memory (Alauddin and Tisdell 1998; Alauddin and Hossain 2001).