There is a difference between investing in a poor country and investing in a middle-income country. If we assume the developing country status, the entire world’s confidence in us will increase.
It is very logical if the government has decided to move out of the least developed country (LDC) group. Given its socioeconomic development and strength, Bangladesh should graduate to the status of a developing country.
There are advantages – as well as disadvantages in some cases – of the shift to the group of developing countries. It is not expected that the country will stay in the LDC, considering only the disadvantages.
Bangladesh can negotiate separately with various countries and multilateral and regional alliances, apprising them of the country's economic losses induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure that it keeps on enjoying preferential trade benefits for at least three years even after promoting to a developing country. It is possible to avail some benefits through skillful negotiations.
So, there is no point in delaying the country's graduation to retain the LDC benefits.
The LDCs have been granted an exemption from the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights for the pharmaceutical sector till 2033. I think this facility will remain for Bangladesh even after its LDC graduation.
There is a difference between investing in a poor country and investing in a middle-income country. If we assume the developing country status, the entire world's confidence in us will increase. We can attract much more foreign investment. Bangladesh will have greater access to the global market.
Who are now in the LDC group? A handful of African countries that are very poor. Why should we stay with them? There is no better performing country in the LDC group. All the countries in South Asia have graduated.
We should have self-respect. We have lived as a poor country for many days. We are now in a much better position. It is not fair to stay in the LDC anymore. Politically, it is the right decision to move out of the LDC status.
Ahsan H Mansur shared his opinions over the phone
Ahsan H Mansur is the executive director of Policy Research Institute and chairman of Brac Bank