27 September 2013 – In the last four and a half years, 50 million people have joined the ranks of the middle class while the average gross domestic product (GDP) rate has remained at 6.4 per cent, Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh told the General Assembly today.
According to Prime Minister Hasina, “Bangladesh is often named as a ‘Model of Economic Development’ and the ‘Standard Bearer of South Asia’,” and Bangladesh aims to become a middle income country.
Using state of the art digital technology, said the Prime Minister, the country is already on track to meet several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the anti-poverty targets set in 2000 covering a broad range of development indicators.
Rural women are getting health care services from digitally-connected community health clinics, while advanced cell phone technologies are also providing services to over 100 million subscribers, she said.
On the education front, girls will be provided free education up to the higher secondary level along with free textbooks and monthly stipends, she added. According to the Prime Minister, “real national development is achievable only through education.”
She told delegations how Bangladesh is possibly the only nation today with women occupying the position of Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader.
However, despite progress in some spheres, Bangladesh faces a calamitous future due to global warming and sea level rise. A one degree Celsius increase in temperature would lead to a metre rise of sea levels, submerging a fifth of the country and 30 million “climate migrants” would be created, she warned.
Bangladesh is the first among South Asian nations to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Anti Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, she said, and the country will be first to sign the Arms Trade Treaty.
The Prime Minister reminded delegations that as Bangladesh is a least developed country, held back by resource constraints, donors need to make good on providing official development assistance of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP).