International Growth Centre (IGC), the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) and BRAC Development Institute (BDI), of BRAC University jointly organised the IGC, Phase II, Launch Lecture on 22nd March, 2014 at the BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium in Dhaka. Dr. Jonathan Leape, Associate Professor, LSE and IGC Executive Director and Professor Robin Burgess, London School of Economics and IGC Director delivered the lectures on IGC Second Phase: Future Direction and Ideas for Bangladesh Expansion of Economic Opportunity: Evidence from South Asia.
Prof. Wahiduddin Mahmud, Member, UN Committee for Development Policy and former Advisor to the Caretaker Government and Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, IGS & BDI and former Director General, South Asia, Asian Development Bank, co-chaired the event.
In the welcome speech, Professor Mahmud summarised some of the past researches of IGC done during the Phase I of its work in Bangladesh. He said the country has no other alternative but to go for urbanisation and industrialisation to become a middle-income nation and Bangladesh cannot tap its growth prospects by relying on low productive industries, exports of low-skilled workers and low-value items, while calling for productivity to be raised in all areas. Despite many odds like poor governance, inefficient workforce, climate change and low-based technology, he said Bangladesh has witnessed remarkable growth over the past decades, “But new technology is needed to create a workforce that is more productive and efficient.”
Mr. Robin Burgess, Professor of Economics at LSE, in his keynote paper, said increasing the productivity of firms and households, and structural change is needed in the movement of people out of risky and unproductive activities. He also said structural change at the bottom, improvements in state capacity, industrial development, more rapid urbanisation and better access to energy could lead to higher growth for Bangladesh. The keynote paper said the developing world became a source of policy innovation as developing countries took greater control over decision making. He added, new research is needed on designing city governance systems, which contain incentives for politicians and bureaucrats to provide these services and which make them accountable for doing so. Burgess described Bangladesh as an unsung hero of development and thanked to the country's remarkable achievement in social and economic sectors.
Dr. Jonathan Leape, LSE scholar and IGC Executive Director, in his lecture on IGC Second Phase: Future Direction, said continuous dialogue between stakeholders, policymakers and experts is needed to formulate policy for the sustainable development. He said Bangladesh has set out a pro-poor growth in the last three decades which have become a model for other countries. He went on to call for deeper collaboration between policymakers and researchers to address challenges posing threats to growth prospects.
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, also Director of IGC Bangladesh Research Programme, said the country would have to go for industrialisation, upgrade skills and become more productive.
Among others, eminent professionals and representatives from various academic and research institutions, government, NGOs, donor agencies, international organisations; civil society members, politicians, senior journalists and students from different universities attended the programme.
The event was widely covered by the national print and electronic Media. Click on the links of the published news given below: