Benefits of growth must reach the poor | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:43 AM, February 25, 2018

Benefits of growth must reach the poor

Says Norwegian envoy

Appreciating Bangladesh's economic growth, Norway has said Bangladesh needs to make sure that the benefits of economic growth continue to reach the poor to remove inequalities in the country.

“It's important to keep up the focus on poor people, not just in rural areas but also in cities, including in Dhaka,” Norwegian Ambassador in Dhaka Sidsel Bleken told the news agency in an interview at her office.

She said statistics are showing that social inequalities are increasing in the country and the poor people are becoming poorer.

A recent study by the Centre for Policy Dialogue has showed the underbelly of the development scenario in Bangladesh in which the rising GDP growth and rising income and wealth inequalities walk hand in hand.

Emphasising stability and security, Ambassador Bleken said they hope that there would be no political violence as the next national election is approaching.


Norway wants to see a non-violent election in Bangladesh and hoped that both the political parties and law enforcement agencies would work to maintain peace.

“We hope it'll be free, fair and participatory,” she said giving importance to equal opportunities for a peaceful election campaign before election.

Ambassador Bleken said there are challenges but all parties will have to keep up the dialogue.

Responding to a question, she said, “I absolutely think that BNP should concentrate on elections. I think it's important that they participate.”

As part of the international community, the Ambassador says, they will keep supporting democratic process in Bangladesh. "We're not supporting any particular party or other parties."


The Norwegian ambassador said cyber security is of course important. "I think any country needs to have a legislation that takes care of cyber security."

Ambassador Bleken, however, said it seems that some of the provisions of the cabinet-approved draft of the Digital Security Act-2018 might create a scope for shrinking the space for freedom of speech. "It's very worrying."


The Ambassador said it will be very good if the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) manages to work on one-stop service as their experience says it is rather “bureaucratic” and takes a “long time” to be able to make an investment here. “I think still more needs to be done.” 

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