We are close to the end of yet another year and stepping into a new year. But it is not only a change in calendar – January 1, 2020 also marks the end of one decade and the start of another.
So looking back at the year also calls for a review of what the last decade was.
The 2010s was a formative decade of economic growth. And it was also a decade of political change. So our lookback is actually a review of the canvas at large.
During this decade, Bangladesh has grown faster than before, reaching newer heights every year. People's lifestyle has changed with economic advancement too. Mechanization and automation has taken root. Fancy cars have taken over the roads. New chain shops have popped up. And concrete structures heralding mega-projects have sprung up everywhere.
Bangladesh is also awash with electricity, so much so that many of the plants have to be kept idle.
During this crucial decade from 2010 to 2019, Bangladesh has emerged as a growing economy. We have qualified for LDC status and also became a lower-middle-income country.
The success has made the country ambitious about becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030 and developed country by 2041.
This is why the outgoing decade looks different than the four decades since the Independence of Bangladesh.
We are now the second largest readymade garments exporter, just behind China. And thanks to the relentless effort of our farmers, agro-products have increased multifold.
Bangladesh is now among the five fastest-growing economies in the world. It is no more a basket case.
However, a lot of landmines have also been sown during this decade. For one, we now have a very fragile banking system, a depression-inducing capital market, and our growth has been achieved at the cost of rising inequality.
The rich have become richer and the poor poorer.
Electricity has been generated but still load-shedding exists.
Quality has become a big issue despite achieving quantity in many fields, be it power, education or growth.
With such a varying canvas, The Business Standard looks at the passing year with an overreaching eye to check back on the decade.