Vision 2030: Addressing the economic reforms and structural changes that are needed to make Bangladesh an Upper Middle-Income country by 2030.
Vision 2041: Working towards a poverty free knowledge-based Bangladesh.
Road Map for Universal Health Coverage: Develop a road map for ensuring people benefit from the availability of Universal Health Coverage by 2041.
Harnessing ICT as a pillar of accelerated inclusive growth: Expanding the role of ICT in Bangladesh’s transition from low productivity low growth economy to high productivity high growth knowledge-based economy by investing in digital Bangladesh as a continuum with appropriate infrastructure including Hi-tech Parks and IT skills.
- Strengthening economic institutions focused on delivering crucial public services like health care, education, etc.
- Strengthening financial institutions with priority given to greater independence to the Bangladesh Bank; reforming public banks; strengthening supervision and portfolio of private banks; addressing the issue of non-repayment of loans by influential borrowers;
- Strengthening the SEC; developing the capital markets; and further deepening financial inclusion (MFS and MFIs).
- Strengthening the public administration capacity through civil service reforms; establishing strong and accountable local governments; and strengthening the ACC.
- Strengthening political institutions with priority given to establishing a more accountable governance system through the proper separation of power where there is an effective system of checks and balances between the operations of the three tiers of the government: executive, legislative and the judiciary; strengthening the election commission to enable a truly pluralistic parliamentary democracy; developing an enabling environment for opposition parties to fully participate in parliamentary proceedings; establishing the rule of law for all; strengthening law enforcement agencies; and creating a strong and independent judiciary to arbitrate on all legal and constitutional issues irrespective of interest group pressures and lobbies.
- Strengthening civil society institutions to play their proper development role in the context of a sound enabling environment that is truly enabling rather than control oriented but also provides for transparent and accountable rules of financing and engagement.
- Developing inclusive institutions that allow the poor and socially excluded group to participate fully in the development process.
Urbanization and land issues: looking in-depth into spatial planning and improved land governance.
Dealing with the randomly scattered villages of Bangladesh: Working out policy and strategic implications of making Bangladesh a land of compact township (CT) calling for reorganization of rural settlements into townships with essential services.
Moving towards smart transport and policies to answer congestion: Inter and intra city transport is underperforming. Transport is heavily biased in favor of roads and vehicular traffic. Other modes are ignored. Also road transport is looked at as moving goods and people from point A to point B. Its social and environmental implications are not considered. Going forward, Bangladesh needs pay attention to the concept of Comprehensive Integrated Multimodal Economic Corridor Network (CIMECON). IIP should be looking at the longer-term policy implications of such an initiative. Then again, strategically transport planning has to be integrated with comprehensive land use planning combining with it the establishment of economic zones and Hi-Tech Parks.
Making economic zones and Hi-Tech Parks engines of inclusive economic growth : China has prospered with economic zones, India has not. There is much to be learnt from cross-country experiences with EZs in terms of optimal package of policies and strategies covering also industrial and trade policies.
Making demographic dividend work for Bangladesh: Education, manpower and skill development comprises a long agenda all intertwined with critical longer term policies and strategies. The Government of Bangladesh has been wise to undertake major investment initiative to develop skills linking it rightly to education and the economy. This requires ongoing research and study support in order to ensure inter sectoral balance and productivity growth.
Manpower planning and skill development with sustained productivity growth: A synchronized approach to manpower planning and skill development will require alignment of longer-term policies and strategies. The best of minds will have to converge to devise ways of dealing with the mismatch between skill supply and demand on the one hand and productivity growth and wage increase on the other.
Transition from labor surplus to labor shortage economy: In the face of it Bangladesh is a labor surplus economy though labor shortages are experienced in specific areas at various times. This may turn out to be more a norm than exception. This transition has to be managed through appropriate policies and strategies.
Labor market issues: What are the likely labor market issues towards 2030 and 2041 and beyond? Seamless inclusive growth with mature institution building is impossible if capital continues to exploit labor and labor in turn always feels antagonistic to capital especially when it comes to technology and trade policy.
Dealing with the end of the remittance economy: Theoretically, remittances can be used for consumption and investment which further stimulates demand for goods and services, as well as contribute to financial development. In contrast, it can create dependence in recipients and cause real exchange-rate appreciation which adversely affects domestic production. Recent evidence identifies a declining trend in remittances. Future prospects is also unknown and uncertain. Three aspects of research are important for longer term growth prospect of Bangladesh. First is the future trend of remittances; second is the structural changes in the use of remittances by beneficiaries; and the third is the use of remittance driven reserves by the government.
Climate change and implication for longer-term growth: Assessing the potential damage and providing for adaptation and mitigation. The agenda is long and many experts around the world are at it. IIP will limit its attention to the economic dimension of adaptation and mitigation.
Sustaining food security for all in the twenty-second century: Bangladesh has done extremely well in achieving rice self-sufficiency, even exporting rice in some years. However according to some, food security is fundamentally related to the availability of food to all people, at all times, so that they have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain healthy and productive lives. The challenges come from population growth that would demand production growth which would be difficult to achieve in the future due to factors like shrinking arable land, brackish water from climate change submerging agricultural land, declining land fertility and limited scope for irrigation expansion. A more efficient public food grain distribution system can make a significant contribution to the food security of vulnerable households who lack means to access food. Appropriately targeted income transfers, credit programs and insurance mechanisms in times of crisis may generate high payoffs in reducing poverty and improving food security. These interventions should be part of a broader social protection strategy that is both cost-effective and comprehensive in coverage. IIP aims to find resources and skilled researchers to explore these issues in-depth and show the path for the distant future.
Conquering the blue economy for securing the future: The blue economy has been highlighted by the Prime Minister as an important avenue but not much work has touched the subject. Bangladesh lacks a comprehensive policy and strategic framework for exploitation of the blue economy coming out of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Bay of Bengal. According to some authors, for Bangladesh the blue economy offers opportunities for sustainable growth in shipping and port facilities, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, energy, biotechnology and submarine mining. IIP aims to contribute towards this endeavor.
Integrating the fragmented market with the financial sector leading the way: Markets in Bangladesh is fragmented with limited price transmission. Market integration especially financial market integration is desirable for efficient allocation of resources, inclusiveness and equity. In the context of China, the World Bank made a very pertinent statement, “A domestic market that is flexible and integrated is vital for the development of Chinese competitiveness and growth, as well as for the structural adjustment of the Chinese economy. A free and integrated domestic market for goods and services, coupled with a free entry and exit for firms, allowing the most productive ones to grow and take advantage of economies of scale, facilitate the spread of technologies, and stimulate improvements in productivity that increase the competitiveness of firms and growth.” The Bangladesh Bank has taken important step linking microfinance institutions with commercial banks easing liquidity needs of the former. Most of the enterprises in Bangladesh are micro and small scale while medium scale enterprises help market integration by linking local enterprises with domestic and global value chain. Market integration is never complete without linked cross border operations and integration of domestic business and production processes. Market integration has critical local, regional, national and global implications. It has to be supported by a complex set of policies and strategies monitored closely and adjusted periodically as needed.
Regional Cooperation and Integration (RCI): Overcoming politics towards SARC, SASEC, BIMSTEC and Asian economic union and monetary union with seamless trade, transport and transit, and free capital and labor flow. The institute shall examine closely the current back drop of crisis in EU (BREXIT), NAFTA (President-elect Trump), SARC (India-Pakistan relationship to understand what RCI holds out for Bangladesh and how policies and strategies need to be redesigned and steered to gain the most from RCI. Given the cloud in the near future, RCI becomes a natural longer-term development issue for Bangladesh.
Caring for the ageing population towards the second half of this century and beyond: Bangladesh’s honeymoon with demographic dividend will be over in another two decades or so after which comes the burden of ageing population faced now by Europe (20% 65+ in 2015 according to World Bank Data WDI), Korea (13% 65+ in 2015) and others. In 2015, 4.974% of population in Bangladesh was 65 + in Bangladesh. According to the United Nations Bangladesh will have 21.5% in population age group of 60+ in 2050 (43.47 million) going up to 37.1% (62.9 million) in 2100. Longer term policies and strategies must be attuned to this daunting reality caring for the aged in the coming years.
Universal Basic Education: Providing quality basic education is a challenge notwithstanding MDG. Bangladesh has done extremely well in terms of many education indicators including enrolment and gender parity. Now, the focus on quantity must be complemented with a parallel focus on quality, especially in secondary education, and develop a better strategy for skill formation. Consequently, the IIP will draw on appropriate expertise to focus on policies and strategies addressing four key areas of concern, (i) cost effectiveness, (ii) quality, (iii) link with skill formation, and (iv) educational governance and fiscal sustainability.
Comprehensive social security system: From a cross country review, it emerges that social security refers to programs usually funded by mandatory payroll contributions (5 to 8 percent of a paycheck) to compensate citizens at least partially through cash payments for loss income due to old age, disability, or death; sickness and maternity; work injury; unemployment; or through services for hospitalization, medical care, and rehabilitation. The benefit can be claimed by the principal beneficiary, dependents, and survivors. The social security system of Bangladesh covers government-funded old age pension for people 65 and over, employer-funded sickness and maternity benefits, and employer –funded work injury benefits for temporary and permanent disability. There is no statutory unemployment benefit. Labor Law provides for termination benefits for retrenchment and layoff or for discharge due to ill health. The IIP will work on a comprehensive sustainable social security system for Bangladesh along with fiscal implication, private participation and administrative challenges commensurate with the country’s graduation to upper-middle income and developed country status.
Local governance and decentralization in post-2050 Bangladesh: The progress with Decentralization and De-concentration (D&D) is on the wish list of GoB but progress is slow The challenge is to identify mechanism that can shift the center of gravity of power and support competitive outcome best for all. The institute will focus on the political economy of D & D and facilitate this agenda as an integral element of pluralistic democracy.
Politics, economics and extremism: Politics, economic and extremism are intertwined. Recent trends in extremisms merits a political economy analysis of radicalization in order to understand its short term and long-term drivers so that policymakers can develop a comprehensive approach to ensure the problem of radicalization is mitigated. The IIP will launch a research program centered on this agenda.
Longer-term economic rate of return of social tolerance, cohesion and accommodation: The IIP members believe it makes good economic sense to promote social tolerance, cohesion and accommodation. The IIP will examine this hypothesis with utmost academic and analytic rigor.