LDCs seek no charity, but want their dues from international commitments: PM Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked the international community to pay their dues under international commitments and renew their commitment for real structural transformation in LDCs as these nations do not ask for charity.
“Our nations do not ask for charity; what we seek are our dues under international commitments,” she said while addressing the opening Plenary Meeting of the 5thUN LDC Conference.
“The Doha Programme of Action is yet another assurance of hope for the world’s most vulnerable countries. The international community must renew its commitment for real structural transformation in LDCs,” she said.
She said that for the graduating LDCs, there should be some incentives for their performance and they should enjoy the international support measures for LDCs for an extended period of time.
“They need enhanced investments and know-how to build their productive capacities. There can be some innovative and transitional financing mechanisms meant for them,” she said.
She also assured the developed nations that LDCs will also keep their side of the bargain.
The PM said that LDCs need sustained support to double their share of global trade while ODA targets for LDCs from developed countries deserve to be fulfilled.
“International Financial Institutions have the means to support debt sustainability in LDCs. Climate financing for LDCs should be made flexible and predictable. Technology transfer to LDCs needs to be tangible and meaningful,” she said.
She said that migrant workers need protection for their rights and well-being. “We cannot fail the 226 million youth in LDCs.”
Talking about the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine that have dealt a major blow to LDC economies, Hasina said the rise in food and fuel price in international markets have caused inflations in most LDCs.
“Added to this remain the climate crisis and long-drawn conflicts in certain LDCs,” she said.
Bangladesh, she said, is dealing with 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar with no immediate solution.
The prime minister said that Bangladesh qualifies for LDC graduation and now looks forward to graduating in 2026.
“Bangladesh is the only LDC among the world’s 50 largest economies in terms of GDP. Our march towards graduation is also marked by our efforts at just, inclusive and sustainable development.”
She mentioned that her government has succeeded in reducing poverty rate from 31.5 to 20 percent within a decade.
“We are internationally recognized for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation,” she said.
She said that the social protection measures in Bangladesh constitute 16.75 percent of its total budget.
“We have distributed about 700,000 cost-free houses to ensure shelter for all. We rank top in South Asia in reducing gender disparity. Our literacy rate stands at 75.2 percent, with near universal primary education enrolment. The average life expectancy of our people is now more than 73 years,” she said.
During COVID-19 pandemic, she apprised that the government has provided 28 stimulus packages worth 6.15 percent of our GDP.
“Our economy proved its resilience by growing at 7.10 percent even in 2021-22. Per capita income grew three-folds in a decade and has reached USD 2,824,” she added.
She said that Bangladesh is now a reliable partner in the international supply chain.
“We are a fast growing digital economy and a potential regional hub for connectivity and logistics. Our next vision is to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041.”
Sheikh Hasina said that much of the Bangladesh story owes to international support measures it negotiated for LDCs.
In this connection she said that the duty- and quota-free access it secured from most developed and emerging economies helped the private sector build a solid manufacturing base.
“The patent waivers provided under TRIPS Agreement allowed us to locally meet 98 percent of our pharmaceutical needs,” she said.
The exemptions under other WTO agreements enabled us to boost agricultural production and combat hunger and malnutrition. The international technical assistance we received helped us make concrete development plans, she added.