SWBEC to boost southwest region's output to $148b by 2050

SWBEC to boost southwest region’s output to $148b by 2050


With well-coordinated implementation of the proposed Southwest Bangladesh Economic Corridor (SWBEC), the total output for the country’s southwest region is estimated to reach $148 billion by 2050, about 3.3 times higher than the as usual estimation, says a new study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).The study reveals there will be additional 25 million employment opportunities from corridor-induced activities within this period. Besides, the overall employment in this region is expected to increase to 35 million by 2050.
The findings of the study were presented at a dissemination seminar on ‘the Southwest Bangladesh Economic Corridor: Comprehensive Development Plan’ at a city hotel today.
The ADB study suggests that robust infrastructure covering multi-modal transport connectivity, logistics and gateways, as well as power will be developed in the corridor region to attract centers of production and consumption and facilitate greater access to markets.
The study estimates that investments in transformational infrastructure of $ 140 billion in the next 30 years will have to be realised.
Speaking at the seminar as the chief guest, Finance Minister AMA Muhith once again stressed the need for increasing the domestic demand and continuing focus on poverty reduction.
“If we continue to increase domestic demand, it means we continue to focus on reduction of poverty. That’s where tremendous growth potential lies for Bangladesh,” he said, adding that the country should not forget it at least till 2030.
Muhith went on saying: “Our attention should be focused much more on poverty alleviation.”
Noting that domestic demand in Bangladesh has increased substantially over the last nine years of the Awami League government, the Finance Minister said: “It has increased very largely and there has been a kind of fantastic growth in domestic demand.”
He said the proposed economic corridor will not only boost connectivity in the country’s southwest region, but also help forge connectivity with some neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and the northeast region of India.
About RMG sector, Muhith said Bangladesh’s garment export is ‘fabulous’ as it does not have any raw material.
The SWBEC is envisioned to play a key role in carrying forward the country’s economic growth momentum. The economic corridor study, prepared by the ADB and submitted to the government in November 2017, indicates that the SWBEC will boost Bangladesh’s human capital, technological level, infrastructure, and backward linkages, which in turn will enable the country to diversify into higher value products and deepen its linkages with global production networks.
The development of an economic corridor in Bangladesh is aligned with the government’s 7th Five Year Plan and envisaged to bring huge economic gains not only for the southwestern region, but also for the entire country.
The proposed economic corridor aims to develop the country’s southwest and northeast regions and integrate them with the vibrant growth centres of Dhaka and Chittagong. The present study covers phase-1 of the economic corridor, which runs from Jessore to Dhaka, with an extension to Benapole and Payra Port.
SWBEC will include two industrial nodes—Khulna and Dhaka—covering six districts, where high-growth sectors will be promoted. A phase- wise approach for nodal development is recommended, with development of the Dhaka Node (Dhaka, Narayanganj and Munshiganj) as the priority node to be followed by the Khulna Node (Khulna, Bagerhat and Jessore).
The study has identified several sectors that will drive industrialisation in the region. The potential sectors are food processing, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather based products, footwear, textiles and readymade garments, bicycles, automobiles, shipbuilding, food-processing, furniture, ceramics, rubber and rubber articles, glass and glassware and plastic products.
Principal Coordinator on SDGs at Prime Minister’s Office Md Abul Kalam Azad, Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Manmohan Parkash and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam, among others, spoke at the seminar, reports BSS.


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