Dhaka, Nov 8 (bdnews24.com) - Despite record
economic growth in South Asia over the past decade, the total number of
people living in poverty has not gone down, said a regional development
report published Saturday.
'Human Development in South Asia: A Ten-Year Review' was published on Saturday.
The Review marks the 10th anniversary of the first South Asia Human Development Report, by the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre (MHHDC) in Islamabad, a landmark publication for regional public policy.
The report looks at human development achievement and shortfall in the region over the last ten-year period, with particular emphasis on the indicators of economy and education, say its authors.
"There has been a spectacular increase in economic growth rate of the major economics in South Asia … Poverty has declined in most countries, although rural poverty is still a major issue in some countries," it says.
But, the report continues: "Despite unprecedented economic growth in South Asia leading to a primary decline in poverty and a higher human development level, the total number of people in poverty has not gone down, and health and education indicators are still areas of concern."
"Bangladesh has witnessed consistent economic growth and rapid human development since the 1990s attaining near self-sufficiency in food grains," says the report in its country wise analysis.
"As a result of economic reforms including trade and market liberalisation, Bangladesh has registered higher growth of per capita GDP over the last ten years."
"But high poverty levels, rising income inequality, widespread underemployment and inadequate social sector expenditures pose serious challenges to the achievement of the country's socio-economic goals," say the authors.
"Bangladesh has a long way to go even if the Millennium Developments Goals are achieved."
"If Bangladesh is able to halve the population who live in poverty by 2015, still nearly 47 million people would remain poor and more than 22 million people would be living in extreme poverty in 2015," says the Review.
"As many in Bangladesh are still poor and food insecure, poverty reduction does not necessarily translate into less hunger and malnutrition."
The benefits of economic growth have yet to be translated adequately into reduction in poverty and human deprivation throughout the region, the report said.
Over the past one decade, despite some reduction in poverty rate, South Asia's share in the total number of global poor has increased significantly from 40 percent in 1993 to 47 percent in 2004.
Rural poverty has increased in many South Asian countries and income inequality is on the rise.
Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, launched the report in a ceremony held at the BRAC Centre Auditorium Saturday.
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