Wednesday, November 14, 2007

World Bank Urges More Industrial Zones in Bangladesh to Reduce Poverty

Source: The Economic Times: World Bank asks Bangladesh to add more SEZs

Roughly half of Bangladesh’s country, or about 70 million people, live below the poverty line. This is the equivalent of less than $1/day. A founder of Grameen Bank criticized the World Bank’s efforts in failing to alleviate poverty.

Robert Zoellick, World Bank President, recently visited the Dhaka export processing zone. He urged Bangladesh’s government to develop more special industrial zones. Building these zones will hopefully drastically reduce the poverty rate in Bangladesh by creating more jobs. Brigadier-General Ashraf Abdullah Yussuf, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority, commented that “Bangladesh expects to draw $4 billion in investment in the EPZs over the next three years.”

Bangladesh currently has eight export processing zones which contribute 18% to the national export earnings. These zones employ more than 200,000 people. There are about 270 enterprises which operate in the zones which make an investment of about $1.8 billion. Bangladesh’s biggest export is clothing. Clothing accounts for three-quarters of Bangladesh’s annual export income.

For Discussion:
If small business development is believed to be a basis for relieving poverty in poor nations, is it a legitimate criticism that the World Bank's lending policies do not allow for enough money to be spent on small entrepreneurs?

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