Bangladesh has a promising future due to its rich heritage. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the nation has seen an impressive transition throughout the years. She is a superb leader committed to enhancing Bangladesh. This thorough analysis examines the past, present, and future of Bangladesh, paying particular attention to Sheikh Hasina’s crucial contribution to the expansion of the nation’s economy.
The Past: A Nation’s Struggles and Progress
Bangladesh’s history is characterized by an unbreakable fabric of perseverance and challenge. The country experienced several challenging challenges when colonialism ended, the most catastrophic of which was the horrific Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which finally resulted in the nation’s hard-won independence. Despite these challenges, Bangladesh has increased shared wealth and reduced poverty during the last 50 years. At the time of its independence, Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in South Asia, with less wealth than both India and Pakistan combined. However, the people of Bangladesh have worked so hard that the country is now a significant exporter of goods and is poised to create waves in the technology business (Time, 2023).
Bangladesh’s economy, which is mostly built on agriculture, is extremely dependent on the unpredictable monsoonal cycle, which generates periodic floods and drought. Despite advancements, infrastructure to support electrical supply, communications, and transportation is undeveloped. The country’s main assets include its vast human resource base, fertile agricultural area, reasonably abundant water supply, and substantial natural gas reserves.
Bangladesh has a massive challenge after achieving independence: rebuilding the country from the ruins of war. As a fledgling state, they had to contend with extreme poverty, volatile political situations, and the challenge of giving support to displaced citizens. Despite these challenges, Bangladesh’s GDP has increased dramatically, from $71 billion in 2006 to $460 billion in 2022, making it the second largest in South Asia after India. With 98% of girls now receiving a primary education, social indicators have also improved (News Desk, 2023).
Bangladesh’s development has benefited immensely from the initiatives of Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She served as Bangladesh’s prime minister four times, from 1996 to 2001, 2009 to 2014 she was elected 4th time, and 2018 to the present. Bangladesh has achieved remarkable economic growth and social improvement during her leadership. Despite political barriers, including a 50-year dispute with another family, she has pushed laws to ensure free elections, such as transparent voting boxes and registration papers linked to ID cards and biometric data.
Sheikh Hasina’s Early Years and Political Ascent
Sheikh Hasina began politics at a young age, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to the people of Bangladesh. While her father was being taken hostage by the Pakistani government in the late 1960s, she became interested in politics at the University of Dhaka. During that time, she also served as his political go-between (Bose, 2015).
Her leadership abilities were put to the ultimate test when Sheikh Hasina boldly assumed the role of leader in the middle of a politically volatile situation following her father’s tragic death in 1975. On August 15, 1975, Hasina’s mother, father, and three brothers including their spouses were murdered inside their home by a gang of military authorities. Her exile lasted six years when Sheikh Hasina, who was overseas at the time of the killings, returned home. At the time, she was elected to the Awami League’s leadership. Her father founded the Awami league, which has now grown to become Bangladesh’s largest political party (ALBD, 2023).
Sheikh Hasina rose to fame as a strong proponent of democracy after returning to her own country in 1981, leading to several instances of her being placed under house arrest. Finally, she was able to get a seat in parliament as the leader of the opposition, where she decried military rule’s cruelty and began taking measures to preserve everyone’s fundamental human rights. Sheikh Hasina became Prime Minister in January 1991, following the resignation of the country’s previous military commander, Lieut. Gen. Ershad, in December 1990 in reaction to massive protests.
The Present: Bangladesh’s Remarkable Progress:
Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in a number of sectors during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, including infrastructure, healthcare, and education. The country’s social indicators have improved dramatically, and its economic progress has been consistent. Bangladesh has achieved the following notable accomplishments under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership:
- Poverty reduction: Bangladesh has made great progress in reducing poverty and creating shared prosperity during the past 50 years. As the rate of poverty has steadily declined, the nation’s economy has changed to a lower-middle class level (Bose, 2015).
- Access to education: Social indicators have improved, and 98% of girls now finish primary school. In addition to these measures, the government has provided free textbooks and conducted teacher training programs in order to boost educational standards.
- Healthcare: The government has started implementing initiatives to increase access to healthcare, including the opening of community clinics and the dispensing of free medications.
- Infrastructure development: Bangladesh has completed several significant infrastructure projects, including the construction of power plants, roadways, and bridges (Time, 2023).
- Economic development: Clothing, rice, tea, and other items are frequently exported from the country.
- Growth in technology: Bangladesh is joining the high-tech manufacturing sector, allowing international corporations such as Samsung to shift their supply chains away from China. The establishment of technology parks and the provision of tax benefits to IT businesses are only two of the steps put in place by the government to support the growth of the industry (Time, 2023).
Despite these improvements, Bangladesh faces challenges, such as escalating political upheaval, climate change, and rising inequality. Though the country has improved in large part due to Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, her administration has made measures to overcome these impediments, including granting a loan that the government had requested as part of a “stabilization” package. Overall, Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has made incredible strides, showcasing the will, resilience, and forbearance of her people (Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, 2016).
Sheikh Hasina’s Empowerment of women
To lower the obstacles preventing women in Bangladesh from advancing, Sheikh Hasina has launched a number of programs and policies. Some of the initiatives taken by Sheikh Hasina’s administration to support women’s empowerment include the following:
- National Women Development Policy: The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (2016) highlights the government’s commitment to gender mainstreaming and fostering an atmosphere that encourages women’s accomplishment in all spheres of society.
- Women’s reserved seats: The administration of Sheikh Hasina has made great efforts to guarantee that women’s opinions are heard at all levels of government and to enhance their political participation. Reserved seats have increased women’s involvement in the legislature and local government organizations, increasing their influence over national policies and objectives.
- Taking action against violence against women: Ensuring women’s protection and taking action against violence against them are two things that Sheikh Hasina holds in the highest regard. The creation of special courts to hear cases concerning abuse against women and a hotline for victims to report abuse are just two of the actions the government has taken to address violence against women.
- Economic empowerment: Sheikh Hasina lays a major focus on providing women with the resources they need to establish their own enterprises. This is at the heart of her plan for empowering women. Thanks to her administration’s efforts, many women are now able to lead as entrepreneurs and become the primary breadwinners for their families (Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, 2016).
Sheikh Hasina is a worldwide symbol of equality and growth, and her support for women’s empowerment extends well beyond the borders of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina has advocated for coordinated efforts to address the worldwide difficulties that women confront, as well as improved awareness of such concerns, through her active participation in a variety of international forums.
The Future: A Critical Crossroads
Bangladesh is at a crossroads, and the results of the upcoming election will have a significant influence on the country’s destiny. Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has substantially benefited the nation’s progress, and her administration has enacted initiatives to address concerns such as political insecurity, rising inequality, and climate change. Some of the steps put in place by Sheikh Hasina’s administration to foster the development of the technology industry are as follows:
Construction of technological parks: The administration of Sheikh Hasina has established technology parks to promote the growth of the technology industry. The government developed 28 high-tech parks around the country to provide infrastructure and support services to technical firms (Khandoker, 2022).
Tax breaks: To encourage investment in the technology sector, the government has provided tax breaks to technology companies. Discounted tax rates, tax vacations, and exemptions of customs duties on imported machinery and equipment are among the incentives.
Acceptance of a $4.7 billion loan: As part of a “stabilization” package, the government requested and was granted approval for a $4.7 billion loan. Climate change and the COVID-19 outbreak are only two of the many economic concerns that Bangladesh must address. These difficulties will be solved by the loan (Khandoker, 2022).
The nation has progressed as a consequence of initiatives taken by Sheikh Hasina’s administration to improve infrastructure development, healthcare, and education. Bangladesh is still dealing with concerns such as climate change, rising inequality, and democratic retreat. The outcome of the next election will have a significant impact on the country’s future direction.
Sheikh Hasina; The Iron Lady of Bangladesh
Sheikh Hasina’s lifelong ambition as a visionary leader has been to better Bangladesh. With a ranking of 26th on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2018, she has established herself as one of the world’s most powerful women owing to her exceptional leadership talents. Furthermore, the US-based newspaper Foreign Policy named her one of the 100 Global Thinkers of the current decade. In 2014, she received the UNESCO Peace Tree award for her unwavering commitment to women’s empowerment and girls’ education (Panday, 2023). Sheikh Hasina’s leadership is defined by her bold vision, steadfast dedication to her goal, and incredible tenacity and endurance. Her stint as Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the longest in the country’s history, having held the office four times. Her vision for the nation’s destiny covers the next 100 years and beyond. In less than 10 years, she delivered several services, including as the ability to pay for electricity and water bills, right to people’s doorsteps by making her vision of “Digital Bangladesh” a reality. Sheikh Hasina has shown to be a problem solver, and her leadership has been firm, unrelenting, and focused (Panday, 2023).
International Relation and Shaikh Hasina
Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh has greatly contributed to global problems and influenced international connections. Sheikh Hasina has worked to strengthen Bangladesh’s bilateral ties with the United States and India, among other countries. She has also worked to improve Bangladesh’s presence in the United Nations, World Trade Organization, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Sheikh Hasina has been a vocal advocate for action on global concerns like as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Bangladesh has garnered attention for its significant efforts in the battle against climate change, despite the fact that a big chunk of its land is at or below sea level. Sheikh Hasina has also been a staunch supporter of humanitarian efforts, particularly those addressing the Rohingya refugee crisis. After escaping persecution in neighboring Myanmar, over a million Rohingya migrants have sought refuge in Bangladesh (Islam, 2023).
Religious minorities in Bangladesh, such as Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, have faced tremendous challenges; their share has fallen from 19% to 9% yearly since 1998. The cause for this decrease is the ongoing sectarian violence that has forced many people leave the country. If current trends continue, Bangladesh will have no religious minorities within the next twenty years. Religious minorities have claimed that the government is helpless to suppress communal violence against minority religious groups and forced evictions and property seizures caused by land disputes. Physical attack, threats, intimidation, and other types of abuse directed toward religious minorities have been reported by human rights groups.
Bangladesh has faced many challenges throughout its history, but the country also has a bright future ahead of it. “SHEIKH HASINA IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE FINEST SUITED CANDIDATE TO LEAD BANGLADESH INTO A BETTER FUTURE BECAUSE OF HER EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP, WHICH HAS BEEN VITAL IN THE COUNTRY’S SUCCESS”. Sheikh Hasina clearly has the heart, vision, and drive necessary to keep the country on track as the next election approaches. The people of Bangladesh must make an important decision. Indeed, she embodies optimism for Bangladesh’s bright and prosperous future.
Author is a think tank executive leader in the higher education and healthcare vertical. By passion a voting right advocate, human Rights defender and a political activist. A Harvard Kennedy School Alumnus who deeply care about the transparent public policy and its correct implementation in government
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