Bangladesh 141st on freedom, 99th on prosperity indexes

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Staff Reporter :
Bangladesh has been categorised as a “mostly unfree” and “mostly unprosperous” nation by the latest global ‘Freedom and Prosperity Report’ released by the US-based think tank, the Atlantic Council.

In the report, Bangladesh has been positioned at 141st among 164 countries on the Freedom Index and 99th on the Prosperity Index, respectively.

The Freedom and Prosperity Indexes, compiled by the Atlantic Council, serve as comprehensive assessments of countries worldwide, evaluating their levels of freedom and prosperity across various political, economic, and social dimensions.

Notably, Bangladesh finds itself among five countries designated as “mostly unfree” on the Freedom Index, alongside Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

The report highlights recent events, particularly the January parliamentary elections, which have solidified a shift towards a “dominant-party” system in Bangladesh, adding complexity to the country’s pursuit of a prosperous future.

On the Prosperity Index, Bangladesh’s ranking of 99th places it ahead of its South Asian counterparts, with India ranking 146th and Pakistan ranking 150th out of the 164 countries assessed.

The Prosperity Index evaluates various factors beyond GDP per capita, encompassing aspects such as health, inequality, environmental conditions, minority rights, and education.

The findings of the report were shared yesterday in Dhaka during a ‘Prosperity and Good Governance Conference’ organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Asia Foundation.

The conference aimed to delve into the implications of the report’s findings and explore avenues for promoting prosperity and good governance in Bangladesh and beyond.

In the broader South and Central Asian region, countries like India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kyrgyzstan are ranked as “mostly free” on the Freedom Index, while Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are classified as “unfree.”

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Bangladesh’s comparative performance on the Prosperity Index underscores the multifaceted challenges and opportunities facing the nation as it navigates its path towards greater freedom and prosperity on the global stage.

Mr. Joseph Lemoine, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Centre, served as the keynote speaker at a recent conference in Dhaka, where he shed light on key findings from the organisation’s latest report.

The report assesses and ranks countries’ democratic and governance indicators through its Freedom Index, as well as their economic well-being via the Prosperity Index.

According to a spokesperson from the US Embassy in Dhaka, the data

reveals a concerning trend for Bangladesh. The country’s Freedom Index, encompassing political, economic, and legal components, has witnessed a continuous decline over the past 22 years.

Addressing the audience, US Ambassador Peter Haas emphasised the critical correlation between freedom and prosperity.

He noted that none of the 164 countries assessed by the Atlantic Council, designated as “mostly unfree” on the Freedom Index, are also ranked as “prosperous.”

mbassador Haas underscored the imperative for Bangladesh to embark on bold initiatives to expand economic, political, and legal freedoms in order to foster prosperity for its people.

The conference served as a platform for various stakeholders, including government officials, civil society representatives, business leaders, donors, academics, and think tanks, to come together and engage in discussions surrounding the implications of the report’s findings.

The diverse participation underscored the importance of collaborative efforts across sectors to address the challenges and opportunities outlined in the report.