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LDC to Developing Country: 

Beginning of the End

Introduction

The month March is extremely important 
for our nation. This year, March has got 
more importance for two different reasons. 
Firstly, the historic 7th March has been 
celebrated with new color and dimension. 
As we know, the Father of the Nation 
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman 
delivered an earth-shattering speech which 
was an eye-opening declaration for the 
nation that we should stand together. The 
UNESCO has recognized the 7th March 
Speech of Bangabandhu as part of the 
world’s documentary heritage. This 18 
minute speech has inspired not only the 
20,000 people who were present on the 
Ramna Race Course but also the whole 
nation to take part in liberation war and free 

our country from the enemy. The speech 
was so comprehensive that it was in fact 
the main inspiration of our independence. 
Secondly, Bangladesh has been graduated 
to a Developing Country from a Least 
Developed Country (LDC) which is a 
milestone towards our development vision. 
Bangladesh, the largest LDC in terms of 
population and economic size, is likely to 
leave the LDC category by 2024, propelled 
by better health and education, lower 
vulnerability and an economic boom.

The graduation process has just begun. The 
Committee for Development and Policy 
(CDP) in its Triennial Assessment meeting, 
held at the UN on March 16, cleared 
Bangladesh’s eligibility for graduation. 
Bangladesh is the only country that has 

met all the three criteria at the same time 
for becoming eligible to graduate from 
the LDC bloc. But it will have to pass two 
more reviews in 2021 and 2024 to get out 
of the list. This achievement is a formal 
international recognition of Bangladesh’s 
development progress. Earlier in 2015, 
the country was promoted from a ‘lower-
income country’ to a ‘lower middle-income 
country’. Undoubtedly, the UN recognition 
has more significance than the World 
Bank classification. The WB’s income 
classification is based only on the countries’ 
Gross National Income (GNI) per capita 
in current prices where the UN countries 
are categorized on various indicators. 
Let me clarify the difference between the 
classifications of the UN and the WB.

For information, presently, there are 31 
low income countries and 47 LDCs in 
the atlas. According to the WB definition, 
Bangladesh is a Lower Middle-Income 

Country while the UN declared it as a 
Developing Country. 

The Istanbul Program of Action set a goal 
in 2011 to reduce the number of LDCs by 

half by 2020. A number of Asia-Pacific 
LDCs, including Bhutan, Nepal, Lao PDR 
followed by Bangladesh and Myanmar, 
appear to be moving quite rapidly towards 

by: Mustafa Murshed

The UNESCO has recognized the 7th March Speech of Bangabandhu as part of the world’s 

documentary heritage. This 18 minute speech has inspired not only the 20,000 people who 

were present on the Ramna Race Course but also the whole nation to take part in liberation 

war and free our country from the enemy.

EXPERT’S INSIGHT

The WB classification of countries

The UN classification of countries

1) 

Low Income Country (per capita GNI $1,045 or less)

1) Least Developed Country

2) 

Middle Income Country

a) 

Lower Middle Income Country (per capita GNI from $ 1026 to 

4035)

b) 

Upper Middle Income Country (per capita GNI from $ 4036 to 

12475)

2)  Developing Country

3)  Developed Country

3) 

High Income Country (per capita GNI above $ 12,476)