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Bangladesh moves up to lower-middle income group

WT24 Desk

Bangladesh has moved up to lower-middle income status from low-middle income group, according to the World Bank’s (WB) latest estimates of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, released on Wednesday in Washington DC, agencies report.  “The World Bank’s latest estimates of Gross National Income per capita (GNI) continue to show improved economic performance in many low-income countries, with Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar and Tajikistan now becoming lower-middle income countries, joining those with annual incomes of $1,046 to $4,125”, a WB statement released here today (Thursday) said.

According to the latest World Bank Atlas method updated annually on July 1, 10 countries move up in income bracket. “While we need to measure development progress in different ways, income-based measures, such as GNI, remain the central yardstick for assessing economic performance,” said Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President.

On basis of GNI, the World Bank categories countries in four groups: low income, lower-middle income, higher middle and higher income country.  A country is categorised as a low income one if its GNI is less than $1,045, lower-middle income country if the GNI is $1,046-$4,125, higher-middle income when the GNI is $4,126-$12,735 and higher income country if the GNI is more than $12,735.

The WB recognises a country as a middle-income nation once it maintains an average per capita income of $1045 for at least three years in a row.  Official figures show Bangladesh not only maintained the minimum requirement of the per capita income in the past consecutive three years, but also achieved a phenomenal rise in the GNI in the just concluded financial year. The country’s per capita income soared at $1,314 at end of the immediate past 2014-15 financial year (FY25) when it was $1,190 in 2013-14 (FY14) and $1,154 in 2012-13 (FY13).

The WB in its latest economic update said Bangladesh economy was moving forward despite internal and external challenges. It attributed the strength and the progress of the economy to the job-friendly growth momentum in 2014, proven economic resilience, sustained surplus in the overall balance of payments and structural reforms and fiscal policy those were consistent with macroeconomic stability.

The new WB figures also show Mongolia and Paraguay have moved from lower middle-income status to upper middle-income group while Argentina, Hungary, Seychelles and Venezuela have moved from the upper middle income category to high income. Beset by civil war and a national oil industry at a standstill, South Sudan has fallen out of the lower middle-income classification and back into low-income status.

The new GNI per capita rankings show that Maldives and Mongolia were the highest movers in the rankings – up 13 and 8 places, respectively. Oman and Timor-Leste fell most from their 2013 ranking – down 15 places for both.

Malawi has the world’s lowest reported GNI per capita at $250, while Monaco has the highest, at more than $100,000 – more than 400 times more per person on average than Malawi. In 1990, Malawi’s GNI per capita was $180- in 24 years its average per-capita income has increased by just $70. In the same period Norway, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, has seen its per capita income increase from $26,010 to $103,050, an increase of $77,040.

Some countries have also made remarkable progress. In 1990, Vietnam was a low-income country at the bottom of the rankings, with a GNI per capita of $130. Today, the country is reliably lower-middle income, with a GNI per capita of $1,890 – moving up more than 50 places in the rankings over the last 25 years.

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