Diaspora-driven development: how to turn wealth to health in Bangladesh

From Global development | The Guardian Tue Feb 5 2013, 06:00:01

Policymakers need to understand the diaspora and incentivise its involvement in the country's development

Sylhet division in north-east Bangladesh, where around 95% of all British-Bengalis trace their origin to, should in theory be the wealthiest and healthiest part of country. The region receives around US $1bn in remittances every year from expatriate Bengalis in the UK alone.

However, wealth hasn't translated to health in Sylhet. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Sylhet has worse literacy and school enrolment rates than all other regions, child malnutrition rates are well over the WHO emergency threshold of 15%, fertility rates are the highest in the country and expectant mothers are more likely to die during child birth in Sylhet than any other part of Bangladesh.

"While remittances play a significant role in Bangladesh's development, most of it is transferred to individual households rather than to charity or community development," ex-Bangladesh foreign minister Farooq Sobhan explains. "Amongst key concerns are issues of corruption and red tape, the political schism between the Awami League and the Bangladesh National Party, and resulting instability, insecurity and a feeling of not knowing how to help," said Sobhan, who currently heads the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, a research and advocacy organisation that focuses on the growth of private enterprise in Bangladesh.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Africa:   Drama Looms At Africa Cup of Nations (analysis)
allAfrica.com
26 January 2015

With the final round of pool matches under way, one of the major features of the African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea has been the inability of teams to hold onto a lead. [read more]

Nigeria:   Kerry 'Impressed' After Jonathan, Buhari Meetings (news)
Premium Times
26 January 2015

The U.S. government has advised Nigerian politicians to work towards ensuring a peaceful and violence-free February general elections. [read more]

Liberia:   'Just Five Cases of Ebola Left' (news)
Deutsche Welle
24 January 2015

A nurse who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola on British soil has been discharged from hospital after making a complete recovery. It comes as the UN announced just five confirmed Ebola cases ... [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!