The story of Bangladesh is a complex one, with multiple layers and a rich cast of characters. Its developmental journey has been remarkable and needs to be understood as a sum of its parts – but not all sectors grab the headlines they deserve. As the country looks to rebound from the global pandemic, policymakers need to revisit their assumptions, and take a more detailed look at who and what makes Bangladesh tick.

In this issue of WhiteBoard, MA Razzaque explains why the importance of agriculture will not diminish even as Bangladesh consolidates its position as a middle-income country. He shows how key policy decisions over the past 50 years have transformed the sector into an engine for growth and poverty alleviation. The future in the sector includes precision agriculture, increased foreign investment and bold new partnerships.

Asif Munier tells the story of the dalal, or middleman, in labour migration. He examines the opportunities and challenges involved in creating a legal space for the dalal to operate in. Meanwhile, Asha Sen, Bazlur Rahman and Ashish Chandra Sen provide a multi-country perspective on how community radio can prove a powerful tool not just for grassroots empowerment but also for good governance. With a growing following, especially among youth, community radio represents an untapped resource that can act as a strong two-way communication tool between rural communities and the government.

Middle-income status will bring with it a new and complex set of reporting standards, and Mariha Tahsin goes in search of good data to see if the country is ready. Anne Marieke Mooij and Shahrima Tanjin present a different perspective on growth, and ask whether inflation represents a threat to human rights.

Our new Industry Insight segment features a contribution by Bickey Russell and his team at Kormo platform of Google. This looks at the data from Bangladesh, India and Indonesia to see how rapidly job-seeking in the informal sector is moving towards a digital-first approach.

The global pandemic has shown that decision makers need data, expert analysis, and fresh perspectives more than ever before. Here at WhiteBoard, we hope to provide a space for these new voices to emerge.

Radwan Mujib Siddiq
Radwan Mujib Siddiq is a trustee of the Centre for Research and Information. He is a strategy consultant and youth advocate. He is also the patron of ground-breaking political history projects such as the graphic novel Mujib and Hasina: A Daughter's Tale, a docu-film. He advises various international organizations and government agencies on strategy and communications. He pursued his graduate studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.