The global shocks of the past two years have shown that a key issue facing policy-makers is how to build resilience. Disease, war and climate change have thrown up challenges that countries, both rich and poor, are struggling to deal with. Bangladesh’s successful response to the covid-19 pandemic surprised many but the country cannot rely simply on more of the same. In this issue of WhiteBoard, we look at a range of policy interventions that can help Bangladesh grow in an era of global uncertainty.

Sonny Leong writes that re-skilling and re-education are essential in creating a modern, adaptable workforce. A technical and vocational education and training (TVET) strategy for emerging industries is the place to start. Nazmul Avi Hossain urges policy-makers to take a closer look at youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) and the return on investment in education to answer two important questions – why is higher education not leading to jobs for young people, especially women?

Mehrin Karim looks at how investing in social protection has helped Bangladesh reduce poverty and move towards a more inclusive growth model. A more data-driven approach, along with increased use of technology, is among the recommendations she presents after examining successful social protection innovations in other countries.

Mustafizur Rahman presents a comprehensive analysis of Bangladesh’s external borrowing and provides some key recommendations for the future. Bangladesh has an impressive track record as a strong ‘debt-carrying country.’ The priority will now be on diversifying financing sources and strengthening the governance framework for foreign-funded projects to ensure debt sustainability.

Tarana Halim makes a strong case for an overhaul of the legal framework governing the creative industries. Introducing out-of-court dispute resolution, closing legal loopholes and digitalising the redressal process are among the recommendations presented to allow the industry to flourish. Shariful Islam charts out a course for Bangladesh to ensure peace and prosperity in the Bay of Bengal and so that the country can emerge as an important actor in the Indian Ocean area.

There will be many shocks along the way, as Bangladesh moves towards LDC graduation, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and transitioning into an advanced economy. Here at WhiteBoard, we hope to continue debating the most pressing policy areas to help Bangladesh become resilient for the future.

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.