With a young population, impressive economic growth and increasing connectivity, Bangladesh is changing rapidly. Transformations are taking place across sectors, with many lessons to be learnt. Quick interventions, quality advice and small tweaks can have big impacts. This is only possible if policy-makers keep a watchful eye on the shifts occurring. Investment in real-time data and rapid analysis capabilities is essential to be able to manage these transformations instead of getting dragged along by them. In this issue of WhiteBoard, we take a look at how Bangladesh can stay one step ahead.

David Lewis and Rebecca Bowers look at how the ‘advicescape’ can play a crucial role in the next phase of Bangladesh’s growth. The nature of entrepreneurship has evolved. In the process, ‘advice’ has played an important, yet often overlooked, part. A shift in focus from livelihood-oriented, small-scale entrepreneurship to boosting small and medium enterprises and startups means that ‘advice ecosystems’ are expanding. Understanding how to leverage these can be of immense support to small businesses.

From the startup scene, the focus shifts to what Geof Wood and Sattar Mandal describe as the ‘new rurality.’ Understanding the transformation taking place across sectors requires investment in research. In Bangladesh, the vast majority of the population still lives outside big cities. In the case of agriculture, agrarian change analysis, not just agricultural productivity analysis, is imperative to enable informed policy debates.

The effects of climate change can be felt across all parts of Bangladesh. The country is at the forefront of climate change adaptation but Saber Chowdhury and Asif Saleh argue that more needs to be done. The country has the tools to become a world leader in the field of adaptation. These tools include the lived experiences of those directly affected by climate change, together with an informed young population. Combining this with a data-driven and whole-of society approach will strengthen the country’s resolve in tackling this global challenge.

Sustainable growth is at the heart of Muhammad Shafiullah and Barira Hossain’s article on ‘slow fashion.’ This may seem counterintuitive at first, given the existing makeup of the garments industry. However, the authors argue that global demand for responsible consumption provides the industry with a unique opportunity to pivot towards an eco-friendly future.

Joyashree Roy and Hasan Mahmud look at how Bangladesh can improve energy efficiency by moving from an ‘energy produced’ to an ‘energy saved’ approach. More skilled professionals and better data usage are among their policy recommendations. Nameer Rahman places Bangladesh in the global hydrogen energy ecosystem, and outlines how the county can benefit from a ‘first mover’ advantage in the region.

The complex nature of the challenges facing decision-makers necessitates a widening of the net when it comes to policy solutions. This will entail new perspectives, informed debates and extra spaces for discussion. Here at WhiteBoard, we will continue to present voices from home and abroad to join the dialogue.

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.