Maximising Demographic Dividend for Bangladesh: Policy Support, Investment Requirements to Transform the Opportunity into Reality


Mohammad Ibrahim Khalil

Partha Sarathee Ghosh

Syed Asrarul Haque

Journal: Bangladesh Journal of Political Economy

(pp: 143-156) | Doi No: http:/



Bangladesh’s economy is among the highest growing economies in the globe. In the last two decades, the country has been within the steady economic growth, significantly eradicating poverty. From recent economic activities and performance, it is assumed that the growth will continue and further accelerate in the coming years, where Bangladesh dreams of entering into the list of developed countries by 2041. Alongside, the country is showing its shining face to improve the human development index. Over a few decades, the decline in fertility and mortality rates and subsequent increase in the number of working- age population offered the country an opportunity for accelerated economic growth. The advantage of having more working-age people with sufficient creation of work for them can contribute to accelerated economic growth; the economists optimistically termed it a “Demographic Dividend”. So, how will this demographic dividend transform Bangladesh tomorrow- that is a matter of great concern. Reaping the benefits of demographic dividend is not guaranteed or automatic. It all depends on how much the country invests in critical areas like education, health, nutrition, infrastructure, good governance etc. and whether or not there is an environment suitable for young people to contribute to the country’s socio-economic growth and development. There are challenges to reap the benefits of demographic dividends-including prioritising expanding the labour market and creating mass employment through appropriate economic policies, focusing on the youth as development targets, eliminating/reducing the apparent gender gap in labour force participation, employment rates, wages and economic opportunities, job creation in rural areas, human resource development (ensuring good health, quality  education,  skill  development).To  overcome  the challenges towards realising the window of opportunity created from the demographic dividend, the country needs decisive policies, investing in youth and skill development, enhancing health services, generating mass employment in the rural and formal sector, reducing gender gaps in education, employment, skills and in the labour markets. This paper incorporates the present status    of the country’s demographic benefits and how it will transform in the future. Identification of the challenges for utilising the potential of the youth population and analysing the policy support and investment areas to ensure reaping the more significant benefits of demographic dividend are also discussed in this paper.



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