The three-day long “Bangladesh Economics Summit” organised by Economics Study Center on the theme of “Inclusive growth and sustainable livelihood: In Bangladesh Perspective” began with the opening ceremony on 31st October 2019 at Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury Auditorium, Social Science Building, University of Dhaka. The chief guest of the opening ceremony was Dr. K.A.S. Murshid, Director General, Bangladesh Institute for Development Studies. He encouraged and inspired students to go into the field of research over civil service or banks. “Research is good, especially if you want to make a contribution to knowledge,” he said.
The three-day long summit had various segments including six panel discussions, paper presentation competition and a policy debate. In the paper presentation competition, six of the best papers were chosen for presentation among those that were submitted for consideration.
The panel discussions had diverse themes surrounding the central theme of inclusive growth and sustainable livelihood. The panel discussion focused on issues like quality education, institutions and good governance, women empowerment, healthcare, youth entrepreneurship and skill development and inequality. Academicians and professionals from relevant fields chaired and participated as panellists in the discussions about these crucial issues that need addressing for appropriate policy making in the country. Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, Professor of Economics, University of Dhaka said during the panel discussion on women empowerment, “Over time with structural transformation, for instance in the RMG sector, there has been a change in male labour participation but females have not reaped the benefits of the said transformation. Most women are employed in low productive jobs and only 12% of working women hold managerial positions.” Dr. Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said during the panel discussion on youth entrepreneurship and skill development, “About 17% of the Bangladeshi population is youth population which despite the huge demographic dividend, hasn’t been utilised to its full potential yet. What’s even more alarming is that about 10.6% of the youth population is still unemployed.”
All of the panellists have emphasised on the role of the government and good governance. Dr M M Akash, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka said during a panel discussion, “Although the lack of good governance seems like an unsolvable problem, it actually is not. This can be done by teaching people in the lower hierarchy to question and challenge any corruption in the upper hierarchy.”
On 2nd November, the last day of the summit, a policy debate was organised where students and young professionals participated on the motion ‘This house believes that the economic future of the people of Bangladesh is uncertain’.
The chief guest of the closing ceremony was Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, Chairperson, BRAC Bangladesh and Executive Chairperson, Power and Participation Research Centre. The special guests were Professor Dr. M M Akash and Professor Dr. Sayema Haque Bidisha. Dr. Zillur Rahman said, “The students’ intellectual leadership defines the quality of education in any institution and the organisers of BES have proved so.” The summit ended with distributing prizes to the winners of the paper presentation and essay competitions.