Bangladesh, where number of rich and poor increases parallelly


Bangladesh is the top listed country in the world in terms of quickest growth in number of ultra-wealthy people. Although the country was positioned third in terms of quickest growth in the number of high net-worth individuals (HNW), number of ultra-poor is not less.

According to the World Bank report titled ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperty-2018’, Bangladesh still has 24.1 million ultra-poor people and it ranked fifth on the list of the highest number of such people in the world.

The country's high net worth (HNW) population with a net worth of $1 million to $30 million will expand by a compound annual rate of 11.4 percent between now and 2023, showed New York-based research firm Wealth-X inaugural High Net Worth Handbook 2019. The 10 fastest-growing HNW population countries, Bangladesh is ahead of Vietnam, Poland, China, Kenya, India, the Philippines and Ukraine.

In its report, the World Bank says that many countries that have suffered high poverty numbers (like Bangladesh) are moving towards lower middle-income country status. “With this growth, most of the ultra-poor have also moved from being in low-income countries to being in middle-income countries, and nearly two-thirds of the world's poor people now reside in middle-income countries.”

The number of world’s people living in extreme poverty stood at 736 million in 2015, down from nearly 2 billion in 1990, said the report.

India has the highest number (175.7 million) of ultra-poor people. The second is Nigeria (86.5 million), third country is Congo (55.1 million), fourth Ethiopia (27.0 million), fifth Bangladesh (24.4 million), Tanzania (21.9 million), Kenya (17.6 million), Madagascar (18.8 million), Mozambique (17.4 million), Indonesia (18.5  million).

According to the purchasing power parity (PPP), whose daily income is less than US$1.90 are considered as ‘ultra-poor’. Internationally it is also considered as poverty line. Based on US$ value in the year 2016, the World Bank has estimated PPP. In Bangladesh, the PPP has been valued around Tk 32. According to that 21.41 million people in Bangladesh cannot earn Tk 61.60 daily, said the report.

Although Bangladesh has already entered the list of low middle income countries, it is still enjoying the World Bank grants as a low-income country. If people of lower middle income countries are to rise above the poverty line, they will have to earn at least $ 3.2 a PPP daily. The World Bank says, in this way, the number of ultra-poor people in Bangladesh will rise to 80.62 million. And the poverty rate will rise to 52.9 percent. In order to eliminate poverty, Bangladesh will have to arrange works for at least 60.21 million people as they can earn US$3 a day, the report suggested.

For Bangladesh to reach the goal of “zero poverty”, it is estimated that by 2030, Bangladesh will have to reduce poverty rate to three percent over the next decade, and as per BBS data, at present the country has 11.3 percent extremely poor people.

Meanwhile, according to the earlier report of Wealth-X published in September 2108, it put Bangladesh on top of the list of the countries that saw the quickest growth in the number of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) population with a 17.3 percent growth during the 2012-17 period.

It defines HNW individuals as those with a net worth of $1 million to $30 million and those worth more than $30 million are classified as UHNW.

HNW individuals are defined as people with investable assets up to $30 million, usually excluding personal assets and property such as a primary residence, collectibles and consumer durables.

In 2018, the world’s HNW population rose by 1.9 percent to 22.4m people, an increment below the rate of global economic growth, said the report adding that their combined wealth also grew by 1.8 percent to $61.3trn.

In terms of richest concentration of rich people, the top 10 countries are US (8.68m UHNW population), China (1.88m), Japan (1.62m), Germany (1.02m), UK (893,905), France (877,380), Canada (505,010), South Korea (476,705), Australia (473,600) and Italy (418,090).

The World Bank report also revealed that the share of the world’s population in extreme poverty has plummeted from 42 percent in 1981 to 10 percent in 2015. Poverty fell not only proportionally but in absolute terms as well: The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 1.17 billion between 1981 and 2015, even as the global population grew by almost three billion.

  • Bangladesh, where number of rich and poor increases parallelly
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  • Reaz Haider
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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