US can look to Bangladesh as a model to cut poverty
Bangladesh has much to teach the world on how to engineer progress, says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof

Bangladesh can be a shining example of poverty reduction for the United States, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof.

In his opinion piece for The New York Times, Kristof said the richest and most powerful country in history had accepted astonishing levels of child poverty, which was one of the biggest moral blemishes on the US.

“With final legislative approval of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Wednesday, the US has decided to scrub at that stain,” he remarked.

If the measures included in the plan were made permanent, child poverty could be halved, as suggested by a Columbia University study, mentioned Kristof. 

The US journalist then shifted his attention to Bangladesh: “To understand the returns that are possible, let’s look to lessons from halfway around the world.”

He writes: “Bangladesh was born 50 years ago this month amid genocide, squalor and starvation. Henry Kissinger famously referred to Bangladesh then as a “basket case”, and horrifying photos from a famine in 1974 sealed the country’s reputation as hopeless.”

Kristof then noted that back in 1991, after covering a devastating cyclone that killed over 100,000 Bangladeshis, he had written an article saying the country was “bountiful primarily in misfortune”.

But his pessimistic views have since been proven wrong as Bangladesh has enjoyed thirty years of remarkable progress.

The columnist continued: “Economic growth rates rose steadily, and for the four years before the current pandemic, Bangladesh’s economy soared by 7 to 8 percent per year, according to the World Bank. That was faster than China’s.”