Over the past few decades, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in raising incomes, reducing poverty and improving social indicators. The economy faced numerous challenges on various fronts: the global economic downturn of 2008-09 and a series of natural disasters to which Bangladesh is regularly susceptible that caused disruptions to economic activity. Owing to the exemplary resilience of its hardworking population, the country continues to make significant strides even under heavy odds, and, in 2015, Bangladesh was classified by the World Bank as a lower middle income country.
The Government’s Vision 2021 defines several economic and social outcomes for Bangladesh to achieve by 2021. To convert this Vision into long-term development targets, a Perspective Plan 2010-2021 was prepared. The targets of Vision 2021 and the associated Perspective Plan 2010-2021 were to be achieved through the implementation of two five-year plans, the Sixth Five Year Plan (2011-15) and the Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020). The 6th FYP made solid progress in increasing per capita income and reducing poverty through a strategy of pro-poor economic growth.
Without deviating from the main thrust of the 6th FYP, the 7th FYP articulates new strategies, institutions and policies, while strengthening existing ones, to complete the remaining agenda of achieving the social and economic outcomes of the Vision 2021 and the Perspective Plan. The Government recognizes that in a market economy like Bangladesh, where the bulk of the economy is privately owned and managed, the role of planning is essentially indicative and strategic in nature, aimed at stimulating the private sector. Nevertheless, there is an important complementary role for public investment programmes, particularly in areas where private investment will not happen. The planning process therefore involves focus on policies and programmes to support the private sector and to also formulate a strong medium-term public investment programme.