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Bangladesh's poverty reduction rate among leading S. Asian nations
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13:39, August 28, 2007

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The rate of poverty reduction in Bangladesh is one of the best in South Asia, a World Bank report was quoted by local newspaper The Daily Star as saying on Tuesday.

According to the report, during the years 2000-2005, Bangladesh 's rate of annual average poverty reduction secured second position among other South Asian countries, falling behind that of India.

This was revealed at a workshop organized by the World Bank Monday in Dhaka.

Comparing the annual average rate of growth in GDP with the annual rate of poverty reduction for each country, the report said growth in Bangladesh appears to have been more pro-poor than other South Asian countries -- with Nepal being an exception.

"Bangladesh now has one of the fastest rates of poverty reduction in South Asia," said Xian Zhu, country director of the World Bank.

In his speech, Zhu explained that 57 percent of the country's population was living below the poverty line in 1991 and the rate of poverty came down to 49 percent in the year 2000.

Over the period of 2000 to 2005, the rate further declined and settled down to 40 percent as around 6 million people were helped out of poverty, he added.

However, some economists disagreed with the findings in the report, stating that the report only considered economic growth to claim reduction of poverty, but the issue of increasing social discrimination during the same period should also be considered.

Some raised questions about the nature and quality of data in the report, as the number of samples used in the survey, was too few in comparison with other countries of the region.

Source: Xinhua

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