South-South in Action: Citizen-Friendly Public Service Innovation in Bangladesh

March 13, 2019

This publication on Bangladesh’s experiences in development is special in the context of South-South cooperation. Bangladesh is generally considered one of the smaller countries in South Asia. However, this publication captures the massive gains made by the country despite challenges ranging from pre-independence war, the world’s densest population and frequent natural disasters. Bangladesh met most of the Millennium Development Goal targets well ahead of schedule and its economy has grown at an average rate of 6 per cent per annum. Through experimentation and innovation in the areas of poverty reduction, disaster mitigation and economic management, Bangladesh’s role in innovation gained momentum and respect from development partners over the years.

In the last decade, Bangladesh borrowed ideas from other countries, adapted them and scaled up implementation to benefit millions of its 161 million citizens in the area of public service innovations. The gains from these innovations are quantifiable in terms of time and resources. The innovations described in this publication show the potency of digitized public service reforms in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goals 16 and 17.

This publication illustrates the central tenet of South- South cooperation, which to some is only a politically correct statement, that all countries have something to offer. Bangladesh has plenty to offer and more. The case studies included will enable the reader to easily adapt what was done and to seek technical assistance from the people best qualified to provide it in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the publication shows that sharing knowledge with Bangladesh is a worthwhile investment. In the case of public service reforms, the country borrowed pieces of innovation from many partners to develop a wholesome programme that many developing countries are now adapting.

In the publication, Bangladesh also presents a model or South-South cycle from adaptation to diffusion of experiences akin to the project cycle. I congratulate Bangladesh on this very useful contribution to South- South cooperation and hope that you will find it as interesting as I did.