Governor Talk - Bangladesh: Bangladesh and Regional Insights - A Path Towards Recovery

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Speaker

Fazle Kabir

Governor of Bangladesh Bank

Mr. Kabir has been serving as the Governor of the Bangladesh Bank since March 20, 2016. Before joining the central bank, he had a long and distinguished career in the civil service. He started his professional career in the Bangladesh Civil Service in 1980, subsequently serving in key policymaking capacities in several ministries, including as the Director General of the National Academy for Planning and Development and the Rector of the BCS Administration Academy and Secretary in the Ministry of Railways. During 2012-2014, as Finance Secretary he negotiated Bangladesh's Extended Credit Facility program with the IMF. He also served as a Director in the BB Board. Prior to joining as Governor, he was holding the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sonali Bank Limited, the largest State-owned commercial bank in Bangladesh. Governor Kabir holds a Masters degree in Economics from Chittagong University, Bangladesh.

Moderator

Changyong Rhee

Director Asia and Pacific Department, IMF

Changyong Rhee is the Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, where he oversees the Fund’s work on the region, including its lending operations and bilateral and multilateral surveillance of economies ranging from China, Japan, and India to the Pacific Islands.

Prior to joining the IMF in February 2014, Mr. Rhee was Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB); Secretary General and Sherpa of the Presidential Committee for the 2010 G-20 Seoul Summit; Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission of Korea; professor of economics at Seoul National University and the University of Rochester. He has also been a frequent policy advisor to the Government of Korea, including in the Office of the President, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Bank of Korea, the Korea Securities Depository, and the Korea Development Institute.

Mr. Rhee has published widely in the fields of macroeconomics, financial economics, and on the Korean economy. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and an undergraduate honors degree from Seoul National University, both in economics.

Summary

Key Points:

  • Focus. Bangladesh, along with other countries in the region, has been hit hard by the pandemic. The crisis response, centered on fiscal and monetary policy measures, was unprecedented. While the outlook for the region is positive amid the reopening and progress on vaccination programs, the recovery remains uneven and subject to risks. The talk focused on lessons from Bangladesh’s crisis response, and policies needed to support a stronger recovery and ensure faster income convergence.
  • Conclusion. Countries in the region should avoid abrupt policy reversals. Policies should aim to address income inequality and rising debt levels. Risks from the normalization of US monetary policy should be carefully managed. Keeping inflation within targeted levels may require that some central banks consider a partial withdrawal of the current monetary stimulus.

Quotes:

A well-justified vaccination distribution program is required to ensure faster and stable recovery in the region.” Fazle Kabir

The appropriate time and pace of unwinding the stimulus packages has to be decided cautiously. Fazle Kabir

One of the factors that will decide the speed of recovery is oil prices and inflationary pressures.Changyong Rhee

Contributor: Mentor Mehmedi, IMF, Secretary’s Department

Photos