Grameen and the Politics of Development in Bangladesh

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Abstract

Bangladesh is one of the countries with a thriving political culture, vibrant civil society and a huge development sector, yet struggling with the issues of persisting poverty as a substantial majority still lives below the poverty line. The development sector has largely maintained an apolitical posture focusing on expanding their outreach, commercial enterprises and access to donor assistance. As a consequence of new economic realities and dynamics of financial markets at local and global level, the sector is increasingly being pushed to expand its influence in the local power structures, thus shifting the nature of their relationship—from a non-engaged to an actively engaged relationship with the state. This article would argue that the increasing commercial/entrepreneurial activities are reshaping the development sector in Bangladesh, even overhauling the dynamics of the socio-economic and political scene. As these not-for-profit organisations are entering into a state-regulated sector, in which other actors (business houses) are already operating, lobbying to protect similar commercial interests, there are contestations around regulatory regimes and political agency in policy-making arenas. Recent controversy around Yunus’s role in the Grameen Bank is indicative of the shifting nature of developmental politics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-230
Number of pages16
JournalIndia Quarterly
Volume68
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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