By Sajjad Hossain Sabuj & Tanjim Anwar
DHAKA, Dec 4, 2020 (BSS) – Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland
has called Bangladesh’s past one decade’s of development “incredible
achievements” saying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina deserved its “full credit”.
“Sheikh Hasina deserves full credit for the incredible achievements of her
government since she has been prime minister,” she said in an exclusive
virtual interview with BSS following a high-level dialogue jointly organized
by Bangladesh High Commission in the UK and Commonwealth Secretariat in
London last week.
The top Commonwealth official said many current world leaders may learn
from Sheikh Hasina’s leadership that secured Bangladesh’s positive growth
amid pandemic even while the country was shouldering the burden of over a
million Rohingyas who fled their homeland in Myanmar to evade persecution.
“As the leader (Sheikh Hasina) of a developing country listed as one of
the most vulnerable in the world to natural disasters, her actions
demonstrated that development does not need to come at the cost of our
humanity, and that compassion should be a key feature of leadership,” she
Scotland, who now serves as Commonwealth’s sixth secretary-general added:
“This is a lesson many leaders today can learn from (Sheikh Hasina).”
The dialogue covered the issues, including the Commonwealth’s deeper
engagement with its member states particularly with Bangladesh to help face
the challenges from Covid-19.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal
countries, nearly all former territories of the British Empire. It is home to
2.4 billion people, and includes both advanced economies and developing
The members of the association work together to promote prosperity,
democracy and peace, amplify the voice of small states, and protect the
Apart from lauding Sheikh Hasina’s statesmanship glittering with legacy of
leadership, the Commonwealth top executive talked about wide range of issues
related to Rohingya crisis, equal access to potential COVID-19 vaccine as
well as recovery plan from the current global economic fallout wreaked by the
The Commonwealth secretary-general is the head of the Commonwealth
Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations
since its establishment in 1965.
He or she is responsible for promoting and protecting the Commonwealth’s
values, representing the Commonwealth publicly and the management of the
Referring to IMF (International Monetary Fund) notes, Scotland said
Bangladesh has experienced positive growth rates due to the visionary plans,
action and hard work of the Sheikh Hasina government while many developing
economies experienced negative growth rates.
“I commend Sheikh Hasina and her government for achieving that,” she said.
The Commonwealth secretary-general said Bangladesh has steadily improved
its economic and development prospects, and is expected to graduate from
least developed to developing country status in 2024.
In the last decade alone, she continued, Bangladesh’s economy grew in size
by 188 percent averaging 6-7% growth per year while a key feature of the
country’s economic landscape is ensuring 100 percent ICT access for people at
Scotland said in an increasingly digitalised world this could support
economic growth at community levels and more equitable wealth distribution
through increased access to e-commerce and other digital platforms.
Legacy of Leadership:
The Commonwealth secretary general observed that Sheikh Hasina has been
carrying the legacy of leadership as able daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh.
“I think the seeds for that (Bangladesh’s success) were sown by her (Sheikh
Hasina’s) father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who first foresaw and
advocated a future for an independent and economically viable Bangladesh,”
Scotland said Bangabandhu had faced unenviable and difficult task of
building a new nation from the ashes and destruction of the war for
“It is no accident that he was voted the Greatest Bengali of All Time in
the BBC organised poll in 2002,” she said.
The Commonwealth top executive recalled that Bangabandhu was instrumental
in building the foundations for the modern state of Bangladesh, and for
carving a place for Bangladesh on the international stage, including in the
Commonwealth, which Bangladesh joined in 1972.
A Dominican by nationality, Scotland is the 2nd secretary-general from the
Caribbean islands and the 1st woman to hold the position.