Volume 25, No.2, April 2004

 

DEEPENING COOPERATION IN THE BIMST-EC: A CASE FOR TRANSPORT INTEGRATION

by Prabir De and Buddhadeb Ghosh

Prabir De is Research Associate at Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi, India. His email is: prabirde@hotmail.com . Buddhadeb Ghosh, Ph.D. is Visiting Research Fellow at Institute of Developing Economies (JETRO), Chiba, Japan, and Associate Scientist Economic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolcutta, India. Authours would like to thank Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Director General, RIS for his useful comments on an earlier draft.

        The growth of regional trading blocs has been one of the major developments in international relations in recent years. The major contributing factor to rising regional integration has been improved integrated infrastructure systems which have facilitated nesting of regional and/or sub-regional markets. This paper argues that the scale of intra-regional infrastructure disparity in BIMST-EC is quite significant resulting in wider scope for stronger economic interdependence in the region. The paper concludes that a stronger and desirable intra-regional trade is contingent upon improved transport network among BIMST-EC countries.

 

POTENTIALS OF TRADE COOPERATION AMOMG THE BIMST-EC COUNTRIES

by AKM Atiqur Rahman and Shamsur Rahman

A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman, Ph.D. is Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Economics, North South University, Dhaka. His e-mail: akmatiq@nothsouth.edu. Mr. Shamsur Rahman, former Senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies(BIISS), Dhaka, is currently, Chief Ecmomist, Japan Bank for International Cooperation(JBIC), Dhaka Office, Dhaka. His e-mail: shams19@hotmail.com. Paper presented at the Dialogue on Sub-regional Cooperation among the BIMST-EC Countries and the Role of Japan, organized by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and the Japan Study Center, Dhaka University on March 11-12, 2002, with assistance from the Asia Center of the Japan Foundation, Tokyo.

          One of the recent initiatives in regional economic cooperation has been the economic cooperation arrangement among five Indian Ocean rim countries, viz Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, which is known as BIMST-EC. The present paper makes a preliminary attempt to examine the trade potential among the BIMST-EC countries. The paper observes that currently intra BIMST-EC trade is quite low, major trading partners of the BIMST-EC countries being the developed world. A gravity model analysis reveals that although bilateral export exceeds potential export in few cases, total export to BIMSTEC countries is lower than potential export for each of the five countries. Although trade complementarities among the BIMST-EC countries are not that strong, it is quite good in consideration of low variation in per capita income. Furthermore, there is wide variation in the nature of products exported from BIMSTEC countries in terms of resource base of the products, providing some indirect evidence of complementarities. Hence, freer trade among the BIMST-EC countries would have trade creating effect. However, expansion of trade and cementing economic cooperation is largely contingent upon appropriate trade facilitating measures and strong political will.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES IN BANGLADESH: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

by A.B.M. Ziaur Rahman

Mr. A.B.M. Ziaur Rahman is a Research Officer at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies(BIISS), Dhaka. His e-mail: zia@biiss.org, abmzr@ hotmail.com

           Electricity for all of the population by 2020 is a constitutional commitment and a vision of the successive governments in Bangladesh. However, the present state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution does not make the vision realisable by 2020. This has resulted in creating social, economical and environmental problems. In this regard, renewable energy supply through off-grid systems can be an appropriate tool for meeting the energy supply in the rural areas of the country. The paper identifies the problems in promoting renewable energy technologies (RETs), assesses the potentials of different RETs and discusses their opportunities.

URBAN GOVERNANCE IN BANGLADESH: EXPLORING THE CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

by Mallik Akram Hossain and AKM Ahsan Ullah

Mr. Mallik Akram Hossain, Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Studies, Rajshahi University, is currently, a Ph.D. Student in the Centre for Urban Planning and Environmental Management, University of Hongkong, E-mail: ahmallik@yahoo.com. Mr. AKM Ahsan Ullah is a doctoral student, Dept of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong. E-mail: ahsan722000@yahoo.com

          Bangladesh, an emerging democratic country in the developing world, has been facing rapid urbanization over the past decades. This has posed tremendous pressures on existing urban basic services delivery. The traditional approach to urban services has not been successful in meeting the demands of urbanities. For smooth functioning of urban government, practice of good governance, which goes beyond the urban government, has not yet been institutionalized. Focusing evolution and theorization of urban governance this paper has explored the legal and institutional basis of the urban local governance. Also attempted to identify some contemporary issues, which are crucial for good urban governance. The hallmarks of good governance such as decentralization, conflict of power, participation, coordination, transparency and accountability; and corruption have critically been discussed. Of course, there is no alternative to ensuring a practice of good governance for a sustainable city.