After five decades since its independence, Bangladesh is about to become a middle-income country. To benefit from the changes that are taking place in our demographics at such a time, we need to increase investment in children and youth.
We know that by 2029, 7 per cent of our total population will be elderly, and by 2048, 14 per cent will comprise of elderly people. This means that very soon our society will become an elderly society. With such changes in demographics, today's generation needs to be three to four times more efficient than now to deal with the social challenges of the coming times.
Increased investment is therefore urgently required on the education, health, sanitation, nutrition, social security and technical skills of young people. And most importantly, all children, be they from urban or remote rural areas must be given the opportunity to equally benefit from this investment.
At the same time, we must also keep in mind that women's participation in the labour market is only 36 per cent in our country, which is a major obstacle to achieving a social and economic equality. Investments are needed to ensure a safe environment for women and promote their increased participation in the workplace.
We must all remember that investing in children is not a favour, but a practical step towards a secure future for Bangladesh.