Bangladesh: Supporting Bottom-Up Demand for Democratic Governance Through Private Sector Mobilization Against Corruption

25 February 2021

Corruption has remained an endemic problem in Bangladesh for the past decades. Pervasive corruption has created stumbling blocks for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which contribute 30% to the GDP and 87% of employment, to thrive and use their full potentials to contribute to the governance. The private sector, particularly the SME, faces an adverse situation due to the absence of inclusivity and lack of means to influence the economic and governance policies. The disconnect between the policymakers and SMEs is greater when the SME and entrepreneurs are located outside the capital. Their voices and concerns regarding corruption and the consequences of a weak democracy, based on their regular experiences seldom find a voice at the national level.The ongoing pandemic has on the one hand laid bare the extent of corruption in the country, while on the other hand exposed the vulnerability of the SMEs and the absence of their voices in the policy making.

To support inclusive and transparent governance in Bangladesh by empowering the private sector and economic reformers to increase the space for participation, the Centre of Governance Studies with the help of Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) initiated a project what will assess the state of corruption at the grassroots levels and its impacts on the private sector, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),  organize private sector-led regional Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and a National Dialogue on the role of the private sector in promoting an inclusive, transparent and corruption-free system of governance, and develop an action plan to address these issues.