Rizwan Khair reviews the reasons he thinks civil service reform had not taken place in Bangladesh. He argues that the mindset of government leaders and the senior civil servants was risk averse and that Bangladesh was stuck in the mindset of the old colonial civil service, with its emphasis on seniority rather than performance. He believes that the development of Bangladesh in a globalized world economy requires that a premium be set on performance, accountability and innovation in the civil service. He suggests that international donors had not been persistent enough in pressing for civil service reform in Bangladesh. More importantly, he calls for his country to look at reforms in Malaysia and India to see why Bangladesh must follow suit in order to build its long-term future.
At the time of this interview, Rizwan Khair was academic coordinator at the Institute of Governance Studies in Bangladesh. He was seconded from the civil service in 2006 to oversee the Masters in Governance and Development program at the institute. After working in a private bank for four years following his graduation from university, he entered the civil service, where he worked initially in the field before joining the Ministry of Finance's Economic Relations Division. He then transferred to the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, where he worked for six years before moving to the institute.