While some experts cite poverty as a contributing factor to radicalisation, the vast majority of experts and the literature focus more on political underdevelopment and poor governance; rampant violence, criminality and corruption; non-state service provision by Islamist groups, particularly in education with the expansion of madrassas (religious schools); and the lack of employment and other economic opportunities. Others also highlight dissatisfaction with US/UK foreign policy and struggles with identity.
Investments in poverty reduction in Bangladesh have included a large number of microfinance initiatives. However, microfinance has provoked strong negative reactions by some conservative Islamists, who claim that charging interest and providing women with loans are un-Islamic. In addition, most microfinance programmes in Bangladesh target only the poor or the extreme poor, which does not address the better off segments of society. At a broader level, investments to improve governance and the political dysfunction of Bangladesh are advocated as necessary to promote inclusiveness; and to curb frustrations with unmet expectations and the pull toward radicalisation.