Status of the Bangladesh Economy

Posted on January 16, 2010

Jyothi Nair:

Bangladesh, one of the poorest and least-developed economies in Asia, has set the target to become a middle income country by 2020.

In 2008, the country was ranked as the 48th largest economy in the world, with a GDP of US$224.889 billion. In the fiscal year 2009, its per capita income increased to US$621, with an increase of US$62 from the previous year. Bangladesh is a third world country gets influenced by the global economy but is unable to cope up with the technological advancements that take place around the globe.

Currently, the country’s economy is strongly supported by agriculture and labor-intensive manufacturing which mainly includes garment industries. Growth in agriculture and service sectors provides significant contribution to the nation’s development.

This rich, deltaic, fertile land is bestowed with mild, tropical climate and warm temperature. More than half of the country’s population depends on farming for its livelihood. Bangladesh is one among the world’s leading producers of jute and rice. Tea, jute and wheat are some other crops which the farmers mainly depend on. Thus, the agricultural sector provides employment for a large number of people.

The situation is similar in garment industries in the case of employment opportunities. Although agriculture is the backbone of Bangladeshi economy, unfortunately, natural calamities such as cyclones, floods and droughts are a curse for this piece of land. Fishing is yet another important income source.

Garment and textile industries are the main source of foreign income. Regrettably, the country is encountering a recession in terms of industrial growth.

Coal mining and tourism are other sectors which have a say in Bangladesh’s economy. The country has also engaged in several trade agreements with foreign countries. It also invites foreign investments.

In the recent years, public investments, which once highly contributed to the country’s economic growth, have shrunk significantly.

Population explosion, massive poverty, corruption, economic crisis, unemployment and impact of government policies on rural and urban labor markets are the obstacles that affect the nation’s development negatively. For instance, population growth in this seventh most populous country pulls down the country’s per capita income. Moreover, corruption directly and indirectly manipulates the country’s outlook, in the areas of politics and business.

Inadequate infrastructure and health facilities also add to this scenario.

Similar to other Asian countries, Bangladesh is also a victim of brain-drain. It hampers the country’s progress. The most significant resource, human capital, is flowing out of the country to developed economies.

Unequal distribution of wealth is yet another dilemma faced by the country. With the nation’s development, income of the rich increases whereas the poor slide down to the most deprived stage. This results in creating an unequal society with a wide gap between the rich and the poor. The fact that unequal societies are vulnerable to many social problems and violence is clearly witnessed in the social order of Bangladesh.

For further development, the country needs to narrow down the income disparity between people before promoting sustainable growth in every sector.

As every other nation Bangladesh dreams of becoming a developed economy.

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