BANGLADESH AN ‘EMERGING ASIAN TIGER’: EGYPTIAN ENVOY

BANGLADESH AN ‘EMERGING ASIAN TIGER’: EGYPTIAN ENVOY

Outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Bangladesh Mahmud Ezzat has said Bangladesh is emerging as an ‘Asian Tiger’ as it has achieved stunning success in its socio-economic grounds recently.

“Bangladesh is as an ‘Asian Tiger’ due to its impressive socioeconomic uplift under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership. Egypt looks forward to learning from Bangladesh’s experiences,” the envoy said. The ambassador came up with the comments on Sunday, when he paid a farewell call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Jatiya Sangsad office here in the morning.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Pointing out Bangladesh’s achievement of 7.05 percent GDP growth in the outgoing fiscal year, Egyptian envoy Ezzat described it as a ‘remarkable success’.

He termed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a ‘charismatic leader,’ saying that the people of Bangladesh have a lot of confidence and trust in the Prime Minister.

Describing the Bangladeshi people as peace-loving ones, the envoy said he was highly impressed with Bangladesh’s natural beauty, and lauded their social tolerance.

The Egyptian Ambassador thanked the Prime Minister for sending a condolence message to the Egyptian President after the recent Egypt aircraft crash in the Mediterranean.

Mentioning the historic ties between Bangladesh and Egypt, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the envoy that the bilateral relationship was founded during the tenure of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and recalled his visit to Egypt.

She also thanked the Egyptian ambassador for extending his cooperation to the government during his tenure as he also worked as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum was present on the occasion.

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JUNE 12, 2016

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RECORD GROWTH IN TOUGH YEAR

RECORD GROWTH IN TOUGH YEAR

Bangladesh has achieved a record economic growth of 7.28 percent in the last fiscal year despite a fall in rice production and also in industrial growth.

The gross domestic product rose by 0.17 percentage points in fiscal 2016-17 from 7.11 percent in the previous fiscal year, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data.

The country attained the feat riding on the faster growth of the service sector. In the final count, the GDP growth increased by 4 basis points from the BBS’ provisional estimate of 7.24 percent.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal unveiled the data of the state-run statistical agency at a press conference at the National Economic Council auditorium yesterday.

Bangladesh secured more than 7 percent GDP growth for the last two consecutive years. “Only three countries, including Bangladesh, achieved such a feat,” he said.

The BBS data shows that the agriculture sector grew 2.97 percent in the last fiscal year, lower than the provisional estimate of 3.4 percent. The growth was 2.79 percent in FY 2015-16.

Flashfloods in the north-eastern haor region during the last Boro season and fungal attack inflicted extensive damages on the agrarian economy.

The BBS data says floods and heavy rainfall caused the rice production to fall by more than nine lakh tonnes to 3.38 crore tonnes in FY 2016-17 compared to the previous fiscal year.

The agriculture sector’s contribution to the GDP is 14.74 percent.

Kamal said the rice production was low because of floods and rains, but the overall growth in the agriculture sector was not negative.

Providing data on other crops, including potato, jute and maize, BBS Secretary KM Mozammel Haque said the overall production of crops has increased.

Contacted, Zahid Hussain, lead economist at the World Bank Dhaka office, said, “I see two significant improvements in the final estimates relative to the provisional estimates. The agricultural growth estimate has been revised down to 2.97 percent, compared with the 3.4 percent in the preliminary estimate.”

“The revision takes much better account of the losses suffered due to haor floods and the blast fungus attack. Second, the statistical discrepancy between the expenditure and value added estimates is reduced from over 1 percent of the GDP in the preliminary estimate to 0.1 percent of the GDP. Private consumption and private investment share in the GDP are correspondingly higher in the final estimate relative to the preliminary estimates,” he noted.

After the BBS provisional estimate was released in May, the World Bank raised questions about it in September. The WB estimated that the GDP would grow by 6.4 percent in fiscal 2016-17.

Yesterday, WB economist Zahid said, “The larger puzzle — the inconsistency between the 7.3 percent GDP growth estimate and the growth related high frequency indicators — remains unresolved.”

He further said, “Public investment to the GDP has increased by 0.75 percentage points in a year when the ADP implementation rate is 3 percentage points lower than last year.

“How could manufacturing growth be nearly 11 percent in a year when LC settlement for import of industrial raw materials grew by only 3.5 percent and exports in nominal dollar terms increased by only 1.7 percent? How could construction grow by nearly 8.8 percent when LC settlement for the import of construction materials declined by 0.5 percent,” he asked.

“There are also directional inconsistencies. For instance, growth in wholesale and retail trade, transport and real estate sectors increased relative to last year while growth of credit to the private sector decreased.”

The WB economist pointed out, “This does not necessarily mean that the reported numbers are wrong. But they do raise a lot of questions which the final estimates do not help answer.”

According to the BBS data, the industrial sector grew 10.22 percent in FY 2016-17 against 11.09 percent in the previous fiscal year.

Natural gas and petroleum production, large and medium-scale industries, and electricity generation saw a fall in growth.

On the other hand, there was an increase in growth of small-scale industry and the construction sector.

The contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP was 32.42 percent.

But it was the service sector that made the highest contribution — 52.85 percent — to the GDP.

In FY 2016-17, the service sector grew 6.69 percent which was 6.25 percent in the previous year.

There was also an increase in growth of wholesale and retail trade, hotel and restaurants, transport and communication, financial intermediation, real estate and business activities, says the BBS data.

However, the public administration and education sectors saw a drop in growth.

Kamal said Bangladesh’s economy has been growing steadily over the last several years. “We never lagged behind. We are always advancing in a sustainable way.”

Replying to a query, the minister said the steady growth was possible because of an increase in per capita productivity.

He also noted that there may be questions over the BBS figures but the state-run agency did the calculations in a transparent way.

The same methodology, used last year and the year before, was applied this year as well, he added.

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NOVEMBER 27, 2017

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REPORT: BANGLADESH TO OVERTAKE MALAYSIA BY 2050

REPORT: BANGLADESH TO OVERTAKE MALAYSIA BY 2050

Bangladesh has the potential to be among the fastest growing economies in coming years, which will help it take 28th place among the world’s most powerful economies by 2030.

The country will benefit from its youthful and fast growing working-age population, boosting domestic demand and output, according to an analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

A PwC report titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” also predicts that Bangladesh could rise further in the ranking by achieving an average annual growth of around 5% over the next 34 years.

The report ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).

PPP estimates of GDP adjust for price level differences across countries, providing a better measure of the volume of goods and services produced by an economy as compared to GDP at current market exchange rates, which is a measure of value.

Bangladesh ranked 31st among the world’s 32 largest economies in 2016, that together account for around 85% of global GDP.

Emerging market economies will drive global growth and eventually increase their share of world GDP, the report says. During this period, there will be a shift in global economic power.

“We project that the world economy will double in size by 2042, growing at an annual average rate of around 2.6% between 2016 and 2050,” the PwC report adds.

It also predicts that the E7 economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey – would occupy almost 50% of the world GDP by 2050, while the G7’s share would decline to only just over 20%.

Findings by the PwC, one of the world’s largest professional-services firms, show that China, India and the US would be at the top of the table.

China is already the top country in terms of PPP. India has been projected to be the world’s second largest economy, beating the US in GDP by PPP terms before 2050.

During this period, Bangladesh will see impressive growth that will push it to the 23rd place.

Bangladesh, India and Vietnam have the potential to be the fastest growing economies between 2016 and 2050.

But realising Bangladesh’s growth potential depends on sustained investment and reform.

“Growth in these countries is driven even more by real GDP per capita growth, suggesting capital investment and technological progress will deliver real labour productivity enhancing benefits,” the report says.

“For these countries to realise this potential, growth needs to be supported by sustained economic reforms, strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals, institutions and, crucially, mass education to ensure their rapidly growing working populations contribute productively to long term economic growth”.

By 2030, the country’s projected GDP by PPP will stand at $1.324 trillion and is expected to rise to $3.064 trillion by 2050, ahead of Malaysia.

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FEBRUARY 08, 2017

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BANGLADESH ECONOMY GROWING FAST

BANGLADESH ECONOMY GROWING FAST

MASIHUL HUQ CHOWDHURY

Bangladesh is ranked among the top ten fastest growing economies in the World in 2016 as per the report published by International Monetary Fund (IMF). The GDP growth was recorded at 6.5 percent as published. However as per Goldman Sachs report, the GDP growth of our country in 2016 was 7.10 percent. The similar growth rate is expected to continue in 2017. The sectoral contribution in 2016 as per the elite Global Finance Report was, Agriculture 15.1 percent, Industry 28.6 percent and Services 56.3 percent respectively. As per the recent PWC report, Bangladesh has the potential to become the world’s 23rd largest economy by 2050, overtaking countries such as Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Thailand and Malaysia. The report also predicted that Bangladesh would be the 28th largest economy by 2030, up from 31st in 2016. On a PPP basis, Bangladesh’s GDP would stand at $3,064 billion in 2050, up from just $628 billion in 2016. The other economies like Philippine, Vietnam, Pakistan and Nigeria are expected to grow quite significantly and be among the top 20 economies by 2050 as per the same report.

Bangladesh is strategically important for the economies of North East India, Nepal and Bhutan, as Bangladeshi seaports provide maritime access for these land locked regions and countries. China also views Bangladesh as a potential gateway for its landlocked southwest, including Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan. What we really need now are think tanks which are quite successful in providing policy level research and support to the administration for the overall growth in a sustainable manner. A think tank or policy institute is an organisation that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social polity, economics, technology, culture and other areas of utmost importance. Most policy institutes are non profit organisations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax exempt status. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy groups, or businesses, or derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects.

The effect of globalization on the proliferation of think tanks is most evident in regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia, where there was a concerted effort by the international community to assist in the creation of independent public policy research organizations. A recent survey performed by the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program underscores the significance of this effort and documents the fact that most of the think tanks in these regions have been established during the last 10 years. Presently there are more than 4,500 of these institutions around the world. Many of the more established think tanks, having been created during the Cold War, are focused on international affairs, security studies, and foreign policy and foreign policy.

In a thought-provoking conversation at the United Nations University in Tokyo with the President of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) eloquently explained about the role of think tanks as “influence peddling, in the best sense of the term.” He went on to stress that while one could question the tactics and motivations behind how and who Think Tanks influence, the bottom line was that they are in the business of pushing for change through ideas and networks.

The litmus test of a good Think Tank, according to Medhora, was not whether it was “right, left, liberal or not, but whether it was proposing evidence-based discussion.” Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rand Corporation from USA; Chatham House, Amnesty International from U.K.; Transparency International, German Institute for International and Security Affairs from Germany; Chinese Academy of Social Science from China; African Economic Research Consortium from Kenya are examples of leading think tanks globally.

The S Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore ranks among the top 50 think tanks globally. The role of the think tanks in providing research based policy papers on the areas of economic development, technology, culture, environment, social polity have significantly influenced the overall sustainable development in the western world. The building of overall national consensus on the major issues like social polity, education, economy is mandatory irrespective of party in power.

Agriculture is the largest employment sector in Bangladesh. As of 2016, it employs 47% of the total labor force (87 percent of rural employment) and comprises 16% of the country’s GDP. The primary challenge here is the proportionate contribution of this sector compared to the level of employment. The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security.

A plurality of Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture. Although rice and jute are the primary crops, wheat is assuming greater importance. Tea is grown in the northeast. Because of Bangladesh’s fertile soil and normally ample water supply, rice can be grown and harvested three times a year in many areas. Due to a number of factors, Bangladesh’s labor-intensive agriculture has achieved steady increases in food grain production despite the often unfavourable weather conditions. These include better flood control and irrigation , a generally more efficient use of fertilisers, and the establishment of better distribution and rural credit networks. Extensive irrigation, high-yielding crop varieties, more efficient markets, and mechanisation, enabled by policy reforms and investments in agriculture research, human capital, and roads have driven agriculture sector’s growth.

Agriculture is a major source of rural jobs in Bangladesh. Over 87 percent rural people derive at least some income from agriculture. However, two thirds of rural households rely on both farm and non-farm incomes. Pro-poor agriculture growth has stimulated the non-farm economy in Bangladesh: a 10 percent rise in farm incomes generates a 6 percent rise in non-farm incomes. As non-farm incomes continue to grow, the government needs to focus on fostering a more robust rural non-farm economy.

Bringing in proper land reform in order to have economies of scale, digitisation in the field of irrigation and seed ploughing need attention. The digital revolution is changing the face of agriculture, with the zeros and ones that make up binary code set to become the most important tools for farmers worldwide. Highly automated tractors and combines equipped with a vast array of sensors are already traversing our fields of corn, oilseed rape, soybeans and wheat, collecting data about plant health, yields, soil composition and field topography. Drones and satellites are likewise helping farmers work more efficiently by generating millions of relevant data points. Nowadays satellite imaging allows us to analyze a single patch of land at a resolution of just 30 centimeters.

The ability to analyze highly accurate data from the current growing season and compare it with previous years brings a whole new dimension to modern agriculture. Digital farming is based on individual data elements. The quality of soil in a single field can be significantly different. The farmers can easily find out the quality of soil through the digital scanning and use the seeds and other inputs for optimum yields. Bangladesh now needs to shift toward high-value agriculture, including horticulture, livestock, poultry and fisheries to foster future growth and further reduce poverty.

Being the largest delta in the world, Bangladesh is enriched with water bodies. This unique advantage puts us among the largest producers of fresh water globally ranking 4th just below China, India and Myanmar. Fresh water fish is the largest supply source for animal based protein for us. But the industry has its own challenges. Fund scarcity, irregular funding, lack of uniform service rules, limited opportunities for permission, etc., are on the constraining factors for dissatisfaction of scientists in harmonising research.
Low production, knowledge gaps, lack of dependable marketing information, disease hazards, low price, required inputs supports and uneducable technologies are major factors responsible for optimising production. Therefore, the sector is to face serious challenges to keep pace with the production target with the demand in future.

Bangladesh in general is highly vulnerable to predicted climate changes that are already occurring and are expected to continue over the next century. Bangladesh is recognised worldwide as one of the most vulnerable to the impact of global warming and climate change. There is no study on the expected affect of climate change on fisheries in Bangladesh. However, it is apprehended that the vulnerability of fisheries dependent communities, particularly open and floodplain fishers will be high if the climate becomes more extreme. Climate change has both direct and indirect impacts in fish stock which are exploited commercially. It is evident that natural fish stock will be more resilient to climate impacts with significant food security consequences for certain populations.

The species composition in open-water has been out of balance because of disturbance to natural reproduction of the fish by overfishing and other natural and man made causes. During migratory journey to and from floodplains and return to the safe habitat fish face many obstacle and hazards, which seriously disturb reproduction and survival in the system. Physical loss, shrinkage and modification of habitats are major factors in depleting fish varieties.In addition to human-induced degradation of aquatic habitats, siltation is also a problem for open-water fisheries. Siltation is a natural feature along the length of rivers and normally results in a gradation of particle size from lower order streams with the coarsest material to higher order streams with the finest. This natural sedimentation contributes to the development of many of the morphological features of rivers and floodplains. Siltation generally reduces the area and decreases water volume of waterways.
Silt deposited in riverbeds results in loss of breeding grounds and disturbs migratory routes of valued carp and catfish. Further, siltation causes drainage problems and diminishes water refuge grounds for fish. Silting also results from low stream flow and erosion of floodplain sediments after rain and wind. Wind erosion occurs during the dry season.

The numbers of evolved packaged technologies are large and proved effective and potentials. Most of them are related to inland culture and capture fisheries. Technology necessary for marine fish breeding, culture, management and conservation are limited. Many of the evolved technologies are required modification and standardisation suited to more challenging agro ecological zones for balancing the ecological niches. Research focusing fish-culture and management in closed floodplains under unfavourable environments, development of stress and extreme heat and cold tolerant varieties is essential. Scientists must determine variables responsible for yield gap at fish cultures’ level.

The reforms including policies, training the human resource, deployment of modern process and technology, proper pricing mechanism will enable the agricultural sector to increase the output. As such the contribution from agriculture to GDP will increase and enable to match the efforts of being the employer of the largest sector. This will not only ensure food security but also be able to contribute in achieving the sustainable economic growth utilising the available potential. The resilience of the nation against the adversities from natural disasters, dislocations created by environmental changes over the years have created the foundation of successes in the field of agriculture.

The story of exports of ready made garments is a lead indicator for the growth of manufacturing sector in Bangladesh. Bangladesh garment industry has generated $28.09bn exports in the fiscal year 2015-16 with a 10.21% growth from the previous year, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.The growth has been attributed by exporters and analysts to political calmness during the year, increased productivity, entrepreneurs’ resilience and improvement of workers’ safety standards in factories.The data officially released yesterday showed that the earnings also exceeded the target of $27.37bn set for the year.Of the total figure, the knitwear constituted $13.35bn and woven products $14.74bn.

One of the major ingredients for the rise of garments industry in Bangladesh can be attributable to the women empowerment and gender equality. The entrepreneurship zeal and tenacity of the businessmen in this sector is another major ingredient. Despite the dent created in the reputation through Rana Plaza debacles, the industry responded positively with implementation of safety, security and other compliance regulations have rather bolstered the growth. The success story in garments sector can be replicated in developing other manufacturing sectors. Light engineering, pharmaceuticals, food and Afro processing sectors can use the full potential to increase the contribution to our GDP in manifold.

The service sector, also called tertiary sector, is the third of the three traditional economic sectors. The service sector provides a service, not an actual product that could be held in your hand.

Activities in the service sector include retail, banks, real estate, hotels, tourism, education, health, social work, recreation, media, communications, electricity, gas and water supply. Increasingly service sector businesses focus on what is now being called the “knowledge economy”. They need to keep ahead of other businesses by understanding what it is their customers want and be in a position to give it to them quickly and at low cost. The service sector needs strategic plan, proper policy reforms and effective action plan along with periodic evaluation. Banking sector is one of the largest contributor in the service sector. Since the liberalisation, the contribution of private sector in banking industry has significantly increased. The level of service in the banking sector has significantly improved due to competition.

The standardisation of banking industry in the global parameters has taken place with implementation of BASEL rules. What we need now is a way forward to arrest the up trend in the non performing loan of the banks. A policy like China may be adopted in order to deal with the bank defaulters which include not issuing plane tickets, special arrangements and queue system in the public places for loan defaulters etc. These special arrangements may bring in the required traction to manage the loan defaulters by sheer peer pressure may bring in the discipline. The education sector needs a massive refurbishment. The applied side of education needs to be harnessed and curricula need to be designed in a manner that the students can decide on the subject to chose through proper evaluation of strength areas. Moreover, the education system need to be so that the students can get involve directly in the economic activities rather than remain unemployed. Entrepreneurship and vocational skills can become a Center point of the education system. This will also help export of skilled Human Resources overseas and increase income of foreign exchange manifold.

The knowledge based economy will influence the positive impact on other prominent sectors including health, tourism, information technology which will be driving future growth aspirations of the nation to be among the top rated economies in the globe.
On the eve of 46th Independence Day, we solemnly remember the martyrs and others who sacrificed to establish our own identity. Once written off as a basket case, the country has shown what we are capable of. The improvement in various social indicators have not only help the economic growth but also the overall indices. The positive outlook on the country from the international community indeed bears the endorsement.

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The writer, a banker by profession, has worked both in local and overseas market with various foreign and local banks in different positions
MARCH 26, 2017

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INVESTING IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST CHAOTIC – AND FASTEST-GROWING – ECONOMIES

INVESTING IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST CHAOTIC – AND FASTEST-GROWING – ECONOMIES

I travel all over the world in search of investment opportunities for my International Capitalist subscribers.

So last month, I went to Bangladesh.

[REITS]

Even though it’s one of the most populous countries in the world with an economy that’s growing faster than almost any other, Bangladesh is about as off-the-radar as you can get in the investment world. Its stock market isn’t categorised as a frontier market – and it isn’t even close.

To me, that no one’s talking about Bangladesh makes it it all the more fascinating and bristling with potential.

Why Bangladesh should be on your investment radar

It’s growing – Over the past 10 years, Bangladesh’s economy has grown at an average rate of 6 percent per year. And through 2050, Bangladesh is expected to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with an annual growth rate per capita of more than 4 percent, according to a recent report by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
World’s Most Chaotic – And Fastest-Growing – Economies

That might not sound like much… but consider, the U.S., France and U.K. are all expected to grow less than 2 percent a year during this period, as this graph shows.

This growth will see Bangladesh rise up the world rankings… from the 31st -largest economy in the world now to the 23rd-largest in 2050.

It’s a demographic dream. Bangladesh is the size of the U.S. state of Iowa, or the country of Nepal. But with 160 million people, Bangladesh has 52.6 times more people than Iowa and 5.7 times more people than Nepal. It’s one of the most densely populated countries in the world (aside from city-states like Singapore).

All those people mean that a normal day downtown looks like a cross between crowds outside a big stadium after the end of a concert or a cricket match – and a full-blown riot.
But what makes for a crowded (and sometimes claustrophobic) sidewalk experience, though, is explosively positive from an investment perspective. Bangladesh has one of the world’s best demographic profiles, with an average age of 25.6 (compared to 37.8 in the U.S. and 35 in China). The country’s working-age population will peak in 2030.
Bangladesh is a haven for low-cost production. Bangladesh is a world leader (number two in total exports) in making mostly low-end clothing. Those cheap t-shirts at Wal-Mart and H&M? They’re made in Bangladesh – where an entry-level garment worker (they’re mostly women) is lucky to make US$100/month. This is an enormous growth industry, as production in China and other markets looks for the next low-cost destination.
But things aren’t all sunny in Bangladesh: It rains, and floods… all the time. Most of Bangladesh is on a delta – that is, a deposit of clay, silt and sand formed at the mouth of a river. The average elevation of the country is around 33 feet above sea level (that’s even lower than Singapore – which after all is a small island). A conversation about the main events in the country inevitably includes frequent reference to the cyclones and resulting flooding that wipes out tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people and shoves millions more further into a wet, homeless poverty.

Besides inclement weather, Bangladesh has a host of man-made problems as well.
Politics create uncertainty

For starters, there’s politics. Tensions between Bangladesh’s two main political parties (the Bangladesh National Party and the Awami League) run high.

During the last election in 2014, the Bangladesh National Party boycotted the election after the governing Awami League refused to put a nonpartisan caretaker in place to oversee voting. As a result, about half of those running for seats in parliament were unopposed.

Preceding the election, the government also put the Bangladesh National Party leader under house arrest, and arrested a number of other party members. There was also violence surrounding the election, with more than 20 people killed.

Today, Sheikh Hasina Wazed remains prime minister following the controversial elections in 2014. The next elections will be held in late 2018. Many governments increase spending the year before an election, as a way of winning over voters – and Bangladesh is no different, so a lot of the people I spoke with are expecting a bump in the economy (and the stock market) with the approach of elections.

But political instability is just the tip of the iceberg of problems in Bangladesh.

Corruption, censorship and human rights violations drag on the economy

Bangladesh ranks 145 out of 176 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. And Reporters without Borders ranks Bangladesh 144 out of 180 for press freedom.

The country has also been accused of human rights violations – with almost a hundred people killed by law enforcement agencies this year alone, according to one report.

Corruption and political turmoil are just some of the reasons why Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in Asia, on a per capita basis. It has a GDP of just US$220 billion – about the same as the U.S. state of Kansas.

And walking around downtown Dhaka, you can see the signs of poverty… crumbling sidewalks, beggars, dilapidated buildings, filth and garbage everywhere. And in the countryside, small-scale farming means life isn’t much easier… people tending their tiny rice paddy plots or their two cows weren’t doing much better than the city folk.

Meanwhile, economic growth is held back because – for most people – it’s difficult to get business done.

Bangladesh is ranked 176 out of 190 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey (a high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm). That’s better than Afghanistan (and Somalia, which is dead last). But it’s worse than Syria (a virtual war zone) and Sudan.

And Dhaka is one of the least liveable cities in the world, according to the Economist. It’s only a bit better than Lagos, in Nigeria, and Damascus, the capital of Syria.

One of the most obvious manifestations of – and reasons for – that low ranking is that Dhaka has absolutely paralytic traffic. According to the World Bank, the average speed of traffic in the city is 7 km/hour (around 4 miles/hour). Three-wheeled bicycles, trishaws, scooters and buses trying to navigate streets built to accommodate a small fraction of the current traffic load cause a lot of that paralysis. What’s more, most drivers use their horns far more than they use their turn signals… so the country’s streets are an endless cacophony of horns. (If you ride a bus outside of the city, be sure to sit in the back… and/or bring earplugs. The endless honking by the driver of a bus I spent a few hours on drove me crazy.)

A land of opportunity

In many ways, Bangladesh is pretty dire. Between the traffic and crammed, crumbling (or non-existent) sidewalks, getting anywhere is a difficult, dangerous and sweaty endeavour – it’s a hot country. And Dhaka is not a pretty city, parts of it are downright filthy. People who live there told me that there’s not a whole lot to do, once you’ve been there a while. A lot of cities I visit feel like a place that I’d like to live – but, to be honest, Dhaka isn’t on that list.

However… that’s part of why it has such amazing potential. If Bangladesh had sparkling beaches, amazing museums, and towering mountains, it would be overrun with tourists and investors. You’d read about it in Forbes. CNBC would have talking heads blathering on about Bangladesh.

But it doesn’t. And that makes the profit potential all the better.

There’s no McDonalds or Starbucks in Bangladesh. There are no global investment banks on the ground. Foreigners own just around 5 percent of the stock market, one asset manager told me.

And as for corruption… none of the people I spoke with in Bangladesh – entrepreneurs, bankers, senior managers at large conglomerates – even mentioned corruption. I’ve found that in many countries where it’s an issue, people complain about corruption, blaming venal politicians and policemen for their problems. But in Bangladesh, it seems like people are better at factoring it into their plans – and just getting on with life. Meanwhile, the perception that corruption is crushing business also helps keep people away. “Corruption? It’s not stopping anything from growing,” a senior manager at one of the country’s big conglomerates told me.

So while it’s true that Bangladesh still has a lot of challenges ahead, it’s also in the early stages of a multi-decade growth trajectory. And early investors into this market could make a lot of money. So if Bangladesh isn’t on your radar yet, it might be time to put it there.

Good investing,

Kim Iskyan

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NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, DEFENCE & SECURITY, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, STRATEGY & POLICY, TRADE BODIES | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH TO BE AMONG ‘TOP 3’ FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES BY 2050

BANGLADESH TO BE AMONG ‘TOP 3’ FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES BY 2050

Ratings agency PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has estimated that Bangladesh may easily be one of the top 3 fastest growing economies by 2050, according to a recent report.

Titled “The Long View: How will the Global Economic Order change by 2050”, the report predicted that Bangladesh can potentially become the world’s 28th largest economy by 2030, up from 31st in 2016, reports UNB.

It further stated that the country could become the 23rd largest economy by 2050 with an average annual growth of 5%. If it does so, it would supersede countries like Australia, Spain, South Africa, and Malaysia.

Its economic growth stood at 7.11% for fiscal year 2015-16 – higher than the 7.05% projected earlier by the government.

This was also the first time its economic growth stood above the 7% mark.

In the previous fiscal year, economic growth had risen at 6.55%.
After the release of the final figures, Planning Minister Mostafa Kamal had said that “to the best of my knowledge, this is the highest GDP growth rate achieved by the country after independence [1971].

The growth was a surprise to the upside not only for the government but for agencies such as the World Bank as well. For 2016-17, the government has set a target of 7.2% growth even though the World Bank sees a 6.8% pace.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank – whose revised estimates of 7.1% growth for 2015-16 were quite close to the actual figure – estimates a 6.9% pace for the current fiscal.

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MARCH 23, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, ECONOMY, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES | Leave a comment

RUSSIA IS VYING FOR ENERGY AND TELECOM DEALS IN BANGLADESH

RUSSIA IS VYING FOR ENERGY AND TELECOM DEALS IN BANGLADESH

Divyansh Awasthi

ENERGY SECTOR TIES

Russia (ERUS) has been a close strategic partner of Bangladesh since the latter’s independence in 1971. However, it does not feature as a major trading partner of the country as shown in the top export destinations of Bangladesh in the graph below. However, renewed ties between the two nations may see that picture changing.

In the previous article of this series, we explored how Russia is providing help to Bangladesh in constructing its first nuclear power plant. But the cooperation in the energy and power sector does not end there.

According to a report by RIR (Russia & India Report), Russia’s Inter RAO-Engineering, a subsidiary of Inter RAO Group, signed a contract with the Bangladesh Power Development Board for overhauling the 210-megawatt Siddirganch power plant. This is the company’s second contract from the Board after 2014.

Also, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom (OGZPY), via Gazprom International, is investing in the exploration of gas in Bangladesh. The company has been operational in the country since 2012 and has built 15 wells in six fields across Bangladesh with more than 50,000 meters drilled. It intends to continue cooperating with Petrobangla for production drilling.

COOPERATION IN THE TELECOM SECTOR

In the telecom sector, Russia also has a noticeable presence.

Related Article The Rise and Fall of Minegolia: Where Chinese Demand Will Drive the Mongolian Economy Next

According to a report by RIR (Russia & India Report), Russia’s GS Group launched Bangladesh’s first Direct-To-Home (DTH) service provider RealVU in 2016 in partnership with the country’s industrial conglomerate, Beximco Group. The GS Group has now exited the business after completing the investment cycle.

Meanwhile, the RIR report noted that according to Russian Embassy in Bangladesh, the Multinet Group has invested more than $100 million in the country.

With Bangladesh growing at a faster pace than ever in its history and intending to become an easier place to do business, Russian companies have found renewed interest in partnering with local companies in strategic sectors. This will provide experienced guidance to Bangladeshi companies while giving Russia a piece of potentially one of the fastest growing frontier markets in the world.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, DEFENCE & SECURITY, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, UNITED NATIONS, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

WHY RUSSIA IS SUDDENLY BETTING BIG ON BANGLADESH

WHY RUSSIA IS SUDDENLY BETTING BIG ON BANGLADESH

Divyansh Awasthi

The US, Germany and the UK were the top three export destinations for Bangladesh in fiscal year 2015-16. These three accounted for 42% of the country’s exports for the year.

Russia (RSX) is not a major trading partner of Bangladesh. According to Federal Customs Service of Russia, bilateral trade between Russia and Bangladesh was a little over $1.4 billion in 2016. The main items that Bangladesh exports to Russia include readymade garments, seafood, jute and jute products, tea, and leather. Meanwhile, Bangladesh imports cereals, machinery and mechanical equipment, metals, and minerals and fertilizers from Russia.

Though the trade relationship is small, Russia has historically been a strategic partner of Bangladesh in two sectors: energy and power, and telecom. These are the two areas which have seen renewed interest from Russia.

Energy and power

According to a report by RIR (Russia & India Report), a fifth of Bangladesh’s total electricity output is produced by two power plants which were built with Soviet assistance in the 1970s. These two plants are located in Ghorasal and Siddhirganj.

While conversing with RIR, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Mohammed Shahriar Alam, stated that “cooperation between Bangladesh and Russia is growing, especially in government-to-government sectors.”

He was also quoted as saying “we have undertaken the single largest project in the history of Bangladesh with the help of the Russian government where the funding is expected to reach $11 billion.” This loan will be used for constructing Bangladesh’s first nuclear plant at Rooppur. The first unit of the 2400-megawatt power plant is expected to be commissioned by 2022 with the second to follow suit in 2023.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $12.65 billion, 90% of which will be lent by Russian government.

On its part, Bangladesh has exempted the project of “all taxes and duties including import duty, VAT, regulatory duty, advanced VAT and supplementary duty on all imported goods, machinery and parts,” according to RIR.

In the next article, let’s look more closely at Russia’s cooperation with Bangladesh in developing the latter’s energy sector and also the support being provided in the telecom sector.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, Culture & Archeology, DEFENCE & SECURITY, ECONOMY, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, HISTORY OF BENGAL, IDENTITY & PATRIOTISM, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT, OIC - Organization of Islamic Countries, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TRADE BODIES, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH WILL BE AMONGST TOP 3 FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES GLOBALLY THROUGH 2050

BANGLADESH WILL BE AMONGST TOP 3 FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES GLOBALLY THROUGH 2050

Growing economic presence

Bangladesh (FM) has been seeing its economic prowess grow. Its economic growth stood at 7.11% for fiscal year 2015-16 – higher than the 7.05% projected earlier by the government. This was also the first time its economic growth stood above the 7% mark. In the previous fiscal year, economic growth had risen at 6.55%. In Bangladesh, a fiscal year begins in July and ends in June of the succeeding year.

After the release of the final figures, Planning Minister Mostafa Kamal had said that “to the best of my knowledge, this is the highest GDP growth rate achieved by the country after independence [1971].

The growth was a surprise to the upside not only for the government but for agencies such as the World Bank as well. For 2016-17, the government has set a target of 7.2% growth even though the World Bank sees a 6.8% pace. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank – whose revised estimates of 7.1% growth for 2015-16 were quite close to the actual figure – estimates a 6.9% pace for the current fiscal.

Projections by PwC

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a report titled ‘The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?’ estimated that Bangladesh can potentially become the world’s 28th largest economy by 2030, up from 31st in 2016.

It further stated that the country could become the 23rd largest economy by 2050 with an average annual growth of ~5%. If it does so, it would supersede countries like Australia, Spain, South Africa, and Malaysia.

On a PPP basis, PwC predicted that the economic output of Bangladesh could grow from $628 billion in 2016 to $1.3 trillion in 2030, and to $3.1 trillion in 2050.

With this broad overview of the country’s economic present and possible future, let’s look at how the regional economic heavyweight, Russia, fits into Bangladesh’s emerging economic picture.

This is post 1 of 3 in the series “How Russia Is Becoming Part of the Growth Story of Bangladesh”

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FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, DEFENCE & SECURITY, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, IDENTITY & PATRIOTISM, INDUSTRIES, NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT, OIC - Organization of Islamic Countries, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STRATEGY & POLICY, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH 1971 TO 2018

Posted in - REVOLUTIONARY VOICES -, ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, ANALYSIS OF RESPONSIBILITY & ROLE OF MEDIA, BANGABANDHU - Father of our Nation, BENGAL - Heritage, BENGAL - Heritage, Culture & Archeology, BENGALI CULTURE - Literature Poets & Poetries Paints & Painters, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, Culture & Archeology, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, DEFENCE & SECURITY, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, HISTORY OF BENGAL, IDENTITY & PATRIOTISM, IMPACT OF CAPITALISM, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL - PERCEPTION ON BANGLADESH, LEADERS - IN ITS TRUE SENSE, LIBERATION - 1971 BIRTH OF A NATION, N-11, NGO'S, NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT, OIC - Organization of Islamic Countries, Poverty, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SAARC, SHEIKH HASINA, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, TRANSPARENCY & CORRUPTION CONTROL, UNITED NATIONS, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH MUST LIVE UP TO ITS IMAGE AS AN EMERGING SOUTH ASIAN TIGER: DR. MAIMUL AHSAN KHAN, PROF. OF LAW, DU

BANGLADESH MUST LIVE UP TO ITS IMAGE AS AN EMERGING SOUTH ASIAN TIGER: DR. MAIMUL AHSAN KHAN, PROF. OF LAW, DU

On the verge of celebrating its silver jubilee as an independent nation, Bangladesh has seen many changes, reached milestones in reducing poverty, improving healthcare and education, and empowering of women. A feather in Bangladesh’s cap is its pioneering role in the formation of SAARC, the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. Some of the core issues of SAARC include regional connectivity, bilateral trade and border security in the South Asian region. There is still a long way to go, especially with two neighboring nuclear powers competing for influence and the region experiencing a refugee crisis.

Bangladesh has been successful in facing many challenges such as settling disputes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. However the problem remains in dealing with the prolonged crisis of the Rohingya refugees, victims of atrocities in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. The fate and status of this minority Muslim community living in Bangladesh as refugees is the most critical problem in Bangladesh-Myanmar relations.

Dr. Maimul Ahsan Khan, professor of law currently teaching Jurisprudence and Law of International Institutions at the University of Dhaka, aired these opinions during an interview with the international online news portal South Asian Monitor (www.southasianmonitor.com). Dr. Maimul Ahsan Khan is specialized in jurisprudence, Islamic law, political science, human rights, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Oriental studies. Khan taught at the University of Illinois-UIUC, the University of California-Davis and Berkeley and the Technical University of Liberec-Czech Republic. He has served as a Fulbright Fellow at the College of Law in University of Illinois-UC. He spoke on the strategic relationship of Bangladesh with China and India. Kamruzzaman Bablu interviewed Dr. Khan from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

SAM: There has been an increase in the exodus of the Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh following the killing, rape and arson by the Myanmar army and hardliner Buddhists. However, Bangladesh is not prepared to take them in as refugees and provide shelter. As it is, a good number of Rohingya have already taken shelter in Bangladesh. In this context, some are in favor of offering refuge to the Rohingya’s while the others oppose. What do you think?

Khan: The first question is whether it is merely harmful for the Rohingya’s or also a great loss of credibility for Bangladesh? The issue should be considered from international and national perspectives. In the global village we are in today, this invokes many questions that require some realistic answers and solutions.

The issues are related to ethnic-religious relations between Rohingya Muslims and Muslims of Bengal, a shared history of about one millennium. Ethnic tension between state-sponsored terrorists and peaceful civilians in Myanmar has been repeatedly occurring for decades. Rohingya Muslims are often deemed as bandit groups, attacked by the Magh Buddhists who were not supposed to be engaged in such a whole scale brutality against innocent people living more than five hundred years in their vicinity as fellow-citizens. As a sovereign neighbor, how have we, along with numerous human rights organizations and groups, been tolerating these crimes against humanity? In fact, there is every reason to consider these heinous and widespread atrocities as war crimes. There is a popular saying, “winners have a thousand mothers and losers have none”.

SAM: Does it mean that Bangladesh has been marked as a weak and ineffective country before the world for its failure to assist the ousted Rohingya Muslims as refugees?

Khan: It does not indicate anything directly about the status and prospect of our own statehood. However, it demonstrates the lack of capability of our governmental machineries when it comes to display respect for our own public opinion and concerned international communities. Our governmental approach can be considered as immature or rather shortsighted when it comes to addressing the hopes and aspirations of our people and international communities. Bangladesh is considering the Rohingya issue once as a burden, another time as a problem that could flare up in an unmanageable magnitude. The tragic events are directly and indirectly revisiting us with a terrible picture of ethnic cleansing at our doorsteps, and we have been failing to address those in any responsible manner that match our image as an emerging tiger in the South Asian region.

Sometimes it is argued that we have not signed any treaty or international legal instruments or documents on this. This is totally nonsense. In such a grave circumstance, we do not need to put emphasis on the legal texts. We need to see what we can do to rescue the lives of human beings irrespective of race, religion, and gender.

SAM: How do you think other powerful countries in Asia, especially India, will react if Bangladesh decides to protect Rohingya refugees?

Khan: A huge multi-ethnic country like India has its own predicaments regarding issues with its bordering territories. Why does India have to be compassionate to Muslims in Myanmar, especially under the leadership of PM Modi, who represents Hindu fundamentalists? However, we need to separate his leadership from a variety of issues of India as a state and its Muslim community, which has to live up to its own responsibilities and liabilities. Modi or Mamata of West Bengal may or may not be well-wishers of Bangladesh when it comes to a major regional, humanitarian or religious issue because they have their own stakes and constituencies to reckon with. We all need to appreciate that in this region of the world we are still fearful of the creation of a new state entity. For India and Pakistan, Rohingyas might be reminiscent of the episode of our liberation struggle. For China, it might be the same.

SAM: Is the position of India and China same regarding Bangladesh as both are willing to use Bangladesh for their own interests?

Khan: Firstly, look at the unprecedented rise of China in all fronts of the global stage. Two decades ago many Chinese governmental officials, including the premier or president of China used to say that they would never be a strong rivals of the US as it had accumulated so much power of every type that was known to the human history. Since 1997 the addition of the concept of Two Economies in One Country added a stronger value to the theory of mainland China. Now the new geopolitical scenario of global trade and business favors Beijing. While I had been teaching a course on the possible rise of Chinese economy as a competitor of Japan or United States, with a timid voice I had to compare China with India. Even then I was under direct attack from my fellow American professors, who believed firmly that New Delhi had a much brighter future than Beijing. My disagreement appeared as an insult to their academic prudency, superiority, clarity and comprehensiveness. On the other hand, Shining India could easily overshadow even the prospect of the revival of the Japanese economy, which is shrinking day by day in size and performance. The major academic problem with many of our academics and some of the Westerners is that they often argue like politicians rather than far-sighted researchers and innovators.

SAM: Bangladesh and China signed 26 deals and MoUs (Memorandums of Understanding) involving $24 billion during the two-day Bangladesh visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping. How do you evaluate this?

Khan: Actually 24 billion dollar is nothing for a country like China. The country’s Silk Road project will involve nearly 18 trillion US dollars in the coming decades. China is the only country in the world that maintains a foreign reserve of over 3 trillion. Western Chinese cities are now directly connected with many European cities, such as London. Londoners can buy even furniture or electronic goods from China via the Chinese online giant Ali Baba. Chinese willingness and capability to invest one trillion dollars every year in other economies around the world is anything but a fantasy. In the entire African Continent, no Western companies can beat the companies sponsored by the Chinese government and Chinese business communities. In this backdrop, the 24 billion dollar investment package for Bangladesh is not a great deal at all. The problem is that whether we can absorb that money and I am telling you we are completely unprepare and incapable to absorb that kind of fund.

Though India is our nearest and biggest neighbor, our business communities prefer Chinese companies over Indian, which by nature is still reminiscent of the East Indian Company sponsored by the British. India came up with an offer of $2 billion loan and assistance during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015. This 2 billion dollar is actually nothing in comparison with the offer made by China. Beijing’s attitude is clear: the size of the joint venture between China and Bangladesh is not a problem and there is no dearth of capital for Bangladesh. It tells India: do not be jealous, you can also have 10 to 20 billion dollars for any joint ventures. Our problem is who would be concerned for our environment protection? As all these capitals are coming here to make quick profit, so our tiny country may turn into a big junkyard of India or China.

SAM: Do you think that China has taken Bangladesh as one of the vital strategic gates to exercise its supremacy in this region as well as in the international arena?

Khan: The dynamism of Chinese policy makers and their economy is a miracle. What have they done so far? One study shows that the amount of building materials like cement and rods they have used within the last few years, is whatever the entire America did within one hundred years. So how huge was the development work? In addition, it has a population of 1.28 billion. The size of the American population is about one-fourth that of China. Now 300 million Chinese can speak in English, the country is ready to provide scholarships to foreigners more than America, Canada, and European Union combined just with a condition that you have to learn Chinese language.

SAM: How can Bangladesh earn benefits through tactful diplomatic channels by developing good relations simultaneously with India and China?

Khan: There is a theoretical possibility. However, practically we do not see that will materialize. We are still in a very preliminary stage of our diplomatic growth regarding our maneuvering capabilities as a diplomatic power. We have very little maneuvering power.

SAM: India barred more than 50 upstream rivers to Bangladesh, thus imposing fatal natural calamity on us. However, why do the people of Bangladesh and its politicians fail to be vocal unilaterally on the issue?

Khan: Bangladesh is the biggest delta of the world. The country was created by the accumulation of silt over thousands of years. That is why it is called the “Poli Mati Desh” (land of silt) and the people’s mindset is like the silt. Once they created Pakistan, then went against Pakistan, and then created Bangladesh. Once 90 percent people supported Awami League and then 90 percent people supported BNP. It is may be because of the climatic conditions of this country.

Now look at Farakka Barrage. If you look at the history, the Chanakya and Manu laws of India categorically prohibit even the Brahman (the highest class of Indian people) from creating any artificial barrier on anything including water, wind and whatever. If somebody does that, it is said that the person should not come to the temple for worship. It means that even a Brahman becomes unholy if he blocks the flow of water. Therefore, India even has no moral right to continue Farakka Barrage or other dams. However, the Bangladeshi people including the narrow-minded and divided politicians show no sign of uniting against this aggression.

SAM: There is a negative attitude from the Indian side regarding any development and progress in Bangladesh. During the agreement between Bangladesh and China last November (2016) for purchasing two Chinese submarines, the reaction of India was very harsh. How do you consider this?

Khan: I think Bangladesh government has no option but to maintain good relations with China. The government had to buy the submarines. If government is unwilling to buy those from China, the Chinese may not continue to work on the Padma Bridge project along with all other projects. Bangladesh has fewer options. Now China has offered a proposal for building a bullet train line from Dhaka to Kunming City of China through Myanmar. From Dhaka to Kunming, it will take only two and half hours or maximum three hours. At the present, one cannot even go to Comilla in three hours from Dhaka. Dhaka-Kunming connectivity looks very promising on that respect. The Chinese may move into healthcare industries both in Bangladesh and in China. Many Bangladeshis travel to India for healthcare purpose and China might invest in this promising sector, promoting a healthy competition between China and India.

SAM: Any Chinese project with Bangladesh is being opposed by India from the very beginning. How can Bangladesh overcome such pressure from India?

Khan: The Soviet Union used to impose their will on Afghanistan, which they ended up invading and paid a terrible price. Then came the United States and they fell into same trap. They find it so hard to extricate themselves from that now. The Bangladeshi people historically have stronger opposition to any foreign entity imposing their will on their motherland. Many Asian countries started far down the ladder when comes to achieving national development. The present day Malaysia was much like Bangladesh.

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JANUARY 18, 2017

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH POISED TO BE THE NEXT ASIAN TIGER

BANGLADESH POISED TO BE THE NEXT ASIAN TIGER

Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in many economic and social indicators, with the country now standing on the cusp of a take-off, Kaushik Basu, chief economist of the World Bank, said yesterday.

“Your country stands at the threshold of doing very well,” he said in his public lecture organised by Bangladesh Bank at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. “It is actually not far-fetched to say that Bangladesh can be the new Asian Tiger.”

“A little bit of ambition can make a huge transformation.”

But the country will also face many challenges as it grows and gets more integrated with the globalised world.

Subsequently, Basu recommended improving infrastructure and the ease of doing business, creating business ethos and providing skills and education to workers to reap the demographic dividends.

Basu shared the view citing various indicators of progress such as an increase in per capita income, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange reserves.

The indicators have changed since his first visit to Dhaka in 1992.

Poverty and infant mortality, for example, have dropped and life expectancy increased.

Basu, who is the second WB chief economist from a developing country and the first from India, said the investment rate as a percentage of the gross domestic product was 17 percent in 1992 and the per capita income $330.

Bangladesh’s investment to GDP ratio has now grown to 29 percent and per capita income stands at $1,314.

Bangladesh roughly invests 30 percent of its national income, which is in line with the East Asian economies, according to Basu.

The current pace of investment is a signal of long-run growth, Basu said, adding that the investment rate needs to be increased to 33-34 percent to speed up economic growth to 8 percent and the overall development.

Basu, also the senior vice president of the WB, said the multilateral lender forecasts that the Bangladesh economy will grow at 6.5 percent this year and 6.7 percent next year.

“This growth rate takes you neck-to-neck with the growth rates of China,” he said, adding that the rising labour cost in China has opened up huge opportunities for Bangladesh, where there is an abundance of cheap labour.

“You must not think small,” said Basu, adding that the country can take advantage by using its competitiveness in the garment and other sectors.

Economic advancement comes with challenges.

As Bangladesh grows, opens up and becomes more connected with world trade, it will be impacted for fluctuation of global economy and financial markets, he said.

“For that, you have to increase your infrastructure,” Basu said, stressing the need for better ports and enough electricity generation and more efficient business process and business ethos.

On the domestic front, the country also needs to design good policies to address the challenges it will face as it grows, he said.

Good policies are also necessary to ensure inclusive growth, reduce poverty and inequality.

If policies are not designed well, corruption and leakage can take place, he warned.

“Economic progress does not depend only on economic policies. Good monetary and fiscal policies can also help. But it also depends on human minds.”

Basu also lauded the increase in foreign exchange reserves ($26.5 billion) and said it should increase further.

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DECEMBER 15, 2015

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL - PERCEPTION ON BANGLADESH, N-11, NGO'S, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, SOCIETY, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TRADE BODIES, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH BECOMING NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’: REPORT

BANGLADESH BECOMING NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’: REPORT

Bangladesh is in a race for becoming a new ‘Asian Tiger’, according to a report run by Business Insider and posted on World Economic Forum web site.

The report said when people talk about the ‘Asian Tigers,’ they’re typically referring to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The four countries experienced rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s.

But now there’s another country that should come to mind: Bangladesh, the report said.
The Bangladesh economy has been one of the top performers in Asia over the past decade, averaging annual growth of more than 6 per cent.

Much like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan during the industrialisation of their economies, most of the growth that Bangladesh has experienced has come from garment exports, which the CIA World Factbook says accounts for more than 80 per cent of its exports.

In a note sent out to clients on Monday, Gareth Leather and Krystal Tan, Asia economists at Capital Economics, wrote that Bangladesh has picked up about two-thirds of China’s low-end manufacturing market share in Europe.

But if Bangladesh is to reach the government’s ambitious growth target of 8 per cent a year by 2020, ‘it is essential that it starts to diversify out of the garment trade into other sectors, such as electronics and other consumer durables, where there is more scope to add value.’

In order to diversify out of the garment trade, Bangladesh, according to Leather and Tan, must do two things: improving its infrastructure and investment climate.
Poor infrastructure makes it difficult to transport goods across the country. Additionally, more than 20 per cent of the population of more than 156 million aren’t connected to the power grid, and companies often have to use their own back-up power generators because of the high susceptibility to blackouts.

Those factors, combined with high levels of corruption, make Bangladesh one of the hardest places in the world to conduct business, the report said.

According to Capital Economics, more needs to be done in reducing corruption, simplifying customs procedures, making land acquisition easier, improving private sector companies’ access to credit and making the security situation more stable.
The government is already taking steps to improve the investment climate.

Leather and Tan said, ‘Among the measures the government is planning to introduce include removing red-tape to expedite the process of starting a business (to seven days instead of 19.5 days), issuing construction permits within 60 days (instead of the current 278 days) and reducing the time it takes for a company to be connected to the national grid to 28 days (compared with 404 days at present). There are also plans to simplify property registration, enhance contract enforcement, streamline cross-border trade procedures under a World Bank-sponsored agenda, and digitise tax payments to improve collection. Progress on these fronts would increase Bangladesh’s appeal as an investment destination.’

The capital markets are taking notice. Bangladesh’s local stock market, the DSE 30, rallied 15.5 per cent during the first quarter of 2017. It’s up another 2.3 per cent in the first week of the second quarter.

In a note sent out to clients recently, Exotix Partners Head of Frontier Markets Equity Strategy, MENA and South Asia Research, Hasnain Malik said the market (Bangladesh stock market) was being powered higher by earnings growth, local interest in equities, and increasing foreign investor interest.

Malik believes there is a lot to like about the market’s fundamentals: domestic political stability, geopolitical support from regional powers China and India, macroeconomic growth and currency stability, fast-paced urban growth and extreme
population density and almost all of the 20 biggest publicly traded companies offer direct exposure to Bangladesh’s domestic economy.

‘In our view, it is too early to let go of the tiger’s tail,’ Malik writes. ‘Bangladesh public equity valuations are just beginning to catch up with its high growth and high returns on capital…’

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APRIL 20, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

CAN BANGLADESH BE THE NEXT ASIAN TIGER?

CAN BANGLADESH BE THE NEXT ASIAN TIGER?

In the past decade Bangladesh has been amongst the top performing economies in Asia, averaging an annual growth rate over 6 percent.

And, like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan during the early phase of industrialisation , much of the growth has been driven by exports.

The similarities have driven Business Insider’s Jonathan Garber, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, to assess whether the country may be the next Asian tiger.

Problems of infrastructure, including poor roads and an insufficient power grid, and widespread corruption limit the country’s ability to diversify the economy, they say.

They suggest more work must be done to reduce corruption, simplify customs laws, ease land acquisition, improve private access to credit and stabilise the security situation.

They also note the government’s efforts to improve the business climate by reducing and simplifying red tape affecting businesses and taxpayers.

The efforts have led to an uptick in the capital market with the DSE rallying 15.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017.These market developments are powered by growth of earnings, local interest in equities and rising interest among foreign investors, according to a report by researcher Hasnain Malik.

Malik praises the market’s fundamentals, including political stability, support from India and China, macroeconomic growth and currency stability, speedy urban growth and extreme population density, as solid building blocks.

But, “it is too early to let go of the tiger’s tail,” writes Malik.

“Bangladesh public equity valuations are just beginning to catch up with its high growth and high returns on capital…”

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JUNE 05, 2017
 
Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, IMPACT OF CAPITALISM, INDUSTRIES, N-11, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STRATEGY & POLICY, TRADE BODIES, UNITED NATIONS, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

THE FIFTH ASIAN TIGER: CAN BANGLADESH BECOME THE LATEST ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORY?

THE FIFTH ASIAN TIGER: CAN BANGLADESH BECOME THE LATEST ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORY?

YASHVARDHAN BARDOLOI

A junior reporter takes a look at the history of Bangladesh, once known as East Pakistan, the rise of its economy, and how the country can use its strengths to develop into a force to be reckoned with

Established as East Pakistan after India’s partition in 1947, Bangladesh was marked by neglect and discrimination in the two decades before it gained independence. Of the two Pakistans, the East was more populous, but remained politically and economically dominated by West Pakistan.

More than 1,600km of Indian territory separated East and West Pakistan. Liberation activists said the central government in West Pakistan engaged in ethnic and linguistic discrimination against the majority Bengali East Pakistanis, who were also largely under-represented in the Pakistani bureaucracy and army. Only the West Pakistani native tongue, Urdu, was recognised as an official language. Economically, the government of West Pakistan was accused of taking surpluses from the East to fund the West’s imports, while the West withheld the allocation of funds for development in the East.

As maltreatment and mismanagement grew, calls for freedom from West Pakistan escalated, culminating in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh. Following its brief and bitter war for separation, the country had grim prospects. The leaders of its independence movement lamented its industrial weakness and low productivity, and few outside observers were optimistic about an economic turnaround. Bangladesh was considerably poorer than an already poor Pakistan, with a GDP (gross domestic product) per capita of US$130 against Pakistan’s US$177.

Even today, more than four decades later, Bangladesh can hardly be considered well-off. Its income per capita, at US$1,600, is way too low, and its Human Development Index (HDI) score places it at 139th in the world. Yet, the country has recorded quietly remarkable growth, with an economy that has potential for future development.

Bangladesh exports more garments than India and Pakistan combined, thanks to the country’s cheap labour.

The World Bank reports that poverty has declined from 31.5 per cent to 23.2 per cent, lifting some 15 million people from the state of being extremely poor. The country has overtaken Pakistan in terms of GDP per capita. And, with an annual GDP growth rate of seven per cent, it may pull further ahead of its neighbour. The country once struggled to produce anything. Now, 29 per cent of GDP is from industry; Bangladesh exports more garments than India and Pakistan combined, and is a destination of choice for international clothing giants.

Following independence from Pakistan, the Bangladeshi government introduced a socialist economic system, nationalising industries across the economy. This was damaging to growth, with chronic shortages and inflation afflicting the country. In 1975, the government veered towards more market-friendly policies, privatising some industries and taking steps to create a more entrepreneur-friendly environment. Growth chugged along in the 1980s and 1990s, with support from international donors and the International Monetary Fund. The restoration of democracy in 1991, after a decade of military rule, laid the foundation for further development and encouraged foreign investors.

Since 2004, the economy has managed an average growth rate of around 6.5 per cent. The country has aggressively pursued export-oriented industrialisation (EOI), the economic policy that was implemented with great success by the Asian Tigers – Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea – during their decades of breakneck growth. EOI dictates that a country exports according to its comparative advantage, focusing on producing goods which, given its human and physical capital, would be optimal when compared to other nations. Bangladesh’s biggest export is textiles, where low wages draw large businesses, particularly from Western discount clothing chains.

Looking ahead, some observers believe automation could pose a huge threat to Bangladesh’s textile industry. Developing countries like Bangladesh derive their manufacturing edge from cheap labour, but if capital investments in rich countries result in machines that are able to mass-produce garments for a lower price, that advantage is gone. Industry experts, however, note that such concerns may be overstated. Sewing requires more dexterity than is often appreciated, and even the most advanced robots today struggle with fine motor skills. The most advanced machines would be too expensive to be employed in textile production. It is unlikely that machines will outcompete Bangladesh’s low-cost factory workers in the immediate future.

A growing tide of protectionism in the US and Europe could also undermine manufacturing in Bangladesh, which mainly relies on exports to the European Union and the US. That said, textile manufacturing has long been an obsolete industry in the developed world, so it is relatively unlikely that Bangladesh’s manufacturers will be slapped with particularly punitive tariffs.

All things considered, Bangladesh should look to move up the value chain in its manufacturing sector. The East Asian tigers, too, began with low-cost production, but the transition from low-middle-income status to high-income status is only possible with more capital – and knowledge-intensive manufacturing – as notably shown by South Korea and Taiwan. The Bangladeshi government has shown a commitment to investing in technology through programmes such as “Digital Bangladesh”. But it needs to do better. Digital Bangladesh has been criticised as half-hearted, haphazard and hopeless in a country that has the lowest internet penetration in South Asia and significant electricity generation deficits.

Corruption is endemic in South Asia; Bangladesh is no exception. Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index put the country at an ignominious 145th place, below even Nigeria and Ukraine. Patronage, bribe-taking and cronyism are rampant in the economy, severely impeding growth and deterring business activity. Stronger governance and a tough crackdown on corruption, perhaps through an independent anti-graft commission, will be prerequisites to sustained growth in the country.

The next decade is critical for Bangladesh. If global economic currents and government policy work in its favour, the country could find itself adorning book covers as the latest Asian success story. Failure would condemn the world’s eighth largest population to a generation of needless misery.

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Edited by Ginny Wong
DECEMBER 07, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, Culture & Archeology, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, IMPACT OF CAPITALISM, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SAARC, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, TRANSPARENCY & CORRUPTION CONTROL, UNITED NATIONS, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

THERE COULD BE A NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’. HERE’S WHY

THERE COULD BE A NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’. HERE’S WHY

When people talk about the “Asian Tigers,” they’re typically referring to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The four countries experienced rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s.

But now there’s another country that should come to mind: Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh economy has been one of the top performers in Asia over the past decade, averaging annual growth of more than 6%. Much like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan during the industrialization of their economies, most of of the growth that Bangladesh has experienced has come from garment exports, which the CIA World Factbook says accounts for more than 80% of its exports.

In a note sent out to clients on Monday, Gareth Leather and Krystal Tan, Asia economists at Capital Economics, wrote that Bangladesh has picked up about two-thirds of China’s low-end manufacturing market share in Europe.

But if Bangladesh is to reach the government’s ambitious growth target of 8% a year by 2020, “it is essential that it starts to diversify out of the garment trade into other sectors, such as electronics and other consumer durables, where there is more scope to add value.”

In order to diversify out of the garment trade, Bangladesh must do two things, according to Leather and Tan: Improve its infrastructure and investment climate.

Poor infrastructure makes it difficult to transport goods across the country. Additionally, more than 20% of the population of more than 156 million (about 31 million) aren’t connected to the power grid, and companies often have to use their own back-up power generators because of the high susceptibility to blackouts.

Those factors, combined with high levels of corruption, make Bangladesh one of the hardest places in the world to conduct business. According to Capital Economics, “more needs to be done on reducing corruption, simplifying customs procedures, making land acquisition easier, improving private sector companies’ access to credit and making the security situation more stable.”

The government is already taking steps to improve the investment climate. Here’s Leather and Tan:

“Among the measures the government is planning to introduce include removing red-tape to expedite the process of starting a business (to seven days instead of 19.5 days), issuing construction permits within 60 days (instead of the current 278 days) and reducing the time it takes for a company to be connected to the national grid to 28 days (compared with 404 days at present). There are also plans to simplify property registration, enhance contract enforcement, streamline cross- border trade procedures under a World Bank- sponsored agenda, and digitise tax payments to improve collection. Progress on these fronts would increase Bangladesh’s appeal as an investment destination.”

The capital markets are taking notice. Bangladesh’s local stock market, the DSE 30, rallied 15.5% during the first quarter of 2017. It’s up another 2.3% in the first week of the second quarter.

In a note sent out to clients on Thursday, Exotix Partners Head of Frontier Markets Equity Strategy, MENA and South Asia Research, Hasnain Malik says the market is being powered higher by earnings growth, local interest in equities, and increasing foreign investor interest.

Malik believes there is a lot to like about the market’s fundamentals:

1. Domestic political stability

2. Geopolitical support from regional powers China and India

3. Macroeconomic growth and currency stability

4. Fast-paced urban growth and extreme population density

5. Almost all of the 20 biggest publicly traded companies offer direct exposure to Bangladesh’s domestic economy

“In our view, it is too early to let go of the tiger’s tail,” Malik writes. “Bangladesh public equity valuations are just beginning to catch up with its high growth and high returns on capital…”

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JONATHAN GARBER, Markets Editor, Business Insider
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider.
APRIL 11, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CLIMATE - Global Warming Challenge, CURRENT ISSUES, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, IDENTITY & PATRIOTISM, IMPACT OF CAPITALISM, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL - PERCEPTION ON BANGLADESH, N-11, NGO'S, Poverty, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, TRANSPARENCY & CORRUPTION CONTROL, UNITED NATIONS, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

THERE’S A NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’

THERE’S A NEW ‘ASIAN TIGER’

JONATHAN GARBER

When people talk about the “Asian Tigers,” they’re typically referring to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The four countries experienced rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s.

But now there’s another country that should come to mind: Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh economy has been one of the top performers in Asia over the past decade, averaging annual growth of more than 6%. Much like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan during the industrialization of their economies, most of of the growth that Bangladesh has experienced has come from garment exports, which the CIA World Factbook says accounts for more than 80% of its exports.

In a note sent out to clients on Monday, Gareth Leather and Krystal Tan, Asia economists at Capital Economics, wrote that Bangladesh has picked up about two-thirds of China’s low-end manufacturing market share in Europe.

But if Bangladesh is to reach the government’s ambitious growth target of 8% a year by 2020, “it is essential that it starts to diversify out of the garment trade into other sectors, such as electronics and other consumer durables, where there is more scope to add value.”

In order to diversify out of the garment trade, Bangladesh must do two things, according to Leather and Tan: Improve its infrastructure and investment climate.

Poor infrastructure makes it difficult to transport goods across the country. Additionally, more than 20% of the population of more than 156 million (about 31 million) aren’t connected to the power grid, and companies often have to use their own back-up power generators because of the high susceptibility to blackouts.

Those factors, combined with high levels of corruption, make Bangladesh one of the hardest places in the world to conduct business. According to Capital Economics, “more needs to be done on reducing corruption, simplifying customs procedures, making land acquisition easier, improving private sector companies’ access to credit and making the security situation more stable.”

Ease of doing businessCapital Economics

The government is already taking steps to improve the investment climate. Here’s Leather and Tan:

“Among the measures the government is planning to introduce include removing red-tape to expedite the process of starting a business (to seven days instead of 19.5 days), issuing construction permits within 60 days (instead of the current 278 days) and reducing the time it takes for a company to be connected to the national grid to 28 days (compared with 404 days at present). There are also plans to simplify property registration, enhance contract enforcement, streamline cross- border trade procedures under a World Bank- sponsored agenda, and digitise tax payments to improve collection. Progress on these fronts would increase Bangladesh’s appeal as an investment destination.”

The capital markets are taking notice. Bangladesh’s local stock market, the DSE 30, rallied 15.5% during the first quarter of 2017. It’s up another 2.3% in the first week of the second quarter.

In a note sent out to clients on Thursday, Exotix Partners Head of Frontier Markets Equity Strategy, MENA and South Asia Research, Hasnain Malik says the market is being powered higher by earnings growth, local interest in equities, and increasing foreign investor interest.

Malik believes there is a lot to like about the market’s fundamentals:

  • Domestic political stability
  • Geopolitical support from regional powers China and India
  • Macroeconomic growth and currency stability
  • Fast-paced urban growth and extreme population density
  • Almost all of the 20 biggest publicly traded companies offer direct exposure to Bangladesh’s domestic economy

“In our view, it is too early to let go of the tiger’s tail,” Malik writes. “Bangladesh public equity valuations are just beginning to catch up with its high growth and high returns on capital…”

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APRIL 06, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, N-11, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SOCIAL SECURITY, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TRADE BODIES, TRANSPARENCY & CORRUPTION CONTROL, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

‘ASIAN TIGER’ BANGLADESH FEATURED IN WEF VIDEO

‘ASIAN TIGER’ BANGLADESH FEATURED IN WEF VIDEO

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has featured Bangladesh in its new video as the new “Asian Tiger” for its top economical performances in Asia over the past few decades.

The video was shared on Facebook on Wednesday.

The video shared on Wednesday states that Bangladesh’s economy has grown at an average of 6%, over the past 10 years, and that the nation is relishing such growth with the support of the textile industry which makes 80% of the country’s export.

Besides, Bangladesh has also taken 66% of China’s low-end manufacturing share in Europe.

However, the WEF also depicts that Bangladesh needs to develop the environmental and infrastructural investment in order to diversify out of the garment trade.

WEF reports, poor infrastructure hinders the transportation of goods across the country. In addition, more than 20% of the population is disconnected to the power grid. Therefore, companies often have to use their own back-up power generators because of the high vulnerability to blackouts.

The WEF also considers corruption as a major drawback for the country’s business sector.

According to Capital Economics, “more needs to be done on reducing corruption, simplifying customs procedures, making land acquisition easier, improving private sector companies’ access to credit and making the security situation more stable”, so that companies can pursue their business without any obstacles.

On April 6, the Business Insider UK said that Bangladesh would be a potential candidate for being on the list of Asian Tigers which already includes countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – the four countries that experienced rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s.

The Bangladesh government targets to achieve an ambitious growth of 8% by 2020.

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APRIL 21, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, DECENTRALIZATION, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL - PERCEPTION ON BANGLADESH, N-11, NGO'S, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SAARC, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, WORLD - GEOPOLITICS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH: THE NEW ASIAN TIGER

BANGLADESH: THE NEW ASIAN TIGER

The Business Insider UK report said the Bangladesh economy has been one of the top performers in Asia over the past few decades

Asian Tigers refer to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – the four countries that experienced rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s. Business Insider UK on Thursday suggested another name to add to the list: Bangladesh.

The report said the Bangladesh economy has been one of the top performers in Asia over the past few decades, averaging an annual growth of more than 6%.

Much like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan during the industrialisation of their economies, Bangladesh has attained most of its growth thanks to garment exports, which accounts for 80% of its total share of exports, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Citing Asia economists Gareth Leather and Krystal Tan of Capital Economics, a London-based economic research consultancy, the report said that Bangladesh has picked up about two-thirds of China’s low-end manufacturing market share in Europe.

But if Bangladesh is to reach the government’s ambitious growth target of 8% a year by 2020, it must diversify its trade into other sectors, like electronics and other consumer durables.

Leather and Tan put emphasis on improved infrastructure and investment climate as the major requirements needed to diversify out of the garment trade.

The two economists further claimed that poor infrastructure had made transporting goods across the country difficult.

Additionally, more than 20% of the Bangladeshi population of more than 156 million (nearly 31 million) were not connected to the power grid, and companies often had to use their own back-up power generators because of the high susceptibility to load shedding.

These factors, combined with high levels of corruption, have made Bangladesh one of the hardest places in the world to conduct business.

According to Capital Economics, more needs to be done to reduce corruption, simplify customs procedures, make land acquisition easier, improve private sector companies’ access to credit and make the security situation more stable.

In the latter part, the economists focused on the current government initiatives to improve the investment climate. For example, removing red-tape to expedite the process of starting a business (to seven days instead of 19.5 days), issuing construction permits within 60 days (instead of the current 278 days) and reducing the time it takes for a company to be connected to the national grid to 28 days (compared with 404 days at present).

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APRIL 09, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, Distribution & Poverty, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GLOBALIZATION, GROWTH & TARGET, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT, Poverty, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN & DUTY, SOCIETY, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, Poverty, Distribution & Poverty, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES, UNITED NATIONS | Leave a comment

BANGLADESH’S GDP PER PERSON IS NOW HIGHER THAN PAKISTAN’S

EAST OVERTAKES WEST

BANGLADESH’S GDP PER PERSON IS NOW HIGHER THAN PAKISTAN’S

WHEN Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971, it was much poorer than the country it left. Industry accounted for only 6-7% of its GDP, compared with over 20% in Pakistan. The battle for independence had killed or displaced millions, damaged roads and railways, and severed ties with Pakistan’s bankers and industrialists (including the owner of one of the world’s biggest jute mills). Even before the war, Bangladesh had been trampled by another apocalyptic horseman: a cyclone killed hundreds of thousands in 1970. The country’s independence leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, complained that West Pakistan had not promptly shared its bumper wheat crop or “given a yard of cloth for our shrouds”.

Last month revealed a remarkable turnaround. Bangladesh’s GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan’s. Converted into dollars at market exchange rates, it was $1,538 in the past fiscal year (which ended on June 30th). Pakistan’s was about $1,470.

Strange as it may sound, Bangladesh jumped ahead because of an advance in Pakistan. On August 25th Pakistan released the results of its census, updating earlier population estimates. They showed that the country has 207.8m people, more than 9m more than previously thought. It may now have the fifth biggest population in the world, surpassing Brazil’s. But the new count also lopped 4-5% off Pakistan’s GDP per person, the arithmetic consequence of revealing so many more people.

A caveat should be noted. A dollar stretches further in Pakistan than in Bangladesh because prices in the former tend to be lower. So Pakistan’s $1,470 per person actually has more purchasing power than Bangladesh’s $1,538.

This is nonetheless a good moment to celebrate Bangladesh’s economic progress. Its annual growth has averaged more than 6% over the past ten years and has run above 7% over the past two. Industry accounts for 29% of its GDP. A country that once lacked cloth for shrouds now exports more ready-made garments than India and Pakistan combined. Working conditions are still far worse than they should be. They are also far better than they once were.

Bangladesh’s GDP per person received a boost from another source. Its last census, in 2011, led to a large revision of the country’s population, larger even than Pakistan’s. But in Bangladesh’s case, the revision was downwards.

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This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline “East overtakes west”
SEPTEMBER 27, 2017

Posted in ACHIEVEMENTS - SUCCESS, AGRICULTURE, BENGAL - Heritage, BENGALI NATIONALISM, CHALLENGES, CURRENT ISSUES, ECONOMY, ENERGY - NATURAL RESOURCES, FOREIGN RELATIONS & POLICY, G-8, GLOBAL INDICATORS & BENCHMARK, GROWTH & TARGET, HISTORY OF BENGAL, INDUSTRIES, N-11, NGO'S, REFLECTION - Refreshing our Memories, REGIONAL COOPERATION, Regional Policy, SOCIO-ECONOMY -- Inequality, STOCK MARKET, STRATEGY & POLICY, TOURISM, TRADE BODIES | Leave a comment