|Bangladesh has become the “fastest-growing economy” in the Asia Pacific. / Photo by Mykhailo Polenok via 123rf|
“The global economy is in a synchronized slowdown,” said the International Monetary Fund, an international organization consisting of 189 countries that are working together to foster monetary cooperation. They said that the US-China trade war is going to cumulatively decrease the global gross domestic product by 0.8 percent next year. The trade tension has likewise shaken the already established order and hindered the progress of the global markets. Yet, there is one country that has quickly adapted to the changing landscape: Bangladesh. This is according to international news magazine covering politics and culture The Diplomat.
While the economies of its neighboring South Asian countries slow, Bangladesh is hitting an impressive economic growth. Citing data from the international development finance institution Asian Development Bank, the daily states that Bangladesh has become the “fastest-growing economy” in the Asia Pacific.
Booming Bangladesh economy
Even its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has acknowledged via the World Economic Forum that their economy is “booming.” She sees the strengths of their nation: people’s trust in the country itself and their societal values. The Prime Minister added how the aspiration of their citizens to progress, their confidence in their leadership, as well as their resilience, have helped them to flourish. Last year, 12 industrial robots were exported by Bangladesh to Korea. Four Bangladesh-made ships were also exported to India. Their country is also home to about 600,000 Information Technology freelancers, making their country the largest freelancing community. All these are only the “quiet transformation” and “risks” that their people have faced becoming more adaptive to technology and innovative.
Prime Minister Hasina is expecting mobile internet penetration in the country to reach 41 percent of its population by 2025. Rapid urbanization has become a huge market and it is fed by the increase in the consumption of electricity. “In Bangladesh, we know how to transform challenges into opportunities,” she went on, emphasizing that others may still be concerned about the risks involved in investing in their country.
The economic growth in its neighboring South Asia nations has already fallen by 1.1 percentage points within the last six months, but Bangladesh has experienced double-digit growth in its GDP. Their reason is that they made big steps by attracting more foreign investors and searching for new markets for the country’s exports. In the same way, Bangladesh has also been investing in various modernization projects.
|Last year, 12 industrial robots were exported by Bangladesh to Korea. Four Bangladesh-made ships were also exported to India. / Photo by nightman1965 via 123rf|
Economy comparison: South Asian countries vs. Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s economy has also grown 188 percent in size since 2009 and this year, it posted a high record growth of 8.1 percent. Its per-capita income also exceeds $1,909. Meanwhile, the economy of other South Asian nations, including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India, suffered a slow GDP growth.
Bangladesh's GDP growth rates are as follows: 7.1 percent in 2016, 7.3 percent (2017), 7.9 percent (2018), 8.1 percent (2019), and an estimated 8 percent (2020). India’s GDP growth rates are as follows: 8.2 percent (2016), 7.2 percent (2017), 6.8 percent (2018), 6.5 percent (2019), and an estimated 7.2 percent (2020).
On the other hand, Pakistan’s GDP growth rates are 4.6 percent (2016), 5.2 percent (2017), 5.5 percent (2018), 3.3 percent (2019), and an estimated 2.8 percent (2020). Sri Lanka’s GDP growth rates are 4.5 percent (2016), 3.4 percent (2017), 3.2 percent (2018), 2.6 percent (2019), and an estimated 3.5 percent (2020).
To become the 26th largest economy in the world
Financial services company HSBC Bank has also predicted that by 2030, Bangladesh will become the 26th largest economy in the world. In terms of exports in the country, it has become diversified and increased. It increased by 4.5 percent last year and will continue to increase by 10.1 percent in 2019. Its prime minister has even said that their agriculture production is not just subsistence but “beyond self-sufficiency.”
Bangladesh has become the fourth-largest producer of mango, second-largest in terms of jute production, fourth-largest in rice production, fourth-largest in inland fisheries, and the fifth-largest when it comes to vegetable production as compared to other countries in the world. Modernization, adaptation, and ingenuity are the three things that have allowed their country to compete in the marketplace worldwide.
Even their economic backbone, the garment industry, continues to flourish. This is attributed to the increasing demands of Bangladeshi garments in new markets, such as China, India, Canada, and Australia, as well as in their existing market in the United States.
Our World in Data further shares the gross domestic product per capita expressed in US dollars and adjusted for a price change of Bangladesh in the following years:
It only goes to show how Bangladesh has built a kind of economy that is thriving and not just surviving. The significant factors that have helped the country to grow are rapid modernization and a young workforce. On the other hand, for reigniting the growth in other countries, it is best to follow the advice of the IMF. That is, to remove the trade barriers and consider agreements and policies instead. These actions can help improve trade, manufacturing, and investment in other countries too.