UNBEATABLE BANGLADESH

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All the countries across the globe have witnessed economic and social transformations in 2020, largely because of the pandemic. But Bangladesh has managed to go against the odds; in a spectacular run and is set to overtake its neighbor India in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published a report which states that Bangladesh’s GDP has been seen to increase by 4% to a value of $1,888; while the GDP of India declined by 10.3% to a diminishing value of $1,877. Experts state that this phenomenon has occurred mostly due to the rapidly rising levels of agricultural production, the export of multiple goods and services, and the high inflow of remittance from the Bangladeshi expats. Bangladesh has been highly praised by the media of both countries; including a bravo from one of India’s key political figures.

Analysts and economists are perceiving India’s economic performance as a dire signal. This contraction is reportedly the third sharpest fall in the world; right after Spain and Italy. If IMF’s forecast is accurate, then India will only be ahead of Nepal and Pakistan’s GDP in terms of a regional comparison. On the other hand, the remaining countries of South Asia – the ones that are experiencing tremendous growth – shall be well ahead of India. This cohort comprises of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and not to mention Bangladesh.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published a report which states that Bangladesh’s GDP has been seen to increase by 4% to a value of $1,888; while the GDP of India declined by 10.3% to a diminishing value of $1,877. Experts state that this phenomenon has occurred mostly due to the rapidly rising levels of agricultural production, the export of multiple goods and services, and the high inflow of remittance from the Bangladeshi expats.

India was well ahead of Bangladesh a few years ago in terms of per capita GDP. Thanks to its massive rise in exports, Bangladesh has managed to significantly close the gap. Not only that, IMF’s report also shows that Bangladesh is already set to post the highest per capita GDP growth rate in South Asia and the fourth-highest in the whole of Asia in 2020 compared to that of last year, comfortably ahead of India and China. The country’s per capita GDP growth would become the sixth highest in the world in the current calendar year, despite all the economic setbacks that all the countries had to go through due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Experts have dissected this spectacular achievement of Bangladesh and have identified the key factors that have played a major role in it. They have stated that the three pillars of growth that have made this herculean task achievable are –

  1. Agriculture – Bangladesh’s rice production rose by 2 million tonnes alone last fiscal year compared to that a year ago. Prior to the pandemic, Bangladesh has gained significant success in agriculture, achieving third-fastest growth in vegetable production, fourth position in rice production, third in fish production from inland water bodies, fifth in aquaculture production and seventh position in mango production in the world. The country has been ranked third in producing fish from inland water bodies, behind China and India, according to a report of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  2. Exports – The country’s merchandise shipments during the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY), 2020-21, grew by 2.58 percent to US$ 9.89 billion over that of the same period of last fiscal. The July-September export earnings also surpassed the target set for the period by 2.45 percent, according to provisional data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The export recovery has started in June and continued in September also and as the gradual reopening of western markets is taking place, the placement of new orders coupled with the revival of the majority of the previously suspended or canceled ready-made garment (RMG) work-orders are significantly contributing to the turnaround.
  3. Remittance – Bangladeshi expatriates have made a new record in outward remittance by sending over $6.71 billion in the July-September period in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The amount is 48.57 percent more than the money received in the same period last year. In September alone, the expatriates remitted more than $2.15 billion, the second-highest in a month after $2.6 billion in July. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal hopes the remittance inflow in the 2020-21 fiscal year will total over $24 billion.

While the entire country celebrates this massive success and is working collectively to take the country to greater heights, we must ensure that these achievements are sustained in the long run. Such small steps, through repetition, will eventually solidify our presence and impact on the global stage. It is time that we ensure that such economic growth and progress is one of the many more to come.

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