Bangladesh’s GDP per capita is higher than that of India and Pakistan, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country’s economy is projected to reach $516.24 billion in the 2024-25 fiscal year. Bangladesh’s economic growth surpassed 7% for four consecutive years before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Rubana Huq, former President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said Bangladesh has progressed thanks to the private sector’s resiliency, as well as a strong civil society, NGO participation, and effective governance.
“Bangladesh is a phoenix — we always rise from the ashes. We are the South Asian tiger,” she added.
She stated at a webinar on ‘Bangladesh: A Development Success Story’, hosted by the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The event was moderated by Daniel F Runde, Senior Vice-President, Director of the Project on Prosperity and Development and Americas Program. William A Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis at CSIS, while Shahidul Islam, Bangladesh Ambassador to the US, gave the welcome speech.
The ready-made garment (RMG) industry is the single biggest export earner for Bangladesh. The sector accounts for 83% of the total export earnings of the country. There were only 304 factories when the industry started to take off, but now there are more than 4,600. On the other hand, Huq admitted to an over reliance on RMG, stating that it is time to diversify.
Runde said Bangladesh is on track to graduate from the United Nations least developed countries list in 2026 and is no longer considered a basket case.
Speaking at the event, Farooq Sobhan, former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, said that the country is now the fourth-largest producer of rice and the third-largest producer of vegetables.
Bangladesh’s population density is a key asset for the country’s development, the resilience and entrepreneurial nature of its people have been strong drivers of Bangladesh’s long-term success. It can help deliver development programs in a much more cost-effective manner according to Tamara Hasan Abed, managing director of Brac Enterprises.
Bangladesh can become a software development hub, according to Mozena. The former US ambassador to Bangladesh also said Bangladesh has the potential to become a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s three or four fastest expanding economies. According to experts, the country should prioritize talent development, entrepreneurship, and fostering a more favorable investment climate.
While South Asian countries lag in terms of trade, there is tremendous potential for connectivity and integration. Bangladesh imports electricity from India and is considering doing so from Nepal and Bhutan as well.