Dr.Syed Mehboob

Senior Research Editor

The News Lark, political and economic analyst

Bangladesh’s 53 years successful journey of development is very impressive and there is much lesson for developing countries to learn from this. Once poverty ridden, backward, low income country has made steady progress and now has the status of middle-income country. Bangladesh is the 4th largest producer of rice, 5th largest producer of fish in the world. It ranks first in Gender Equality Index in South Asian nations.

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia which is the eighth largest country of the world in terms of population with a population of 169 million people having an area of 148,460sqr km and is one of the most densely populated countries of the world. It shares border with India to the west, north and east, and Myanmar to the southeast, to the south it has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal. It’s capital is Dhaka which is also the largest city of Bangladesh and hub of its economy. Chittagong is its largest seaport. It is normally separated from Bhutan and Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim in the north.

Under Mughal rule eastern Bengal continued to prosper as the melting point of Muslims in the eastern subcontinent and attracted traders from around the world. The Bengali elites at that time were the richest people in the world due to strong trade network and the Muslim traders which supplied textiles such as 40% of Dutch’s imports from Asia,

Bangladesh joined Commonwealth Organization in 1972 and United Nations Organization (UNO) in 1974. It is the founding member of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It joined the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1973 and hosted the summit of OIC foreign ministers, which addressed issues, like conflicts and disputes affecting Muslim majority countries. It is also a founding member of D8 countries a bloc of eight Muslim majority countries.

Economy of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is world’s 35th largest economy in terms of market exchange rates and 25th largest in terms of purchasing power parity. It is the second largest economy of South Asia after India.It is also one of the world’s fastest growing economies and one of the fastest growing middle-income countries. Bangladesh is one of the Next Eleven emerging markets. Major industries include textile, pharmaceuticals, shipping, steel, electronics, energy, construction materials, and food processing etc.  Major export earning is from garments.Bangladesh’s Dr. Muhammad Yunus has done excellent job by introducing Grameen Bank and focused on rural development and poverty alleviation. He successfully pioneered microfinance as a sustainable tool for poverty alleviation. More than 10 million people were alleviated from poverty with the help of this programme. In recognition of his meritorious services Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Pakistan’s Dr. Amjad Saqib was very much impressed by Dr. Muhammad Yunus and he too pioneered “Akhuwat” a unique project and first time in the history of modern world started microfinance to help and support poor people on non-interest base. He received the highest Asian Award, Commonwealth Award and is nominated for Noble Prize.

Bangladesh was the second poorest country in 1971 making the country’s transformation over the fifty years in 2020 made one of the greatest success stories. Since then, poverty has been cut into half and literacy rate rose from 40% to 80%. Enrolment in primary school is now 100%. Bangladesh invested in human capital, Education, Health and Industrial Development and now is reaping its fruits in terms of phenomenal economic growth. It is continuously investing in energy, inland connectivity, urban projects, transport facilitation etc. The government had set up Export Processing Zones (EPZs) to stimulate export economy. In 2022, Bangladesh had the second largest foreign reserves in South Asia. The resources boosted government’s spending capacity and a big chunk investment had gone into power sector. In 2022 it achieved the target of 100% electrification. One of the major anti- poverty drives of Bangladesh is Ashrayan project which aims to eradicate homelessness by providing free housings. The poverty rate came down from 80% in 1971 to 44.2 % in 1991 to 12. 9% in 2021. The government is setting up hundred special economic zones (SEZs) to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to generate ten million jobs to further fight against poverty and unemployment. The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) had been established to help investors in setting up factories.

Sector % of GDP % of Employment
Services 57.3 39
Industry 35.1 20.4
Primary       (Agriculture) 13.6 40.6

Population:          169.8 million (2023)

GDP                     : US$ 455 billion (nominal2024)

                               US$ 1,619 billion (PPP 2024)

GDP per Capita: $ 2,640(Nominal2024)

GDP per Capita: US$ 9,416 (PPP 2024)


Year % GDP growth
2020 3.4
2021 6.9
2022 7.2
2023 6.00
2024 5.7
2025 ( F) 6.6


GDP Ranking

Nominal 2024: 35th

PPP 2024    : 25th

Labour Force: 65 million

Population below poverty line : 18.7%

Main Industries: Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Ship-building, Automotive, leather, jute, glass, paper

Exports: US$ 60.5 billion (2023-24)

Export Partners

Country % of Total exports
Germany 16
USA 15.2
UK 7.4
Spain 7.17
Poland 5.55
France 4.2

Export goods: cotton textile and knitwear, jute, glass, paper

Imports: US$ 70.1 billion (2023-24)

Import Partners

Country % of Total import
China 21.5
India 12.2
Singapore 9.2
EU 6.21
Hong Kong 5.5


FDI : US$ 22.8 billion

Import Items

Textiles and Textile Articles, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances, Electrical Equipment, Mineral Products, VegetableProducts, Metal & metal products, Chemicals & Allied Products, Vehicles & Aircraft are its main export items.


Pakistan Bangladesh Statistics US $ Million

Year Exports Imports Total Trade Balance of Trade Total export of Pakistan % share in total export Total


% share in Total imports
2017 647.4 72 719.4 57.54 21,911.6 3 57,518.7 0.1
2018 788.7 72.6 861.3 716.2 23,778.6 3.3 60,391.1 0.1
2019 797.0 41.5 834.5 751.5 23,818.8 3.3 50,511 0.1
2020 583.7 62 645.7 521.6 22,245.7 2.6 45,841.7 0.1
2021 815.6 90.4 906.0 725.2 28,880 2.8 73,106.6 0.1


It is in the larger interest of the region and the people of both the countries that both countries should move towards the strong and strategic long-term relations. People of Pakistan are waiting for the visit of Sheikh Hasina Wajid, the honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh under whom Bangladesh made this astonishing progress and there is a need to bring business communities of both countries closer to pave the way for stronger bilateral economic relations and to increase trade volume between the two countries. On the occasion of celebration of 53rd Independence Day of brother country Bangladesh on Tuesday 21st May, 2024 at local hotel about 16 consul Generals of various countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, China ,Qatar, Russia, UAE, Oman, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Morocco, Yemen and others were there. The News Lark team including me and Jawed Malik, Chief Editor were also present there. The journey of Bangladesh towards development and prosperity is astonishing and there is lesson for Pakistan to learn.

(To be continued)





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