Bangladesh economy growth 'best in decades'

Published: May 31, 2011
Bangladesh has targeted growth of seven percent for the next financial year beginning on July 1.

Bangladesh has targeted growth of seven percent for the next financial year beginning on July 1.

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s economy has grown at its highest rate in decades, driven by resurgent exports and a strong performance by the usually sluggish farm sector, officials said Tuesday.

The economy expanded by 6.66 percent in the 12 months to June, the fastest pace since the early 1970s when it was boosted by recovery following Bangladesh’s victory in its war of independence with Pakistan.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, which announces annual growth figures a month before the country’s financial year ends in June, also revised its figures for 2009-10 growth upwards to 6.07 percent from a provisional estimate of 5.54 percent.

“The 6.66 percent growth is the highest in recent decades,” BBS chief Shahjahan Ali Molla told AFP.

An official at the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics said it was the fastest rate of growth for Bangladesh since 1973-74 when the economy grew by 9.59 percent.

Bangladesh has targeted growth of seven percent for the next financial year beginning on July 1.

Last year’s growth was powered by the country’s resurgent manufacturing sector and higher crop yields, the secretary of the government’s general economic division, Shamsul Alam, told AFP.

“Manufacturing was driven by an impressive 42 percent export growth in garment products. Agriculture also shone because of record outputs of rice, wheat and some other crops, thanks to favourable weather,” he said.

The World Bank had projected a 6.3 percent growth rate for Bangladesh, with a population of 150 million people, which is still one of the world’s most impoverished nations, with nearly 40 percent of people living below the poverty line.

According to the statistics bureau, manufacturing expanded by 9.51 percent overall with major industries clocking 10.41 percent growth as garment shipments soared following a dramatic surge in orders diverted from an increasingly costly China.

The country has been benefited from rising wages in China that prompted many of the world’s top retailers such as Wal-Mart to go bargain-hunting in Bangladesh, analysts said.

Garment export growth was just three percent in the 2009-2010 as demand for low-cost Bangladeshi goods fell sharply in the wake of the global financial crisis.

But the country’s total foreign trade is now expected to grow 40 percent to a record $50 billion dollars in this financial year.

“Manufacturing and agriculture have done tremendously well this year,” said Ahsan H. Mansur, a former senior official of the International Monetary Fund and the head of local think-tank Policy Research Institute.

“Garments, which account for 40 percent of our industrial activities, alone added two percentage points to growth,” he said, adding the country’s overall growth target of seven percent for the next financial year was reasonable.

At the weekend, the government unveiled a record $6.4 billion development spending for the next year to boost the economy. Power generation got the highest allocation of $1.2 billion in a bid to ease crippling electricity cuts, which have for years taken a toll on manufacturing growth.


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Reader Comments (17)

  • Tony Singh
    May 31, 2011 - 6:26PM

    Way to go. That is the “Peace dividend” in a democratic society.Recommend

  • makia
    May 31, 2011 - 6:53PM

    Great News.Bangladesh has built a strong economy not one built on a few elites. It has nothing to do with feudal democracy, But Stability . Recommend

  • Loose Salwar
    May 31, 2011 - 7:12PM

    Bangladesh built a great economy from what they had in 1971. What about Pakistan?Recommend

  • hgfjhgj
    May 31, 2011 - 7:30PM

    also point to note that this bangladeshi govt. is pro indian and has very friendly relations with it so pakistan should take some lesson from it that either you feed the people or you feed the tanks and aircrafts .choice is yours.Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 7:37PM

    In years to come, it surely does seem to surpass Pakistan!Recommend

  • Noor Nabi
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:06AM

    Bangladesh has not sold it’s soul to a country like Saudi Arabia and has kept an eye on those who make trouble in the name of religion.Recommend

  • pl/sql
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:13AM

    Bangladesh is not perfect but at least 10000 times better than Pakistan in separating the state and religion. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:56AM

    @ Blunt! In years to come, it surely does seem to surpass Pakistan!

    Bangladesh has already surpassed Pakistan – it has proven that a Muslim nation can be secular, control it’s religious extremist, and prosper.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:32AM

    Bangladesh developed only and only because of one reason. The Koreans and people from HongKong built up their apparel sector. They hired more women.Women in Bangladeshi apparel sector account for 65% of the head count. They are becoming supervisors, managers and also small factory owners and they have changed Bangladeshi culture. These women are do not want high military expenditures (as Military is 95% men) and are anti-Fundamentalists (who wanted them to stay home). They are having less children (one or two) so that they have a chance to go to college. They are following modern 21st century culture. Pakistan (especially, mostly young men from Punjab) see Imran taliban as their last hope. He is anti women, Pro ISI and his philosphy is closer to Taliban than modern urban parties..,
    To change Pakistan you do not need Imran or revolution.. You just need more women in workforce and people like Imran and fundamentalists will become a footnote in history and Pakistan will have small families where children can be provided education and it will grow as fast as India and China. End the male domination of Paksitan and everything good will happen automatically.Recommend

  • Adeel
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:06AM

    I am quite shocked to see pakistanis commetning like lossers here…6.6% GDP growth rate is less than what we experience on average during most part of 2000s, before democracy took over, where was Bangladesh then? Business Cycles come and go..with $105 billion economy having almost the same population as that of pakistan, they have a long way to go before the “catch up” with pakistan…Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:12PM


    “6.6% GDP growth rate is less than what we experience on average during most part of 2000s”

    Stop reading the “Agency Inspired” Newspapers, especially the Urdu Media.

    Pakistan NEVER touched a growth rate of 6.66%, EVER in the 2000s.

    “Business Cycles come and go..with $105 billion economy having almost the same population as that of pakistan, they have a long way to go before the “catch up” with pakistan…”

    Not really. That may happen in the next 15 years or so, especially with Pakistan’s current/projected growth rate of 2.5%(For this year as well as next).

    Bengalis are reaping the reward of Independence, but not Pakistanis.Recommend

  • King
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:14PM

    @Adeel: Stop joking. have you heard about fake pakistani finatial figures from world bank gurus…? Even your guys are faking math from 2001 to 2010. Please wake up. Recommend

  • ashwin
    Jun 1, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Bangladesh will also meet millennium goals by 2015 which neither India nor Pakistan will manage to. as for Pakistani bravado the Bangladesh rupiah is a little more valuable then PKR. Bangladesh has a long way to go, guess what it doesn’t have is the baggage of Regional power,India centric nonsense.We Indians are ready Bangladesh in any possible, we want a prosperous Bangladesh.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:14PM

    Don’t believe everything you read, please go to google and check some proper facts!!!!Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Jun 2, 2011 - 3:56AM

    Even Bangladesh is leaving us behind. Recommend

  • Bishesh Seal
    Jun 2, 2011 - 9:39AM

    Best wishes from India and Kolkata to our Bangladeshi neighbours.
    It is a wonderful resolve that the Bangldeshis have had the foresight
    to enshrine the secular nature of their state for eternity into their constitution.
    We in India, understand the issues faced by Bangladesh is the same as we face in India.
    However, we are opposed to illegal migration. But, we understand that the
    Bangladeshis are fleeing very oppressive economic and natural situations at home.
    Consequently, they need a temporary helping hand and support from India,
    despite our many, many problems.
    If Bangladesh can, so can the rest of South Asia.
    So can Pakistan, so can Afghanistan, so can Nepal and indeed India.
    This is the kind of competition that should be putting our politicians on notice.
    In every single state, province and country.
    Only when we see our neighbours prospering,
    will the people begin to expect and demand more from their leaders.
    Until now, we have been poisoned by hate and fear mongering by these useless leaders.
    Let’s change that.
    Bangladesh’s flag has the red sun dawning on a green field.
    A very apt visual and progressive metaphor. Well done. Keep on growing. Joi Bangla! Recommend

  • ImnIndian
    Jun 2, 2011 - 1:59PM

    good going bangladesh. hope pak also learns from bangladeshRecommend

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