Oct 10, 2021


StanChart economists: Bangladesh set to become $500bn economy by 2026

Leading economists of Standard Chartered have observed that growth will be sustained by over 7% in FY22-26 and this should drive Bangladesh's GDP up to $500 billion and per capita to $3,000 by FY26. Bangladesh remains a compelling growth story, despite the global pandemic, the report concluded. According to Eric Robertsen , Global Head of Research and Chief Strategist of the Standard Chartered "while the pace and distribution of global recovery remain highly uneven, Bangladesh has made a strong comeback with one of the highest GDP growths in the world in 2020”. Moreover, according to Standard Chartered Economist for South Asia Saurav Anand "Bangladesh's economy is set to accelerate after a speed bump, with GDP growth forecast at 5.5% in FY21 and 7.2% in FY22. The momentum will be driven by an export demand recovery, strong remittance inflows and public investment.”

Pre-Pandemic Level: World Bank report hints at gradual recovery

The World Bank in a report noted a gradual recovery in employment and earnings in Bangladesh, forecasting that the country's poverty rate will come down to pre-pandemic levels in the current fiscal year. The pandemic reversed the country's steady trend of poverty reduction, lifting the poverty rate to an estimated 12.9% in the 2019-2020 fiscal year from 11.9% the previous year. "The Covid-19 pandemic has put the substantial poverty reduction gains of the past decade at risk. Poverty increased from 11.9% in FY19 [fiscal year 18-19] to an estimated 12.9% in FY20 [19-20], using the international poverty rate [$1.9 in 2011 PPP]," said the report. Growth was supported by a demographic dividend, sound macroeconomic policies, and an acceleration in readymade garment (RMG) exports, while job creation and remittance inflows contributed to a sharp decline in poverty, the report said.

Nikkei’s Covid recovery ranking: Bangladesh tops in South Asia

Bangladesh has outnumbered other South Asian countries in the latest edition of Nikkei's Covid-19 Recovery Index, reflecting the government's pandemic response efforts towards recovery. The country has climbed 48 notches up and ranked 26th globally, according to the index released last week. The index assesses 121 countries and regions based on the infection management, vaccine rollouts, and social mobility posting a score between 0 and 90 at the end of each month. Bangladesh scored 60, which was the highest among six South Asian countries assessed in the recovery index. According to media reports, the government led by Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina has ensured mass vaccination, social awareness, corona dedicated hospital facility, telemedicine service, rapid corona test facility, social distancing and other health guidelines to curb the infections and deaths in the country.

Now focus on boosting agro exports: HPM Sheikh Hasina

Addressing a press conference following her return from UNGA, HPM Sheikh Hasina said the government now looks to further boost exports of processed agro products as part of its endeavour to trigger economic solvency for all, especially those in villages. She said, "We are developing 100 economic zones. We will process crops as per yields in a particular region. If we can process more, we will earn more foreign currencies." From harvesting to loading into air freights, there should not be any damage to agro products in any stage, she said. Exports of ICT and digital devices and agro-products will drive the country's economy to its cherished destination, making Bangladesh a solvent nation, the premier also said. She added "we have to procure agricultural produce directly from cropland and for that, we need our own cargoes [to minimise crop waste]. We have already informed Biman about our requirement.In FY21, Bangladesh's agriculture product export clocked a $1 billion mark for the first time.

UN signs deal with Bangladesh to help Rohingyas in Bhasan Char

Bangladesh government and the United Nations (UN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a common protection and policy framework for humanitarian response to Rohingya in Bhasan Char. The MoU – signed by UNHCR on behalf of UN agencies working on the Rohingya response in Bangladesh – establishes a common protection and policy framework for the Rohingya humanitarian response on the island. The MoU is a further expression of the government and people of Bangladesh’s generosity and support towards the Rohingya population until they can return safely and sustainably to Myanmar. These cover the key areas of protection, education, skills-training, livelihoods and health, which will help support the refugees to lead decent lives on the island and better prepare them for sustainable return to Myanmar in the future.

Export earnings see a big leap

The country’s export earnings showed significant growth in September this year despite the coronavirus pandemic. A sharp rise in shipment of RMG helped fetch $4165.45 million earnings following some relaxations of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Overall merchandise exports have also registered a strong positive growth after one and half years with the reopening of the markets especially in the western world. EPB figures further show exports of readymade garments and knitwear, exports of leather and leather products, agriculture and plastic products have returned to positive trend. It has led to an increase in overall product exports. The export performance is 37.99% higher than last year September's $3.01 billion and 39.17% higher than the monthly target of $2.99 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) released last week.

Bangladesh’s first ever underwater tunnel opening before deadline

While work on the excavation for the first tube of the Karnaphuli tunnel was delayed by the pandemic, faster efforts for the second tube have made up for the crucial lost time as its boring ended last week – nearly two months ahead of schedule. The tunnel, at a depth of 18-43 metres below the riverbed, will connect Anwara and Karnaphuli upazilas on the south bank of the Karnaphuli River with the port city. The tunnel will reduce the distance from Chattogram to Cox's Bazar by 40 kilometres, with vehicles plying it reaching speeds of 80km per hour. The length of the main tunnel is 3.32km, with each tube measuring 2.45km at a diameter of 10.80 metres. Each tube will have two lanes, with connecting roads for the main tunnel and a 727-metre over-bridge.

Government moves to combat gender-based violence

The government of Bangladesh has taken many initiatives in the last few years to combat the increasing number of gender-based violence cases. The policy level project titled “Advancement of Women’s Rights” is being implemented in four disaster-prone districts of the country by the Department of Women Affairs under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs as one of the ways of the government responding to violence against women. The project aims at preventing gender-based violence and oppression against women and girls through the establishment of women's equal rights and women’s empowerment. The activities of the project include the implementation of existing policies to protect and promote women's rights at the national level, prevent child marriage and all forms of discrimination against women and prevent violence against women by increasing communication.

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