January 29, 2015
Using data published by IMF, a CNN report states that Bangladesh will record the second highest GDP growth in the world in 2019 with 7%. In 2014, Bangladesh ranked 4th with 6% while China topped the list with 7.5%. Unlike most of the other top growing economies, Bangladesh is projected to maintain a steady growth of over 6% rising to 6.5% in 2015 and then holding it at 7% between 2017 and 2019.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has “highly appreciated” Bangladesh's commitment to the court as well as to the concept of rule of law. ICC President Sang Hyun Song and Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Besouda expressed the sentiments when Bangladesh’s Law Minister Anisul Huq met them at their offices recently. ICC is a permanent court established to try the most serious international crimes.
3.5 million households in Bangladesh, which is about 10% of the country's total, had installed solar home systems (SHS) by the end of 2014. With one of the fastest SHS installation rates in the world, the government now aims to generate 220 MW of electricity for around 6 million households by 2017, empower 75 million Bangladeshis through renewable energy by 2020, and become the world’s “first solar nation”.
Government has approved proposals for procuring six new ships for Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) and setting up a national data center with concessional loans worth US$ 338 million from China. Of the six ships, three are oil tankers and three bulk carriers. The data center will be a high performance, well-structured and well-protected four-tiered one, and will be the sixth largest in the world.
Since 4th January 2015, BNP-Jamaat’s violence in the name of politics has so far: Killed 38 people; injured 1091 others; and destroyed around 800 vehicles. Such violent politics is causing extreme discontent among members of the public. Civil society members, doctors and business leaders have all protested against such destructive politics either through human-chains or organized demonstrations.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
Bangladesh has moved one step closer to having its own high-speed metro rail. On Monday, Parliament passed the Metro Rail Act 2015, which provides the legislative framework for easing traffic congestion and providing fast and improved public transport services through high-speed rail. In a related development, the first tender for the construction of the 20km metro rail route will be invited on January 31.
Government plans to upgrade all highways into four-lane ones and connect them with the Padma Bridge. A project worth US$ 2.8 billion has been undertaken to end traffic congestion in Dhaka by building a new flyover and a 140 meters long underpass. Process for constructing a new 80 km long elevated expressway has also started. Construction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project would begin this December.
Growth and Development
Under the Awami League government people are living longer and more prosperous lives. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), at the end of 2014, the poverty rate of Bangladesh stood at 24.7%, compared to 31.5% 2010. By the same token, people’s life expectancy has also risen in recent times. At the end of 2013, average life expectancy was 70.1 years, up from 69 years in 2011.
The World Bank will provide Bangladesh with US$ 775 million for two development projects, one for improving quality of primary education and another for boosting disaster preparedness through the construction of multi-purpose disaster shelters. The WB will provide US$ 400 million for the 3rd Primary Education Development Programme and US$ 375 million for the Multipurpose Disaster Shelter Project.
The hygienic sanitation usage rate in Bangladesh has increased significantly over the last decade to 97% from just 33% in 2003. The number of people practicing open defecation has also decreased significantly as a result, currently at just 3% of the population. The figures were disclosed at the 7th inter-country meeting of the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) held in Dhaka this week.
Bangladesh has become the 60th developing country partner of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to make its pre-primary and primary education system efficient, inclusive and equitable by delivering child-friendly learning. As a GPE member country, Bangladesh is now eligible to apply for a Program Implementation Grant in the amount of up to US$100 million over three years.
Bangladesh on the International Stage
According to the “Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2015” released recently, Bangladesh climbed three spots up to 28th in 2015 among the world’s 45 leading emerging markets. Bangladesh scored 4.56 points, up from 4.45 points in 2014 due to steady growth and social indicators improvement. In a related development, Bangladesh has also improved its ranking for economic freedom.
Awami League MP ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury has been elected Vice-President of Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians of Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU). He was elected in the 146th session of the committee for July 2018 tenure. Currently, another AL MP Saber H Chowdhury is the President of IPU, the international organization for parliaments and parliamentarians from around the world.
Trade and Investment
Business people from Wales, UK are interested to collaborate with Bangladeshi enterprises in a number of areas, including transfer of knowledge and skills through business relationships. The views were expressed by a 25-member high-level Welsh business delegation that visited Bangladesh this week to drive forward business relations between the two countries.
A China-Bangladesh JV company has built a US$ 21.5 million leather and footwear plant at Mongla Export Processing Zone (EPZ). The plant represents the biggest investment proposal in the EPZ, and starts operation in March. It will have an annual production capacity of five million square feet of finished leather, 200,000 pieces of bags and 100,000 pairs of shoes. It will create jobs for 3,162 Bangladeshi nationals.
Digital Bangladesh
The 4th installment of the country’s largest ICT expo and fair, Digital World 2015, will be held in Dhaka from February 9-12. Organized jointly by the ICT Division and BASIS, the event will include programmes like B2B matchmaking sessions, seminars, workshops, IT career fair, soft expo, e-governance expo, mobile innovation expo, e-commerce, BPO events and separate forums for women and children.
A multilateral nationwide initiative titled: “Smart Farmer: Smart Future” is being implemented to empower farmers through using ICT enabled extension and market linkage services of e-Krishok. The objectives of the campaign are to engage youth farmers and agri-businesses in using ICT services and building awareness on mobile and Internet based advisory services on extension and market linkages.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives