NEW DELHI: Little less five decades back then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger smarting from the 1971 defeat of ally Pakistan had described Bangladesh as a basket case. Kissinger has crossed 90 years of age and little did he know then that Bangladesh GDP could overtake that of Singapore and Malaysia by middle of this decade.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who has provided political stability recently remarked that “by 2031, Bangladesh would be an upper-middle-income country and by 2041, it would be a high-income and prosperous country.”

“Since independence exactly five decades back, unlike Islamabad, Dhaka has not excessively invested emotionally in the Middle East’s political fault lines. Dhaka has also not allowed external state actors to use its territory as a formal base for military purposes in the neighborhood. Importantly, it has not indulged in obsessive balancing and bandwagoning tactics that go beyond its economic heft. Instead, Dhaka has shown a greater impetus to engage with South Asian neighbors as well as with Southeast Asia,” Wrote Sanjay Pulipaka and Mohit Musaddi in a recent piece titled ‘Bangladesh poised as bridge between South, SE Asia’ in The Asia Times.

Bangladesh is likely to recover faster than its Asian peers from the Covid-19 fallout thanks to improving exports, growth in domestic consumption and remittance inflow, according to a study of Standard Chartered bank.

In fiscal 2020-21, the economy will bounce back led by growing exports and remittance, which will also give a boost to consumption, it said.

Anubhuti Sahay, head of South Asia economics research of Standard Chartered Singapore, presented the findings of the study titled “2021 Outlook: The Road to Redemption” at a virtual discussion organised by the Bangladesh-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI).

Bangladesh is likely to be an outperformer in the Asian region, according to her. A good number of companies are shifting their manufacturing facilities from China to Bangladesh, she said.

The Indian Economic Survey recently said Bangladesh holds lessons for India to build specialization in exports of products in which it is competitive.

“Bangladesh seems poised to emerge as a dominant exporter as its exports posted an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 per cent during 2011-2019, higher than 0.9 per cent for India, and 0.4 per cent for the world,” the Economic Survey 2020-21, tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Friday, said.

It said the top five export commodities for Bangladesh account for more than 90 per cent of total exports of the country since 2015. These five commodities mainly pertain to textiles and apparels and footwear industry, which are highly labour-intensive and employ unskilled and semi-skilled labour.

“In case of India, on the other hand, export performance is more broadbased as the top five export commodities jointly contribute around 40 per cent of total exports and these commodities are capital and technology-intensive,” the survey said.

The top four commodities in which Bangladesh has largest Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) are also among the top five commodities exported by the country. “This underscores that Bangladesh exports those commodities in which it has competitive advantage,” it said.

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