Region: Southern Asia
Population: 153,546,901 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 144,000 sq km
Currency: taka (BDT)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $1,300 (2007 est.)
Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections in January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
Economy – Overview:
The economy has grown 5-6% over the past few years despite inefficient state-owned enterprises, delays in exploiting natural gas resources, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas, mainly in the Middle East and East Asia, fuel economic growth.
Major Export Commodities: garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood
Remittances: US $5,425 million (2006)
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 140 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $456.46 million. Major development partners include the IDA, the Asian Development Fund, Japan, and the UK.
Total External Debt: US $21.23 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
United Nations membership date: 17 September 1974
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations
227 East 45th Street, 14th Floor
Neww York, N.Y. 10017-3520, USA
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008