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Bangladesh is fast moving out of the category of ‘least developed economy’.

By Majyd Aziz | March 2021


Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, presided over a high-level meeting in early December 1971 to discuss the growing concerns about the possibility of a famine-like situation in Bangladesh. Ural Alexis Johnson, a State Department official, made the infamous comment that the new nation would be an “international basket case”, a quote that has been wrongly attributed to Kissinger.

This is the background of a narrative of how a nation surmounted all negativities to emerge as a relatively successful nation by becoming the premier clothier to the world. There must be some critical mass that has brought about this spectacular transformation from what Kissinger acerbically stated more than five decades ago that “Bangladesh is a bottomless basket” to the enviable position that Dhaka today has in the global textile marketplace.

In 2021, Bangladesh celebrates the Golden Jubilee of Independence as well as the Birth Centenary of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. Bangladesh’s economic indicators manifest the progress the country has made over the past five decades. The country’s GDP is US$ 330 billion now, its annual GDP growth rate has been over 6.5% since 2004, inflation is 5%, foreign exchange reserves have exceeded US$ 43 billion, remittances have crossed US$ 18 billion, foreign direct investment in 2020 was US$ 2.37 billion, while exports and imports were US$ 33 billion and US$ 49 billion, respectively. (Due to the pandemic there was a decrease of 17% in exports from US$ 40 billion and 9% in imports from US$ 54 billion in 2020).

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The writer was the first elected President of the South Asian Forum of Employers. He can be reached at Twitter: MajydAziz

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