Rising from the ashes, Bangladesh is one of Asia’s most remarkable and unexpected Sphinx. And Pakistan has been threatened by its success story, since its independence in 1971. Now, in economic doldrums, Pakistan looks on as the former East Pakistan grows at an extraordinary rate.
According to experts, Bangladesh’s annual GDP growth has surpassed Pakistan by roughly 2.5 percentage points per year. And 2018 witnessed it exceeding India. Moreover, Bangladesh’s per capita income is growing faster than Pakistan’s by about 3.3 percentage points per year, and this is because its population growth is below Pakistan’s two percent rate.
Political Scientist Ali Riaz says Bangladesh has managed unprecedented growth in social indicators such as public health and education for women. And empowerment of its women has led to the country’s magnificent transformation. According to Brookings Bangladesh has made significant strides toward educating girls and giving women a greater voice, both in the household and the public sphere.
“These efforts have translated into improvements in children’s health and education, such that Bangladeshis’ average life expectancy is now 72 years compared to India’s 68 years and Pakistan’s 66 years.”
Another most attributable factor to Bangladesh’s growth is its garment industry. And it has a commendable garment industry, thanks to its labour laws. Achieving independence after India and Pakistan, Bangladesh offers a better environment for manufacturing firms to achieve economies of scale and create a large number of jobs. Though it needs stronger regulation to protect workers from occupational hazards, the absence of a law that explicitly curtails labour-market flexibility has been a boon for job creation.
With growth comes, corruption, inequality and cronyism. For Bangladesh to maintain its growth it has to be open and flexible to investors. Furthermore, it has to have a stable government. Bangladesh has to be vigilant.