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  • Country Profile 2005

    Bangladesh This Country Profile is a reference work, analysing the countrys history, politics, infrastructure and economy. It is revised and updated annually. The Economist Intelligence Units Country Reports analyse current trends and provide a two-year forecast.

    The full publishing schedule for Country Profiles is now available on our website at The Economist Intelligence Unit 15 Regent St, London SW1Y 4LR United Kingdom

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

    The Economist Intelligence Unit is a specialist publisher serving companies establishing and managing operations across national borders. For over 50 years it has been a source of information on business developments, economic and political trends, government regulations and corporate practice worldwide.

    The Economist Intelligence Unit delivers its information in four ways: through its digital portfolio, where its latest analysis is updated daily; through printed subscription products ranging from newsletters to annual reference works; through research reports; and by organising seminars and presentations. The firm is a member of The Economist Group.

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    ISSN 0269-8145

    Symbols for tables n/a means not available; means not applicable

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  • Country Profile 2005 The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2005

  • Bangladesh 1

    The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2005 Country Profile 2005



    3 Basic data

    4 Politics 4 Political background 5 Recent political developments 8 Constitution, institutions and administration 10 Political forces 12 International relations and defence

    15 Resources and infrastructure 15 Population 16 Education 17 Health 17 Natural resources and the environment 18 Transport, communications and the Internet 22 Energy provision

    24 The economy 24 Economic structure 26 Economic policy 30 Economic performance 31 Regional trends

    32 Economic sectors 32 Agriculture 35 Mining and semi-processing 35 Manufacturing 37 Construction 37 Financial services 40 Other services

    40 The external sector 40 Trade in goods 41 Invisibles and the current account 42 Capital flows and foreign debt 43 Foreign reserves and the exchange rate

    44 Regional overview 44 Membership of organisations

    45 Appendices 45 Sources of information 46 Reference tables 46 Population 46 Energy reserves and production of natural gas 47 Transport 47 Gross domestic product

  • 2 Bangladesh

    Country Profile 2005 The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2005

    48 Gross domestic product by expenditure 48 Gross domestic product by sector 49 Central government finances 49 Money supply 50 Interest rates 50 Prices 50 Index of nominal wages 50 Agricultural crop production 51 Production and value of non-energy minerals 51 Production and value of selected manufactured items 52 Stockmarket indicators 52 Main exports 52 Main imports 53 Main trading partners 53 Balance of payments, IMF series 54 External debt, World Bank series 54 Remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad 55 Net official development assistance 55 Foreign reserves 55 Exchange rates

  • Bangladesh 3

    The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2005 Country Profile 2005


    Basic data

    147,570 sq km

    135.2m (2003/04 fiscal year)

    Population in 000 (2001 census)

    Dhaka (capital) 9,913 Chittagong 3,203 Khulna 1,227 Rajshahi 647

    Tropical monsoon

    Hottest month, July, 23-35C (average daily minimum and maximum); coldest month, January, 11-28C; driest months, December and January, 5 mm average monthly rainfall; wettest month, July, 567 mm average monthly rainfall

    Bengali; Urdu and Hindi are minority languages and English is also used

    Muslim (89.7% in 2001 census); Hindu (9.2%); Buddhist (0.7%); Christian (0.3%); others (0.2%)

    Imperial system. Local measures include: 1 tola=11.66 g; 1 seer=80 tolas=932 g; 1 maund=40 seers=37.29 kg

    Numbers are commonly expressed in crores and lakhs; 1 crore=10m, written 1,00,00,000; 1 lakh=100,000, written 1,00,000

    Taka (Tk)=100 paisa. Annual average exchange rate in 2004: Tk59.5:US$1; exchange rate on November 8th 2005: Tk65.75:US$1

    July 1st-June 30th

    6 hours ahead of GMT

    January 1st (New Years Day), 21st (Eid-ul-Adha); February 10th (Elam Hejir New Year); March 17th (Birthday of Bagabethu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman), 26th (Independence Day); April 14th (Bangla Naba Barsha), 29th (Buddha Purnima); May 1st (Labour Day); September 2nd (Shab-e Barat), October 11th (Durga Puja); November 3rd (End of Ramadan), 7th (National Revolution Day); December 16th (Victory Day); plus religious holidays that depend on lunar sightings and optional holidays for different religious groups.

    Land area


    Weather in Dhaka



    Fiscal year



    Main towns



    Public holidays in 2005

  • 4 Bangladesh

    Country Profile 2005 The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2005


    Bangladesh has a parliamentary democracy based on universal suffrage. The executive branch of government consists of a cabinet led by the prime minister. The Awami League (AL), led by Sheikh Hasina Wajed, ruled for five years until July 2001, when an interim caretaker government was established. The general election held in October that year was won by a four-party alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) under the prime minister, Khaleda Zia, which is still in government. The BNP dominates the alliance, with a large parliamentary majority in its own right. The Jamaat-e-Islami (Jamaat), an Islamist party, is its largest coalition partner; the Islami Oikyo Jote (IOJ) and the Manjur faction of the Jatiya Party (JP) complete the government. A caretaker government will be appointed in October 2006 to supervise the next election, which must then be held within 90 days. Bangladesh had a presidential form of government before the constitution was amended in 1991, but the presidency is now a largely ceremonial position appointed by parliament.

    Political background

    The eastern part of Bengal became part of Pakistan with the end of British rule in India in 1947. From the beginning, East Pakistan had an uneasy relationship with the more powerful and richer West Pakistan. Despite some concessions from the West Pakistan government, such as the approval of Bengali as a joint official language with Urdu, and the division of Pakistan into two parts (East and West) with equal parliamentary representation, a secessionist movement led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the AL gained increasing support. In 1970 Sheikh Mujib led the AL to parliamentary victory in East Pakistan and demanded a loose federation of the two parts of Pakistan, in which a central authority would be responsible only for foreign affairs, the currency and defence. On March 26th 1971 separatist forces declared independence, and a full-scale civil war broke out. This was eventually won by the Bengali freedom fighters, after the Indian military intervened on their behalf, on December 16th 1971.

    Sheikh Mujib led the AL to an electoral victory in 1973, but the economic and political situation began to deteriorate rapidly. Sheikh Mujib declared a state of emergency in late 1974 and in early 1975 he became president, assuming dictatorial powers through one-party rule. He and several of his family members were assassinated in August 1975. A series of further coups ensued, but by 1977 General Ziaur Rahman had consolidated his power and assumed the presidency.

    General Zias period in power was characterised by improvements in public order and economic management. In June 1978 he won the presidential election, and in the following year his newly formed party, the BNP, won two-thirds of the seats in parliament. However, in May 1981 General Zia was assassinated by a group of army officers. In March 1982 the army chief, General

    Independence from Pakistan

    The early years

    General Zia is ousted by the army