BANGLADESH

MARCH 25, 2009 BY RANG WHAM
   Introduction    Bangladesh Top of Page
Background:
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.
   Geography    Bangladesh Top of Page
Location:
Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Geographic coordinates:
24 00 N, 90 00 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Iowa
Land boundaries:
total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km
Coastline:
580 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
Climate:
tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
Terrain:
mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m
Natural resources:
natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Land use:
arable land: 55.39%
permanent crops: 3.08%
other: 41.53% (2005)
Irrigated land:
47,250 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1,210.6 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 79.4 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 560 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Environment - current issues:
many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
   People    Bangladesh Top of Page
Population:
156,050,883 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 34.6% (male 27,065,625/female 26,913,961)
15-64 years: 61.4% (male 45,222,182/female 50,537,052)
65 years and over: 4% (male 3,057,255/female 3,254,808) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 23.3 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 23.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.292% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
28.86 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
8 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-2.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 27% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-2010)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 59.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 66.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.25 years
male: 57.57 years
female: 63.03 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.74 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
12,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Nationality:
noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi
Ethnic groups:
Bengali 98%, other 2% (includes tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims) (1998)
Religions:
Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)
Languages:
Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47.9%
male: 54%
female: 41.4% (2001 Census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 8 years (2004)
Education expenditures:
2.7% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Bangladesh Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
local long form: Gana Prajatantri Banladesh
local short form: Banladesh
former: East Bengal, East Pakistan
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
name: Dhaka
geographic coordinates: 23 43 N, 90 24 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
6 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet
Independence:
16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
Constitution:
4 November 1972; effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982; restored 10 November 1986; amended many times
Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Zillur RAHMAN (since 12 February 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA Wajed (since 6 January 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 11 February 2009 (next scheduled election to be held in 2014)
election results: Zillur RAHMAN declared president-elect by the Election Commission on 11 February 2009 (sworn in on 12 February); he ran unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 29 December 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - AL 49%, BNP 33.2%, JP 7%, JIB 4.6%, other 6.2%; seats by party - AL 230, BNP 30, JP 27, JIB 2, other 11
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Bangladesh Communist Party or BCP [Manjurul A. KHAN]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [Mufti Fazlul Haq AMINI]; Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh or JIB [Matiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Jatiya Party (Manzur faction) [Naziur Rahman MANZUR]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY and Oli AHMED]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
other: environmentalists; Islamist groups; religious leaders; teachers; union leaders
International organization participation:
ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador M. Humayun KABIR
chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
FAX: [1] (202) 244-7830/2771
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY
embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
telephone: [880] (2) 885-5500
FAX: [880] (2) 882-3744
Flag description:
green field with a large red disk shifted slightly to the hoist side of center; the red disk represents the rising sun and the sacrifice to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush vegetation of Bangladesh
   Economy    Bangladesh Top of Page
Economy - overview:
The economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996 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. In 2008 Bangladesh pursued a monetary policy aimed at maintaining high employment, but created higher inflation in the process.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$224 billion (2008 est.)
$213.6 billion (2007)
$201.1 billion (2006)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$83.04 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.9% (2008 est.)
6.2% (2007 est.)
6.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2008 est.)
$1,400 (2007 est.)
$1,300 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 19.1%
industry: 28.6%
services: 52.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
70.86 million
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances estimated at $4.8 billion in 2005-06. (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 63%
industry: 11%
services: 26% (FY95/96)
Unemployment rate:
2.5% (includes underemployment) (2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 27.9% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33.2 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed):
24.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $8.831 billion
expenditures: $12.54 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt:
34.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.4% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$8.444 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$32.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$40.15 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$6.793 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry
Industries:
cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar
Industrial production growth rate:
6.9% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
22.78 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
21.37 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
6,746 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
89,940 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:
1,351 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
83,220 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
28 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
15.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
15.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
141.6 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance:
-$55 million (2008 est.)
Exports:
$13.97 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood
Exports - partners:
US 23%, Germany 13%, UK 9.1%, France 5.5%, Belgium 4% (2007)
Imports:
$20.17 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement
Imports - partners:
China 15%, India 14.3%, Kuwait 8.3%, Singapore 6.2%, Hong Kong 4.2% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$5.934 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$21.72 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$5.618 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$104 million (2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
taka (BDT) per US dollar - 68.554 (2008 est.), 69.893 (2007), 69.031 (2006), 64.328 (2005), 59.513 (2004)
   Communications    Bangladesh Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.187 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
34.37 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: inadequate for a modern country; fixed-line telephone density remains less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly and is approaching 25 per 100 persons
domestic: modernizing; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
international: country code - 880; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 6; international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 15, FM 13, shortwave 2 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (1999)
Internet country code:
.bd
Internet hosts:
1,440 (2008)
Internet users:
500,000 (2007)
   Transportation    Bangladesh Top of Page
Airports:
17 (2008)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2008)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total 1 1,524 to 2,437 m 1 (2008)
Pipelines:
gas 2,597 km (2008)
Railways:
total: 2,768 km
broad gauge: 946 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,822 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:
total: 239,226 km
paved: 22,726 km
unpaved: 216,500 km (2003)
Waterways:
8,370 km
note: includes up to 3,060 km main cargo routes; network reduced to 5,200 km in dry season (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 40
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 27, container 5, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4
foreign-owned: 1 (China 1)
registered in other countries: 10 (Comoros 2, Honduras 1, Malta 2, Panama 2, Singapore 2, Togo 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Chittagong, Mongla Port
Transportation - note:
the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh as high risk for armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen
   Military    Bangladesh Top of Page
Military branches:
Bangladesh Defense Force: Bangladesh Army (Sena Bahini), Bangladesh Navy (Noh Bahini, BN), Bangladesh Air Force (Biman Bahini, BAF) (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for voluntary military service; 17 years of age for officers (both with parental consent); conscription legally possible in emergency, but has never been implemented (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 41,199,340 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 24,946,041
females age 16-49: 31,409,069 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,538,865
female: 1,666,670 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.5% of GDP (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Bangladesh Top of Page
Disputes - international:
discussions with India remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, exchange territory for 51 small Bangladeshi exclaves in India and 111 small Indian exclaves in Bangladesh, allocate divided villages, and stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh protests India's fencing and walling off high-traffic sections of the porous boundary; a joint Bangladesh-India boundary commission resurveyed and reconstructed 92 missing pillars in 2007; dispute with India over New Moore/South Talpatty/Purbasha Island in the Bay of Bengal deters maritime boundary delimitation; after 21 years, Bangladesh resumes talks with Burma on delimiting a maritime boundary
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 26,268 (Burma)
IDPs: 65,000 (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2007)
Illicit drugs:
transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries

This page was last updated on 23 April 2009


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