Bangladesh, an emerging power charting its own course: Daily Star contributor


DHAKA (THE DAILY STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Bangladesh’s rise is not unexpected, but rather part of a long-term trend. A disaster-prone country once thought to be plagued by political instability and violence, unable to support its own people, is now wealthier than many of its neighbors.

It has surpassed many other countries in its region in terms of per capita income, which has attracted the attention of extra-regional powers. He remembered his oath to support anyone in need and offered to lend money to Sri Lanka through a currency exchange.

Different arguments have been made as to what has contributed to Bangladesh’s remarkable success; but four key areas are usually highlighted: the ready-to-wear (RMG) industry, Bangladesh’s demographic dividend, its booming online workforce, and the knowledge-based economy. One argument that has undermined its achievements is that the country has benefited from quota facilities from the United States and Europe, which is a major reason for its incredible development.

Yes, several assessments come close to presenting a plausible explanation for Bangladesh’s rise, in which all four indicators will continue to rise for various reasons. During the pandemic, Bangladesh has specialized in many types of RMG items and has also started producing and exporting high quality personal protective equipment (PPE), which will continue to be in high demand in the near future. .

As a developing manufacturing force, Bangladesh is moving away from “Made in China” and moving towards a “Made in Bangladesh” era. For example, the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh has grown at an incredible rate.

Bangladesh’s demographic dividend, which could last until around 2040, indicates that it can produce low-skilled and semi-skilled labor in a globalized world. The number of medical institutions that have been established in Bangladesh have been able to generate goodwill as evidenced by the fact that a number of South Asian countries have sent their students to study medicine in Bangladesh. Lotay Tshering, the current Prime Minister of Bhutan, is an example of a South Asian student who studied medicine in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is also trying to establish itself as a South Asian IT hub and is currently the world’s second largest provider of online labor. Furthermore, the rise of think tanks and their analyzes paved the way for Bangladesh to transition to a knowledge-based economy, which would ensure the country’s long-term economic viability. In other words, Bangladesh has not followed a traditional Western model of growth; rather, he did it his way.

Bangladesh has not followed the traditional route of economic diplomacy in pursuing its development ambitions, choosing instead to enter into a development relationship with anyone who offers a fair deal that will benefit Bangladesh’s national interests.

As a result, it has established development ties not only with China, India and Japan, but also with Persian Gulf countries to expand investment opportunities. Bangladesh was able to model a unique path for others to follow in order to learn how to achieve “development without hostility”. Scholars have coined the term “the next Asian tiger” to describe the country.

Bangladesh has diversified its port development choices so as not to depend too much on one country for the construction and operation of its ports. In Matarbari, Bangladesh will have its first deep-water port, which will be built with the help of Japan. As a result, Bangladesh has been designated as a key coastline in the Bay of Bengal region, with access to the bay expanding Bangladesh’s options to the point that the Bay of Bengal is now considered its third neighbour.

Bangladesh is rethinking the concept of land neighborhood by emphasizing the geopolitical importance of a nearby maritime domain and, therefore, leveraging the geopolitical advantage of the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh’s geopolitical situation, which was once considered a curse, has now become a boon.

Bangladesh has attracted attention because of its strategic location at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal, to the point that India, China and other major powers want to be its development partners. A country with a market of 160 million people is not a small country, but rather an emerging middle power in its own right.

  • The author is a freelance researcher and columnist specializing in South Asian affairs. The Daily Star is a member of Asia News Network, media partner of the Straits Times, an alliance of 23 news outlets.

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