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South Asia :: Bangladesh
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  • Introduction :: BANGLADESH

  • Muslim conversions and settlement in the region now referred to as Bangladesh began in the 10th century, primarily from Arab and Persian traders and preachers. Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area in the 16th century. Eventually the area known as Bengal, primarily Hindu in the western section and mostly Muslim in the eastern half, became part of British India. Partition in 1947 resulted in an eastern wing of Pakistan in the Muslim-majority area, which became East Pakistan. Calls for greater autonomy and animosity between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan led to a Bengali independence movement. That movement, led by the Awami League (AL) and supported by India, won independence for Bangladesh in a brief war in 1971, during which at least 300,000 civilians died. The post-independence, AL government faced daunting challenges and in 1975 was overthrown by the military, triggering a series of military coups that resulted in a military-backed government and subsequent creation of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). That government also ended in a coup in 1981, followed by military-backed rule until democratic elections in 1991. The BNP and AL alternated in power between 1991 and 2013, with the exception of a military-backed, emergency caretaker regime that suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. That government returned the country to fully democratic rule in December 2008 with the election of the AL and Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA. In January 2014, the incumbent AL won the national election by an overwhelming majority after the BNP boycotted, extending HASINA's term as prime minister. With the help of international development assistance, Bangladesh has made great progress in food security since independence, and the economy has grown at an annual average of about 6 percent over the last two decades.
  • Geography :: BANGLADESH

  • Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
    24 00 N, 90 00 E
    total: 148,460 sq km
    land: 130,170 sq km
    water: 18,290 sq km
    slightly smaller than Iowa
    total: 4,413 km
    border countries (2): Burma 271 km, India 4,142 km
    580 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 18 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
    tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
    mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m
    natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
    agricultural land: 70.1%
    arable land 59%; permanent crops 6.5%; permanent pasture 4.6%
    forest: 11.1%
    other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
    50,500 sq km (2008)
    1,227 cu km (2011)
    total: 35.87 cu km/yr (10%/2%/88%)
    per capita: 238.3 cu m/yr (2008)
    droughts; cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
    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
    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
    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 and Society :: BANGLADESH

  • noun: Bangladeshi(s)
    adjective: Bangladeshi
    Bengali at least 98%, ethnic groups 1.1%
    note: Bangladesh's goverment recognizes 27 ethnic groups under the 2010 Cultural Institution for Small Anthropological Groups Act; other sources estimate there are about 75 ethnic groups; critics of the 2011 census claim that it underestimates the size of Bangladesh's ethnic population (2011 est.)
    Bangla 98.8% (official, also known as Bengali), other 1.2% (2011 est.)
    Muslim 89.5%, Hindu 9.6%, other 0.9% (includes Buddhist .5%, Christian .3%) (2004 est.)
    166,280,712 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 32.3% (male 27,268,560/female 26,468,883)
    15-24 years: 18.8% (male 14,637,526/female 16,630,766)
    25-54 years: 38% (male 29,853,531/female 33,266,733)
    55-64 years: 5.9% (male 4,964,130/female 4,870,447)
    65 years and over: 5% (male 4,082,544/female 4,237,592) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 52.2%
    youth dependency ratio: 44.9%
    elderly dependency ratio: 7.3%
    potential support ratio: 13.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 24.3 years
    male: 23.8 years
    female: 24.8 years (2014 est.)
    1.6% (2014 est.)
    21.61 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    5.64 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -0.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 33.5% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 3.55% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    DHAKA (capital) 16.982 million; Chittagong 4.447 million; Khulna 1.035 million; Rajshahi 831,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011 est.)
    170 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 45.67 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 48.15 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 43.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 70.65 years
    male: 68.75 years
    female: 72.63 years (2014 est.)
    2.45 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    61.2% (2011)
    3.7% of GDP (2013)
    0.36 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
    0.6 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    urban: 85.8% of population
    rural: 84.4% of population
    total: 84.8% of population
    urban: 14.2% of population
    rural: 15.6% of population
    total: 15.2% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 55.2% of population
    rural: 57.8% of population
    total: 57% of population
    urban: 44.8% of population
    rural: 42.2% of population
    total: 43% of population (2012 est.)
    0.01% (2013 est.)
    9,500 (2013 est.)
    500 (2013 est.)
    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 (2013)
    3.3% (2014)
    35.1% (2013)
    2.2% of GDP (2009)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 61.5%
    male: 64.6%
    female: 58.5% (2015 est.)
    total: 10 years
    male: 10 years
    female: 10 years (2011)
    total number: 4,485,497
    percentage: 13% (2006 est.)
    total: 9.3%
    male: 8%
    female: 13.6% (2005 est.)
  • Government :: BANGLADESH

  • conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
    conventional short form: Bangladesh
    local long form: Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
    local short form: Bangladesh
    former: East Bengal, East Pakistan
    note: the name - a compound of the Bengali words "Bangla" (Bengal) and "desh" (country) - means Country of Bengal
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Dhaka
    geographic coordinates: 23 43 N, 90 24 E
    time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    7 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet
    16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan)
    Independence Day, 26 March (1971); Victory Day, 16 December (1971); note - March 1971 is the date of the Awami League's declaration of an independent Bangladesh, and 16 December, known as Victory Day, memorializes the military victory over Pakistan and the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
    previous 1935, 1956, 1962 (preindependence); latest enacted 4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended March 1982, restored November 1986; amended many times, last in 2011 (2011)
    mixed legal system of mostly English common law and Islamic law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Abdul HAMID (since 24 April 2013)
    head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA (since 6 January 2009; reelected 5 January 2014)
    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 29 April 2013 (next must be held by 2018)
    election results: President Abdul HAMID was elected by the National Parliament unopposed
    description: unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad (300 seats including 45 reserved for women; members directly elected in single territorial constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 5 January 2014 (next to be held by January 2019); note - the 5 January 2014 poll was marred by widespread violence, boycotts, general strikes, and low voter turnout
    election results: percent of vote by party - AL-led Alliance 79%, JP 34%; seats by party - AL 234, JP 34, other 32
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Bangladesh (organized into the Appellate Division with 7 justices and the High Court Division with 99 justices)
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice and justices appointed by the president; justices serve until retirement at age 67
    subordinate courts: civil courts include: Assistant Judge's Court; Joint District Judge's Court; Additional District Judge's Court; District Judge's Court; criminal courts include: Court of Sessions; Court of Metropolitan Sessions; special courts/tribunals; Metropolitan Magistrate Courts; Magistrate Court
    Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]
    Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB [Manjurul A. KHAN]
    Bangladesh Nationalist Front or BNF [Abdul Kalam AZADI]
    Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]
    Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh or BDB [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY]
    Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [multiple leaders]
    Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]
    Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Oli AHMED]
    National Socialist Party or JSD [KHALEQUZZAMAN]
    Tarikat Foundation [Syed Nozibul Bashar MAIZBHANDARI]
    Workers Party or WP [Rashed Khan MENON]
    Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
    Ain o Salish Kendro (Law and Order Center)
    Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity
    Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee or BRAC
    Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry
    Odikhar (Human Rights)
    other: associations of madrassa teachers; business associations, including those intended to promote international trade; development and advocacy NGOs associated with the Grameen Bank; environmentalists; Islamist groups; labor rights advocacy groups; nongovernmental organizations focused on poverty, alleviation, and socioeconomic international trade; religious leaders; tribal groups and advocacy organizations; union leaders
    chief of mission: Ambassador Mohammad ZIAUDDIN (since 18 September 2014)
    chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
    FAX: [1] (202) 244-2771
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom BERNICAT (since 4 February 2015)
    embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
    mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
    telephone: [880] (2) 5566-2000
    FAX: [880] (2) 5566-2915
    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
    Bengal tiger, water lily; national colors: green, red
    name: "Amar Shonar Bangla" (My Golden Bengal)
    lyrics/music: Rabindranath TAGORE
    note: adopted 1971; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote India's national anthem
  • Economy :: BANGLADESH

  • Bangladesh's economy has grown roughly 6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, slow implementation of economic reforms, and the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, almost half of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector with rice as the single-most-important product. Garment exports, the backbone of Bangladesh’s industrial sector, accounted for more than 80% of total exports and surpassed $18 billion in 2014. The sector has remained resilient in recent years amidst a series of factory accidents that have killed over 1,000 workers and crippling strikes that shut down virtually all economic activity. Steady garment export growth combined with remittances from overseas Bangladeshis - which totaled $14 billion and 8% of GDP in 2014 - are the largest contributors to Bangladesh’s current account surplus and rising foreign exchange holdings.
    $535.6 billion (2014 est.)
    $504.3 billion (2013 est.)
    $475.5 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $186.6 billion (2014 est.)
    6.2% (2014 est.)
    6.1% (2013 est.)
    6.3% (2012 est.)
    $3,400 (2014 est.)
    $3,200 (2013 est.)
    $3,100 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 181
    30.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    30.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    30.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 74.1%
    government consumption: 5.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 26.3%
    investment in inventories: 0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 22.6%
    imports of goods and services: -28.9%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 15.1%
    industry: 26.5%
    services: 58.3% (2014 est.)
    rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry
    jute, cotton, garments, paper, leather, fertilizer, iron and steel, cement, petroleum products, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, tea, salt, sugar, edible oils, soap and detergent, fabricated metal products, electricity, natural gas
    8.4% (2014 est.)
    80.27 million
    note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances were $10.9 billion in FY09/10 (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 47%
    industry: 13%
    services: 40% (2010 est.)
    5% (2014 est.)
    5% (2013 est.)
    note: about 40% of the population is underemployed; many persons counted as employed work only a few hours a week and at low wages
    31.5% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 4%
    highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
    32.1 (2010)
    33.6 (1996)
    revenues: $18.09 billion
    expenditures: $24.33 billion (2014 est.)
    9.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -3.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    28.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
    30.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    1 July - 30 June
    7.2% (2014 est.)
    7.5% (2013 est.)
    5% (31 December 2010)
    5% (31 December 2009)
    13% (31 December 2014 est.)
    13% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $19.69 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $16.54 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $98.43 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $84.11 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $99.59 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $89.32 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $41.73 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $17.48 billion (31 December 2012)
    $23.55 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.261 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.366 billion (2013 est.)
    $31.2 billion (2014 est.)
    $28.62 billion (2013 est.)
    garments, knitwear, agricultural products, frozen food (fish and seafood), jute and jute goods, leather
    US 16.3%, Germany 11.8%, UK 7.8%, France 4.8%, Netherlands 4.8%, Spain 4.4% (2013)
    $38.5 billion (2014 est.)
    $35 billion (2013 est.)
    cotton, machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, foodstuffs
    China 21.9%, India 14%, Singapore 5.8%, Malaysia 5.3% (2013)
    $21.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $18.09 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $33.2 billion (30 June 2014 est.)
    $28.26 billion (30 June 2013 est.)
    $8.625 billion (30 June 2014 est.)
    $8.593 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $166.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $162.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    taka (BDT) per US dollar -
    77.57 (2014 est.)
    78.1 (2013 est.)
    81.86 (2012 est.)
    74.15 (2011 est.)
    69.65 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: BANGLADESH

  • 42.41 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    37.88 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    10.26 million kW (2013 est.)
    97.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    2.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    4,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    23,620 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    28 million bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    22,710 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    118,700 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    3,288 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    84,490 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    21.86 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    21.86 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    264.6 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    63.5 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: BANGLADESH

  • 962,000 (2012)
    97.18 million (2011)
    general assessment: inadequate for a modern country; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity remains only about 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly and now exceeds 67 telephones per 100 persons
    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 (2011)
    state-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) operates 1 terrestrial TV station, 3 radio networks, and about 10 local stations; 8 private satellite TV stations and 3 private radio stations also broadcasting; foreign satellite TV stations are gaining audience share in the large cities; several international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
    AM 17, FM 19, shortwave 2 (2009)
    17 (2009)
    71,164 (2012)
    617,300 (2009)
  • Transportation :: BANGLADESH

  • 18 (2013)
    total: 16
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    3 (2013)
    gas 2,950 km (2013)
    total: 2,835 km
    broad gauge: 946 km 1.676-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 1,676 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    total: 21,269 km
    paved: 1,063 km
    unpaved: 20,206 km (2010)
    8,370 km (includes up to 3,060 km of main cargo routes; the network is reduced to 5,200 km in the dry season) (2011)
    total: 62
    by type: bulk carrier 25, cargo 28, chemical tanker 1, container 5, petroleum tanker 3
    foreign-owned: 8 (China 1, Singapore 7)
    registered in other countries: 10 (Comoros 1, Hong Kong 1, Panama 5, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Chittagong
    river port(s): Mongla Port (Sela River)
    container port(s): Chittagong (1,392,104) (2011)
    the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh remain a risk for armed robbery against ships; attacks against vessels have decreased over the last few years in response to improved local security
  • Military :: BANGLADESH

  • Bangladesh Defense Force: Bangladesh Army (Sena Bahini), Bangladesh Navy (Noh Bahini, BN), Bangladesh Air Force (Biman Bahini, BAF) (2013)
    16-19 years of age for voluntary military service; Bangladeshi birth and 10th grade education required; initial obligation 15 years (2012)
    males age 16-49: 36,520,491 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 30,486,086
    females age 16-49: 35,616,093 (2010 est.)
    male: 1,606,963
    female: 1,689,442 (2010 est.)
    1.15% of GDP (2013)
    1.35% of GDP (2012)
    1.44% of GDP (2011)
    1.35% of GDP (2010)
  • Transnational Issues :: BANGLADESH

  • Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Indian Prime Minister Singh's September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 29,000 Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Arakan State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up along border
    refugees (country of origin): 232,462 (Burma) (2014)
    IDPs: at least 431,000 (violence, human rights violations, religious persecution, natural disasters) (2015)
    transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries