Bangladesh: From “Bottomless Basket Case” to Economic Miracle


Bangladesh, a country once ridiculed as a “bottomless basket case” by Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, has transformed itself into a development paragon. It has become an economic rising star, outranking even its big neighbor India in terms of per capita income and GDP growth.

Twenty years ago, Bangladesh was perceived as one of the world’s most corrupt countries and was plagued by terrorism, acute power shortage, and socio-economic challenges. Its industrial production was threatened and it was projected as a “nearly Failed State”. The 2006 general election was postponed indefinitely as the ruling party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), attempted to engineer the election by placing party activists in key positions, including the Chief Election Commissioner and head of the election-time “Caretaker government”. A military-backed interim government ruled for the next two years and Sheikh Hasina, the current Prime Minister, was arrested on false charges and imprisoned.

However, things started moving in a positive direction when the international community continued to exert pressure on the “Caretaker government” to hold national elections and hand over power to an elected government. In December 2008, Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina, won a landslide victory in the general election. Since then, Sheikh Hasina has steered the country towards steady progress, with a focus on exports, social progress, and fiscal prudence.

Under her leadership, Bangladesh has transformed into a prime destination for foreign investment, offering political stability, a peaceful atmosphere, and investor-friendly economic benefits. It has become a role model to many nations, with a rapidly growing economy and improved standards of living for its citizens.

Sheikh Hasina’s government has also successfully managed the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the Nikkei Recovery Index, which rated Bangladesh’s pandemic management as the best in South Asia and fifth in the world, ahead of India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s rural areas are also undergoing significant changes, with a significant portion of the rural population enjoying access to socio-economic prospects, education, healthcare, and empowerment of women. The government has launched special programs to provide housing and sources of income to rural dwellers, as well as access to digital communication systems.

According to economic forecasts, by 2026, Bangladesh will become the leading economy in South Asia and by 2030, its economic progress will surpass many Asian nations. This success can be attributed to Sheikh Hasina’s magnanimous leadership quality, which has transformed an economically struggling Bangladesh into an economic miracle.

Furthermore, Sheikh Hasina’s service to humanity has been remarkable. When over 1.20 million Rohingyas were forced to flee Myanmar amid genocide, she did not hesitate in opening Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, enabling them to take temporary shelter in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has been making frantic efforts to compel Myanmar to take back these Rohingyas, an enormous task for a developing country like Bangladesh.

In conclusion, Bangladesh’s transformation from a “bottomless basket case” to an economic miracle is an inspiration to the world. Sheikh Hasina’s statesmanship and leadership qualities have played a significant role in this transformation, which has brought about economic prosperity, social progress, and improved standards of living for its citizens.

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