Analysis: How Digital Payment Systems Can Boost Bangladesh’s Push to Meet the SDGs
As we grapple with the challenges presented by the pandemic, Bangladesh continues to clock impressive growth and is in fact an outlier in the global economic scenario. Its gross domestic product (GDP) grew an estimated 5.2% in 2020 and is likely to grow 6.8% this year. In comparison, the global economy shrank 3.5%. Among Bangladesh’s neighbours, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India are facing GDP contractions.
In fact, the IMF’s estimates indicate that Bangladesh crossed India’s per capita GDP in 2020. Its unemployment rate, a shade lower than 4.2%, is the lowest among all emerging markets, and it remains on a downward trend. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is ready to grow out of Least Developed Country status in 2024 and on track to become the world’s 25th largest economy in 2035.
Bangladesh’s growth spurt
The economy owes this buoyancy to its domestic strength, marked by a healthy agriculture sector, remittances and exports. Much of it comes from ready-made garments (RMG), a sector that despite the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 is still expected to remain a strong contributor to the economy for years to come. Bangladesh is now the second-largest global apparel exporter, following only China. Since taking its first steps towards exports in 1978, the sector has come to account for 84% of all exports and 12% of GDP. The industry also employs 4 million people, the majority of whom are women, who have been disproportionately affected by the repercussions of the pandemic.
Photo courtesy of Ashwini Chaudhary.