Bangladesh

bangladesh

Background:

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 1971, although at least 300,000 civilians died in the process. 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 have alternately held power since then, 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. With the help of international development assistance, Bangladesh has made great progress in food security since independence, and the economy has grown at an average of about 6 percent over the last two decades.

Location:

Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

Area:

143,998 sq km

Climate:

Tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)

Ethnic groups:

Bengali 98%, other 2% (includes tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims)

Languages:

Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English

Religions:

Muslim 89.5%, Hindu 9.6%, other 0.9%

Population:

163,654,860 (July 2013 est.).
country comparison to the world: 8

Age structure:

0-14 years: 33% (male 27,393,912/female 26,601,199)
15-24 years: 18.8% (male 14,337,930/female 16,377,785)
25-54 years: 37.6% (male 29,091,046/female 32,455,670)
55-64 years: 5.7% (male 4,775,062/female 4,625,192)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 3,918,341/female 4,078,723) (2013 est.)

Government type:

Parliamentary democracy

Capital:

Dhaka

Time difference:

UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Independence:

16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan)

Economy – overview:

In real terms Bangladesh’s economy has grown 5.8% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, 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, 45% of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector with rice as the single-most-important product. Bangladesh’s growth was resilient during the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Garment exports, totaling $12.3 billion in FY09 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, totaling $11 billion in FY10, accounted for almost 12% of GDP.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

GDP: $311 billion (2012 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):

$2,100 (2012 est.)

Source:

CIA World Factbook