Friday, November 09, 2012


Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Henry Kissinger described Bangladesh as a 'basket case'.

But, Bangladesh has improved the lives of its poor.

In this respect, it is doing better than India and Pakistan.

Bangladesh and development: The path through the fields

Barefoot lifes
Bangladesh by martien van asseldonk


Between 1990 and 2010 life expectancy in Bangladesh rose from 59 to 69 years.

Bangladeshis now have a life expectancy four years higher than Indians.

The improvement in life expectancy in Bangladesh has been as great among the poor as the rich.

Praner Bangladesh 1
Bangladesh by Rakhal Cheley

In 2005, more than 90% of girls were enrolled in primary school.

Between 1990 and 2010, infant mortality has more than halved.

Over the same period child mortality fell by two-thirds and maternal mortality fell by three-quarters.

Shades of Victory [..Dhaka, Bangladesh..]
Bangladesh by Catch the dream

Since 1990 Bangladesh's GDP has been rising at 5% a year.

The percentage of people below the poverty line has been reduced from 49% in 2000 to 32% in 2010.

nice encounter
Bangladesh by Don-Pixel

In 1975, 8% of women of child-bearing age were using contraception (or had partners who were); in 2010 the number was over 60%.

In 1975 the total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime) was 6.3.

The fertility rate is now just 2.3.

Farmers' son
Bangladesh by martien van asseldonk

"The boom in the textile industry and the arrival of 'microcredit' have, over the past 20 years, put money into women's pockets—from which it is more likely to be spent on health, education and better food."

Between 1971 and 2010 the rice harvest more than trebled.

Blue on green
Bangladesh by martien van asseldonk

Around 6m Bangladeshis work abroad, mostly in the Middle East.

"In the year ending in June 2012 they sent back $13 billion, about 14% of annual income—more than all the government’s social-protection programmes put together."

Bengali Girl in the Field
Bangladesh by David_Lazar

The World Bank calculates that "between 2000 and 2010, real agricultural wages rose 59%, compared with 42% for all sectors."

Most countries have seen a reduction in rural living standards.

Bangladesh spends a little more than most low-income countries on helping the poor.

Bangladesh and development: The path through the fields


The Non Government Organisation (NGO) called BRAC (Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) invented the idea of microcredit - loans for the very poor.

Another NGO, the Grameen Bank, also lends money to the very poor.

Hajira (8 years old) sits in a workshop where she recycles thousands of size-D dry cell batteries, by bursting them using a simple hammer, one at a time. Hajira cleans between 1000-3000 carbon rods per day and gets paid accordingly between Taka 6-18 per day (10-20 US cents). By Shehzad Noorani

"Microcredits have not, as some claimed, led to a surge of entrepreneurial activity.

"In some cases they have left borrowers worse off than before.

"Their impact in the land of their birth, though, has been mostly positive."

Next stop Kamalapur
Bangladesh by lucafabbozzo

BRAC is now the largest NGO in the world by the number of employees and the number of people it has helped.

In the 1980s it sent out volunteers to every household in the country showing mothers how to mix salt, sugar and water in the right proportions to rehydrate a child suffering from diarrhoea.

Shehnaz (3 years old) sits on the window of battery recycling workshop. By Shehzad Noorani

BRAC and the government jointly ran a huge programme to inoculate every Bangladeshi against tuberculosis.

BRAC runs primary schools.

BRAC has the world’s largest legal-aid programme.

My place
Bangladesh by martien van asseldonk

BRAC found the poor could not sell the milk and eggs produced by the animals they had bought.

So BRAC got into food processing.

BRAC found the most destitute were too poor for micro-loans, and so it gave them free animals.

BRAC now runs dairies, a packaging business, a seed producer, textile plants, shops, schools, clinics and sanitation plants.

BRAC has 100,000 health volunteers.

Next stop Kamalapur
Bangladesh by lucafabbozzo

"Bangladesh still has formidable problems...

"The quality of education is abysmal...

I wanna be rich one day
2010-12-11 Staring at money in his hand at New Market in Dhaka, Bangladesh. By martien van asseldonk

"Textile workers make about $35 a month...

"The amounts spent on education (2.2% of GDP) and health (3.5%) in Bangladesh are below the average for low-income countries."

Bangladesh and development: The path through the fields


Stephen Gash said...

Pity the Bangladeshi Muslims are massacring Hindus and Christians though.

Genie said...

Interesting story, enjoyed it very much. Nice photos!

Aardvark said...

@ Stephen Gash:

Bangladesh has a Muslim population of over 80%, in a country with a total population of 120M. One or two incidents involving a(very)small minority of extremists does NOT equal the massacre as you described. What about an actual massacre in Myanmar towards Rohingya? I thought narrow minded people like you don't visit these type of websites... better stick to you CNN, ABC , BBC, etc propoganda....

Anonymous said...

Bangladesh has a really bad record of factory fires . A lot of our clothes are made there.Gap is refusing to sign up to new health and safety measures. Knitwear factories are particularly vulnerable because oil drips off the knitting machines onto the floor.
Since 2006 at least 500 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires while sewing clothing for giant fashion companies, like Gap and H&M

Junis said...

I am a briton of Pakistani descent and always liked the 2nd country to the east of Pakistan i.e. Bangladesh. Someone told me that the Saudis always joke about the purported limited intelligence of Bangladeshi expatriates. However, in this article it shows Bangladeshi people are more resourceful than Saudi arabians. The biggest obstacles to Pakistani and Bangladeshi development is extremely poor governance. This is also the reason why China is doing better than India. The leadership of China is world class whilst for India it is sad.

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