Bangladesh, nestled in South Asia, is a country defined by its lush river deltas, vibrant culture, and resilient spirit. With a rich history and diverse landscapes, from the Sundarbans mangrove forest to the bustling streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh captivates with its unique blend of tradition and modernity. From the booming textile industry, which serves as a global export powerhouse, to the vast expanses of agriculture sustaining a majority of the population, and the promising strides in shipbuilding on the international stage – these industries not only define economic sectors but also reflect the resilience and potential of Bangladesh.
Major Industries in Bangladesh
Bangladesh boasts the world’s largest textile industry, serving as a cornerstone of its economy and contributing significantly to export earnings, making up approximately 80% of the total. Positioned as the second-largest textile exporter globally, following China, this industry sustains a workforce of 3.5 million people, with a noteworthy 80% comprising women, marking the highest female labour participation in the nation. In 2009, Bangladesh achieved textile exports amounting to US$ 120.1 billion, with around 60% directed towards Europe and the remaining 40% to America.
However, individuals employed in the textile sector grapple with notable challenges, primarily characterized by meagre wages and less-than-ideal working conditions. Workers face restrictions on forming labour unions and engaging in strikes.
Even though the textile industry stands out as the primary contributor to Bangladesh’s export revenue, agriculture takes precedence as the largest employer in the country. Approximately 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture, contributing around 30% to the GDP. The performance of the agricultural sector directly influences key macroeconomic goals, including poverty reduction, employment, food security, and human resource development. A key government objective is to meet the food needs of the population, but this goal is hindered by recurrent floods.
The majority of Bangladesh’s populace derives their income from agriculture, with major crops such as rice, jute, tea, tobacco, wheat, tomato, and pulses. Thanks to fertile soil, rice cultivation occurs thrice annually, with 35.8 million metric tons produced in 2000, solidifying rice as the country’s primary crop. Despite the challenges of frequent floods, Bangladesh has managed to increase food grain production through its labour-intensive agricultural practices.
The shipbuilding sector is a burgeoning industry in Bangladesh, demonstrating significant potential to evolve into one of the nation’s largest. While the roots of shipbuilding in the country trace back to the early modern era, its true emergence occurred in recent years when locally manufactured ships gained traction in international markets. Presently, Bangladesh boasts over 200 shipbuilding companies, predominantly situated in Dhaka, Khulna, Narayanganj, Chittagong, and Barisal.
Pioneering the shipbuilding and exporting landscape in Bangladesh was Ananda Shipyard and Shipways Limited, established in 1983. Over the years, this company has secured numerous contracts, particularly from European Union countries. Notable players in the industry include Khan Brothers Shipbuilding Limited and Western Marine Shipyard. Bangladesh’s potential in shipbuilding has garnered comparisons with established players such as China, South Korea, and Japan.
In 2013, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that the tourism sector in Bangladesh contributed to the creation of 1.2 million direct jobs in the preceding year, 2012, representing 1.8% of the total workforce and placing the country at 157 out of 178 nations globally. Additionally, the industry generated an extra 1.5 million indirect jobs. While these numbers may appear modest in comparison to other countries, the tourism sector remains a pivotal driver of economic growth in Bangladesh. The nation boasts diverse attractions, encompassing beaches, wildlife, picnic spots, and historical monuments.
Information, Communication, And Technology
Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector serves as a testament to the positive outcomes achievable through government initiatives and investments in a skilled workforce. Originating in nuclear research during the 1960s, the sector has evolved with major organizations incorporating computer technology over the years. While the industry has yet to make a substantial impact on the country’s economy, its remarkable growth is undeniable. According to a 2008 World Bank study, Bangladesh’s IT services and software are projected to experience triple-digit growth.