Bangladesh rises to be South Asia's standout star as India, Pak fall behind

Bangladesh's growth rests on three pillars: exports, social progress and fiscal prudence

Photo: Shutterstock

Fiscal restraint has allowed Bangladesh’s private sector to borrow and invest. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Mihir S Sharma | Bloomberg Opinion
Half a century ago, in March 1971, Bangladesh’s founders declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born amid famine and war; millions fled to India or were killed by Pakistani soldiers. To the Pakistani military’s American backers, the new country seemed destined to fail: Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, famously called it a “basketcase.” George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized the first-ever super-benefit to raise money for UNICEF relief work in the struggling country.

This month, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary told reporters that GDP per capita had grown by 9% over the past year, rising to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Pakistan; today, Bangladesh

First Published: Jun 01 2021 | 10:04 AM IST

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