Political Landscape in Bangladesh
In terms of the business environment, Bangladesh has shown improvement, as highlighted by the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study, moving from the 176th to the 168th position globally. However, challenges persist, including concerns about corruption, with Bangladesh ranking 14th on the Global Corruption Perception Index in 2019. Political instability is indicated by a harsh crackdown on dissidents of the ruling Awami League.
Bangladesh boasts low labor costs, particularly in sectors like garment manufacturing, where monthly salaries for workers range from $70 to $100. The World Economic Forum predicts continuous GDP growth, but poor infrastructure remains a barrier to overall economic development.
Significant strides have been made in poverty reduction, with Bangladesh successfully decreasing poverty from 44.2% in 1991 to 14.8% in 2016, according to the World Bank. The literacy rate stands at 73.91%, as reported by UNESCO. However, potential language barriers exist, as Bengali is the official national language, and English proficiency is ranked 71 out of 100 countries.
Bangladesh is emerging as a significant player in the digital economy, ranking as the second-largest supplier of online labor, according to the Oxford Internet Institute. The country is evolving into an IT hub with the participation of major tech companies, but challenges like unstable power supply hinder tech sector growth.
Bangladesh’s business laws are progressing to meet international standards, including enhancements in money laundering regulations and intellectual property laws. However, concerns persist regarding the independence of the judiciary, with executive influence over appointments. Legal processes are known for being slow, leading to frustrating delays in commercial dispute resolution.
The Government of Bangladesh is actively implementing environmental policies, such as the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy Plus Livelihoods project. However, environmental issues persist due to unsustainable practices, contributing to pollution and resource depletion. The environmental challenges are estimated to cost Bangladesh $6.5 million annually, equivalent to about 3.4% of the country’s 2015 Gross Domestic Product.
In navigating Bangladesh’s business landscape, understanding these political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors is crucial for informed decision-making.