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Bangladesh Surpasses India, Pakistan in Prosperity Despite Freedom Index Setback



india bangladesh pakistan

Bangladesh outpaced its South Asian neighbors, India and Pakistan, in terms of prosperity in 2023, although a concerning setback in the Freedom Index shadowed the triumph.

According to the report “Freedom and Prosperity in Bangladesh” prepared by the Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center, Bangladesh was categorized as “mostly unprosperous” in the Prosperity Index and “mostly unfree” in the Freedom Index.

Bangladesh fared better on the Prosperity Index than its South Asian counterparts, ranking 99th among 164 countries, while India ranked 146th and Pakistan ranked 150.

However, the freedom index paints a grim picture, placing Bangladesh on the 141st spot, whereas India is on 104 and Pakistan is on 113 in the list made for 2023.

This Prosperity Index considers various factors beyond GDP per capita, including health, inequality, environmental conditions, minority rights, and education. Meanwhile, the Freedom Index measures political, economic, and legal components.

The US-based think tank’s research found that strengthening basic freedom accelerates economic growth over the long term.

The report said, “January parliamentary elections solidified a shift toward a dominant-party system. The Awami League capitalized on an opposition boycott to extend its fifteen-year rule, with prime minister Sheikh Hasina poised to become the world’s longest-serving female head of government. While this signifies stability, dominant-party systems often face challenges that can undermine good governance. Ensuring healthy competition across politics, government, and the economy is crucial to mitigate these risks.”

These findings were revealed at the Prosperity and Good Governance Conference, jointly organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Asia Foundation on Monday (15 April).

Speaking at the event, US Ambassador Peter Haas said, “Out of the 164 countries the Atlantic Council has looked at, not a single country ranked ‘mostly unfree’ is also ranked ‘prosperous.’ This suggests that, in order to become prosperous, Bangladesh must then take bold steps to expand economic, political, and legal freedoms for its people.”

“Every country grapples with issues like corruption and securing economic and political rights. The key lies not in avoiding problems but in actively acknowledging and tackling them,” he added.

The keynote speaker, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center Joseph Lemoine, highlighted the key findings from the report, which measures a nation’s economic well-being based on their democratic and governance indicators considered for its Freedom Index and Prosperity Index.

“The data shows that countries with greater freedom tend to enjoy higher levels of prosperity, while those with less freedom tend to have lower levels of prosperity. Countries that promote political and economic freedoms, along with strong legal systems, create an environment that’s more welcoming to foreign Investors,” said Mr. Lemoine during his keynote presentation.

“Freer countries receive significantly more foreign direct investment than those with less freedom. Overall, the Freedom Index suggests that a strong commitment to freedom is key to attracting foreign investment,” he added.

The conference brought together stakeholders from various sectors, including government, civil society, business, donors, academia, and think tanks.

The Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, aims to promote constructive US leadership in international affairs. Its Freedom and Prosperity Center conducts unbiased, data-based research on the relationship between prosperity and economic, political, and legal freedoms to support sound policy choices.

The Freedom and Prosperity Indexes are two separate indexes that rank 164 countries worldwide according to their levels of freedom and prosperity.

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Major American Corporations Eye Investments in Bangladesh: State Minister



State Minister Ahsanul Islam

State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu announced on Tuesday (May 28) that major American conglomerates, including Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing, are showing keen interest in investing in Bangladesh.

“We are working to streamline the investment process for American companies, ensuring they can operate smoothly without any obstacles,” State Minister Titu told reporters following a meeting with a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister highlighted that the discussion focused on simplifying investment procedures and removing any barriers that might deter new American companies from entering the Bangladeshi market.

A representative from Amazon attended the meeting, where discussions centered on the potential for Amazon to integrate Bangladeshi products into its global supply chain and enhance the local e-commerce infrastructure. “Amazon is looking into establishing a central warehouse in Bangladesh to facilitate regional and international product distribution,” Titu added.

The US delegation also explored opportunities in energy, digital payments, and startup sectors.

Titu outlined the primary goals of the United States-Bangladesh Business Council: improving market access for Bangladeshi products, facilitating US investments in Bangladesh, and strengthening bilateral relations. These efforts align with the government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy aimed at strategic growth.

Addressing concerns about some American companies withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh’s capital market, Titu emphasized the importance of welcoming international conglomerates. “If Facebook, Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing become involved in Bangladesh’s business landscape, it will significantly ease the country’s progress,” he stated.

Titu also mentioned Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and stressed the importance of securing market access in various countries within the next two years.

He assured that the government is committed to attracting international investors through policy support, emphasizing Bangladesh’s potential as a significant market with a stable government expected for the next five years.

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Bond Market Reforms Key to Investment Growth: Salman F Rahman



salman f rahman

Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today underscored the need to bolster the country’s capital market to secure funding for investors.

“Globally, the capital market is the primary source for raising finance for investors. However, in our country, businessmen typically rely on bank loans for mid-term investments or expansion. We are working towards improving the bond market,” he stated.

Salman made these remarks following a meeting with an executive business delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Bhaban in the city, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Board Chair of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and President and CEO of Excelerate Energy, Steven Kobos, along with President of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and South Asian Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador (ret) Atul Keshap, among others.

Speaking to reporters, Salman mentioned the government’s efforts to safeguard the capital market from manipulation. “Share prices depend on the market. The government never interferes in this regard. The primary role of the government is monitoring,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of institutional investors in strengthening the country’s capital market.

Moreover, Salman noted that US entrepreneurs have shown increased interest in investing in Bangladesh, recognizing the current government’s various development initiatives.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Seeks U.S. Business Support for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision



Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called on U.S. businessmen to support Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed and smart nation by 2041. Addressing a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence in Ganabhaban, she emphasized the importance of their partnership in this transformative journey.

“We aim to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Your support in enhancing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base is crucial,” she said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from a “least developed” to a “developing” country in 2026, attributing this progress to sustained efforts over the last 15 years. “Our efforts have led to Bangladesh being recognized globally as a ‘Role Model of Socio-Economic Development’,” she stated, citing good governance, the rule of law, rural investment, women’s empowerment, and ICT advancements as key factors.

Sheikh Hasina noted the longstanding economic and developmental partnership with the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export destination and source of foreign direct investment. She expressed optimism about further strengthening this relationship.

“To protect our economy from current pressures, investment—both domestic and foreign—is vital. The implementation of Bida’s One Stop Service (OSS) will facilitate this,” she said, addressing the OSS implementation progress review meeting at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’s (Bida) headquarters.

She urged the U.S. business community to invest in Bangladesh’s high-potential sectors, including renewable energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. “We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, making Bangladesh a prime destination for IT investments,” she added.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s competitive advantages, she mentioned the availability of a young, skilled workforce at competitive wages and the country’s liberal investment policy. She reassured investors of the government’s commitment to improving the investment environment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s address, Bida Executive Member Mohsina Yasmin presented a report on OSS progress, while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured the business community of considering logical amendments to the Customs Act.

Sheikh Hasina underscored Bangladesh’s significant socio-economic achievements, including reduced poverty rates, increased life expectancy, and higher literacy rates, particularly among women. She noted that Bangladesh is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, projected to be the 25th largest by 2030.

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