Renowned US newspaper The Wall Street Journal has praised the staggering development of Bangladesh’s economy in recent years, dubbing the country as “South Asia’s economic bull case.”
Bangladesh is the closest proxy in South Asia for the successful export-led development models employed in Southeast Asian nations Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as global economic powerhouse China, said the newspaper in a report on Wednesday.
The report follows in the wake of the UN Committee for Development Policy’s recent recommendation that Bangladesh graduate from the least developed country status. A massive 80% increase in exports in Bangladesh over the past decade has coincided with a dip in neighboring India and Pakistan. The gap in GDP per capita between Bangladesh and India was 40% in 2011, but the former has now caught up. However, exports in Vietnam and Cambodia more than tripled and more than doubled, respectively, over the same 10 years.
In the report, WSJ stressed the need for Bangladesh to follow the example of Vietnam and transition to high-value manufacturing and exports to maintain growth and reduce dependency on the garment industry. The diversification of Bangladesh’s exports would require greater participation in Asian trade blocs, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the newspaper added.