Bangladesh at 50

I was born in Bangladesh and spent my childhood there. I moved to Haringey, London at the age of 12. My Bangladeshi heritage is an important part of who I am. Bangladesh declared its independence on 25 March 1971 from West Pakistan, which is modern day Pakistan. The Pakistani army launched a violent and brutal crackdown on the people of Bangladesh known as “operation searchlight”. This was followed by a bloody nine-month war with the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation on 16 December 1971.

This month, Bangladesh celebrates 50 years since its independence. It is no longer considered by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world. There has been a huge investment in the most marginalised and the destitute in Bangladesh lifting 25 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years.

This week, a New York Times article suggested that President Biden should look to Bangladesh as an example of how to invest and empower America’s poor. This indeed is a great testament for a country that was famously written off by Henry Kissinger as a ‘basket case’.

Bangladesh has seen a phenomenal growth in its GDP in the last few years. It has consistently had a GDP growth of between 7 and 8% which is higher than India and China. Bangladesh presents huge opportunities for the Bangladshi diaspora living abroad to go back and exploit those opportunities. At the same time, foreign investors are also eying up opportunities in diverse areas such as large infrastructure projects, IT, hydrocarbon and renewable energy, pharmaceutical and ready made garments.

Monument honouring the martyrs who gave their lives in the 1971 war of independence

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