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Flag of Bangladesh
Map of Bangladesh
Introduction Bangladesh
Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
Geography Bangladesh
Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Geographic coordinates:
24 00 N, 90 00 E
Map references:
total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Iowa
Land boundaries:
total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km
580 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 18 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m
Natural resources:
natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Land use:
arable land: 60.7%
permanent crops: 2.61%
other: 36.69% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
38,440 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Environment - current issues:
many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
People Bangladesh
133,376,684 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.8% (male 23,069,242; female 21,995,457)
15-64 years: 62.8% (male 42,924,778; female 40,873,077)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 2,444,314; female 2,069,816) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.59% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
25.12 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
8.47 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.18 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
68.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.92 years
female: 60.74 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.08 years
Total fertility rate:
2.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.02% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
13,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,000 (1999 est.)
noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi
Ethnic groups:
Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)
Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)
Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56%
male: 63%
female: 49% (2000 est.)
Government Bangladesh
Country name:
conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
former: East Pakistan
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
5 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi; note - there may be one additional division named Sylhet
16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986, amended many times
Legal system:
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Iajuddin AHMED (since 6 Sepember 2002); note - the president's duties are normally ceremonial, but with the 13th amendment to the constitution ("Caretaker Government Amendment"), the president's role becomes significant at times when Parliament is dissolved and a caretaker government is installed - at presidential direction - to supervise the elections
head of government: Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA (since 10 October 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term; election scheduled for 16 September 2002 was not held since Iajuddin AHMED was the only presidential candidate; he was sworn in on 6 September 2002 (next election to be held by NA 2007); following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Iajuddin AHMED declared by the Election Commission elected unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies (the constitutional amendment reserving 30 seats for women over and above the 300 regular parliament seats expired in May 2001); members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 1 October 2001 (next to be held before October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - BNP and alliance partners 46%, AL 42%; seats by party - BNP 201, AL 62, JI 18, JP (Ershad faction) 14, IOJ 2, JP (Naziur) 1, other 4; note - the election of October 2001 brought a majority BNP government aligned with three other smaller parties - Jamaat-i-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote, and Jatiya Party (Naziur)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Bangladesh Communist Party or BCP [Saifuddin Ahmed MANIK]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA, chairperson]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [Mufti Fazlul Haq AMINI]; Jamaat-E-Islami or JI [Motiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Jatiya Party (Manzur faction) [[Naziur Rahman MANZUR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Syed Hasan AHMAD
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 244-5366
telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mary Ann PETERS
embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
telephone: [880] (2) 8824700 through 8824722
FAX: [880] (2) 8823744
Flag description:
green with a large red disk slightly to the hoist side of center; the red sun of freedom represents the blood shed to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush countryside, and secondarily, the traditional color of Islam
Economy Bangladesh
Economy - overview:
Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and ill-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product. Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, inadequate port facilities, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, delays in exploiting energy resources (natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Economic reform is stalled in many instances by political infighting and corruption at all levels of government. Progress also has been blocked by opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups. The BNP government, led by Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA, has the parliamentary strength to push through needed reforms, but the party's level of political will to do so has been lacking.
purchasing power parity - $230 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,750 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 18%
services: 52% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 29%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34 (1995-96 )
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.8% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
64.1 million (1998)
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances estimated at $1.71 billion in 1998-99 (1998)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 63%, services 26%, industry 11% (FY95/96)
Unemployment rate:
35% (2001 est.)
revenues: $4.9 billion
expenditures: $6.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY99/00 est.)
cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar
Industrial production growth rate:
6.2% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
13.493 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 92%
hydro: 8%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
12.548 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry
$6.6 billion (2001)
Exports - commodities:
garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood
Exports - partners:
US 31.8%, Germany 10.9%, UK 7.9%, France 5.2%, Netherlands 5.2%, Italy 4.42% (2000)
$8.7 billion (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, raw cotton, food, crude oil and petroleum products, cement
Imports - partners:
India 10.5%, EU 9.5%, Japan 9.5%, Singapore 8.5%, China 7.4% (2000)
Debt - external:
$17 billion (2000) (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$1.575 billion
taka (BDT)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
taka per US dollar - 57.756 (January 2002), 55.807 (2001), 52.142 (2000), 49.085 (1999), 46.906 (1998), 43.892 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Bangladesh
Telephones - main lines in use:
500,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
283,000 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: totally inadequate for a modern country
domestic: modernizing; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2000)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 12, FM 12, shortwave 2 (1999)
6.15 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (1999)
770,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2000)
Internet users:
150,000 (2002)
Transportation Bangladesh
total: 2,745 km
broad gauge: 923 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,822 km 1.000-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 201,182 km
paved: 19,112 km
unpaved: 182,070 km (1997)
up to 8,046 km depending on season
note: includes 3,058 km main cargo routes
natural gas 1,250 km
Ports and harbors:
Chittagong, Dhaka, Mongla Port, Narayanganj (2001)
Merchant marine:
total: 34 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 269,932 GRT/379,271 DWT
ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 26, container 3, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1, includes s foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Singapore 5 (2002 est.)
18 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Military Bangladesh
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, paramilitary forces (includes Bangladesh Rifles, Bangladesh Ansars, Village Defense Parties, Armed Police Battalions, National Cadet Corps)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 37,303,372 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 22,139,736 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$559 million (FY96/97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (FY96/97)
Transnational Issues Bangladesh
Disputes - international:
only a small portion of the boundary with India remains undelimited; discussions to demarcate the boundary, exchange 162 miniscule enclaves, and allocate divided villages remain stalled; skirmishes, illegal border trafficking, and violence along the border continue; Bangladesh has protested India's attempts to fence off high traffic sections of the porous boundary; Burmese attempts to construct a dam on the border stream in 2001 prompted an armed response halting construction; Burmese Muslim refugees migrate into Bangladesh straining meager resources
Illicit drugs:
transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003