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  Introduction Back To Top

Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections in January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 79.4 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 560 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
1,210.6 cu km (1999)

Land boundaries:
total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
24 00 N, 90 00 E

Natural resources:
natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m

mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast

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

total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km

Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

580 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Iowa

Irrigated land:
47,250 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne 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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin

Natural hazards:
droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season

Land use:
arable land: 55.39%
permanent crops: 3.08%
other: 41.53% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.08 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.15 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
13,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.21 years
male: 63.14 years
female: 63.28 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 43.1%
male: 53.9%
female: 31.8% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Bengali 98%, other 2% (includes tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims) (1998)

Median age:
total: 22.8 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 22.9 years (2008 est.)

153,546,896 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
2.7% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
2.022% (2008 est.)

Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English

Death rate:
8 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 57.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 58.44 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 56.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
650 (2001 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 8 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.4% (male 26,364,370/female 24,859,792)
15-64 years: 63.1% (male 49,412,903/female 47,468,013)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 2,912,321/female 2,529,502) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
28.86 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)

noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY
embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
telephone: [880] (2) 885-5500
FAX: [880] (2) 882-3744

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

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
other: environmentalists; Islamist groups; religious leaders; teachers; union leaders

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador M. Humayun KABIR
chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
FAX: [1] (202) 244-7830/2771
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 29 December 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - AL 49%, BNP 33.2%, JP 7%, JIB 4.6%, other 6.2%; seats by party - AL 230, BNP 30, JP 27, JIB 2, other 11

Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
green field with a large red disk shifted slightly to the hoist side of center; the red disk represents the rising sun and the sacrifice to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush vegetation of Bangladesh

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

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
local long form: Gana Prajatantri Banladesh
local short form: Banladesh
former: East Bengal, East Pakistan

Political parties and leaders:
Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Bangladesh Communist Party or BCP [Manjurul A. KHAN]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [Mufti Fazlul Haq AMINI]; Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh or JIB [Matiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Jatiya Party (Manzur faction) [Naziur Rahman MANZUR]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY and Oli AHMED]

name: Dhaka
geographic coordinates: 23 43 N, 90 24 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986; amended many times

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Iajuddin AHMED (since 6 September 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA Wajed (since 6 January 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second 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 NA); 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 president-elect by the Election Commission; he ran unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA

Administrative divisions:
6 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 23%, Germany 13%, UK 9.1%, France 5.5%, Belgium 4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
21.37 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$55 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$21.72 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
2.5% (includes underemployment) (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
1,351 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
24.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$40.15 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$228.4 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$83.04 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33.2 (2005)

Exchange rates:
taka (BDT) per US dollar - 68.554 (2008 est.), 69.893 (2007), 69.031 (2006), 64.328 (2005), 59.513 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.9% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$8.444 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
70.86 million
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances estimated at $4.8 billion in 2005-06. (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
China 15%, India 14.3%, Kuwait 8.3%, Singapore 6.2%, Hong Kong 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.4% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 19.1%
industry: 28.6%
services: 52.3% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
83,220 bbl/day (2005)

$13.97 billion (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
15.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
taka (BDT)

Economy - overview:
The economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996 despite inefficient state-owned enterprises, delays in exploiting natural gas resources, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-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. Garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas, mainly in the Middle East and East Asia, fuel economic growth. In 2008 Bangladesh pursued a monetary policy aimed at maintaining high employment, but created higher inflation in the process.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement

cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
45% (2004 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$32.4 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
22.78 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$20.17 billion (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
28 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 63%
industry: 11%
services: 26% (FY95/96)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
141.6 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$5.934 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
89,940 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$104 million (2008 est.)

Public debt:
34.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$5.618 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$6.793 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 27.9% (2000)

Exports - commodities:
garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood

Economic aid - recipient:
$1.321 billion (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 93.7%
hydro: 6.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
15.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $8.831 billion
expenditures: $12.54 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June

Oil - production:
6,746 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
500,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
1.187 million (2007)

770,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 15, FM 13, shortwave 2 (2006)

6.15 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
34.37 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
15 (1999)

Telephone system:
general assessment: inadequate for a modern country; fixed-line telephone density remains less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly and is approaching 25 per 100 persons
domestic: modernizing; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
international: country code - 880; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 6; international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2000)

Internet hosts:
1,440 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

8,370 km
note: includes up to 3,060 km main cargo routes; network reduced to 5,200 km in dry season (2007)

gas 2,644 km (2007)

total: 2,768 km
broad gauge: 946 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,822 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Chittagong, Mongla Port

Transportation - note:
the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh as high risk for armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen

Merchant marine:
total: 40
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 27, container 5, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4
foreign-owned: 1 (China 1)
registered in other countries: 10 (Comoros 2, Honduras 1, Malta 2, Panama 2, Singapore 2, Togo 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 5 (2007)

total: 239,226 km
paved: 22,726 km
unpaved: 216,500 km (2003)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)

16 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for voluntary military service; 17 years of age for officers (both with parental consent); conscription legally possible in emergency, but has never been implemented (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 41,199,340 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 31,968,168 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Bangladesh Defense Force: Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force (Bangladesh Biman Bahini, BAF) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,311,850
female: 1,246,012 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.5% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
discussions with India remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, exchange territory for 51 small Bangladeshi exclaves in India and 111 small Indian exclaves in Bangladesh, allocate divided villages, and stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh protests India's fencing and walling off high-traffic sections of the porous boundary; a joint Bangladesh-India boundary commission resurveyed and reconstructed 92 missing pillars in 2007; dispute with India over New Moore/South Talpatty/Purbasha Island in the Bay of Bengal deters maritime boundary delimitation; after 21 years, Bangladesh resumes talks with Burma on delimiting a maritime boundary

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 26,268 (Burma)
IDPs: 65,000 (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2007)

Illicit drugs:
transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries

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