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The Economist: Bangladesh’s GDP per capita now higher than Pakistan’s

  • Published at 08:06 am September 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:57 am September 8th, 2017
The Economist: Bangladesh’s GDP per capita now higher than Pakistan’s
August revealed a remarkable turnaround for Bangladesh's GDP per person of $1,538, which is higher than that of Pakistan's GDP per person, standing at $1,470. The respective currencies were converted into dollars at market exchange rates for the calculation of the GDP per head. After gaining independence from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh was left in dire circumstances where the industry accounted for only 6-7% GDP, compared to Pakistan's 20%. The battle for independence led to the displacement of million lives and damaged infrastructure, while Pakistan's bankers and industrialists severed ties with the newly formed country. However, Bangladesh rose from the ashes of the past and transformed itself into a state of flourishing economic growth. Bangladesh moved ahead because of a rise in population in Pakistan, updating earlier population estimates to 207.8 million people, which is 9 million more than previously thought. Therefore, the new count also knocked off 4-5% off Pakistan’s GDP per person. The arithmetic consequence and revealing an estimate of too many people in Pakistan worked as an advantage for Bangladesh. However, Pakistan's $1,470 GDP per person actually has more purchasing power than Bangladesh's $1,538, as a dollar stretches further in Pakistan than in Bangladesh because prices in the former tend to be lower. Bangladesh's economic progress must be celebrated, since its annual growth has averaged more than 6% over the past ten years and has run above 7% over the past two. Industry accounts for 29% of its GDP. Bangladesh's GDP per capita received a boost from another source. Its last census, in 2011, led to a large revision of the country’s population, larger even than Pakistan's. But in Bangladesh's case, the revision was downwards. Bangladesh, one of the primary exporters of ready-made clothes across the world, now exports more ready-made garments than India and Pakistan combined. Even though working conditions are still mediocre, Bangladesh has come a long way and doing far better than they once were.
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