Bangladesh will celebrate its golden jubilee of independence from Pakistan on March 26
Once dubbed as a “bottomless basket” by former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Bangladesh was in economic turmoil, wracked by poverty and famine, for a number of years after emerging as an independent nation in 1971.
As a matter of fact, by 2006, when Bangladesh registered a faster growth than Pakistan, it was dismissed as a fluke.
Yet that year would turn out to be an inflection point. Since then, Bangladesh’s annual GDP growth has exceeded Pakistan’s by roughly 2.5 percentage points per year, and on Bangladesh’s golden jubilee of independence, the country outshines Pakistan on some of the most common indicators of development.
According to the latest data provided by the World Bank, Bangladesh’s GDP per capita in 2019 stood at $1,855.74 against Pakistan’s $1,284.702.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s annual GDP growth was measured at 8.2% while Pakistan’s growth was 1.9%.
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Moreover, Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves ($32.697 billion) are almost twice of Pakistan’s ($16.586).
Bangladesh also comes out on top when it comes to average life expectancy. Life expectancy in Bangladesh has increased by more than one and a half times since 1971 and stood at 72.32 years in 2018 against Pakistan’s 67.114 years.
In a similar vein, Bangladesh’s infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) in 2019 dropped to 25.6 while in Pakistan it was 55.7.
Bangladesh eclipses Pakistan on the education front as well. The gross enrollment ratio (primary) in Bangladesh and Pakistan was 116.466% and 94.328% in 2018, respectively.
Pakistan will turn 74 on August 14 this year, having become independent from Britain in 1947. Meanwhile, Bangladesh, waging a successful War of Liberation against Pakistan in 1971, turns 50 on March 26.