Bangladesh 2020 – An Analysis of Growth Prospect and External Sector Behaviour

Debapriya Bhattacharya, Uttam Kumar Deb
JEL codes: 
Centre for Policy Dialogue Paper 56

External factors such as export, import, remittances and foreign aid have always played important roles to Bangladeshs economy, though the relative importance of various external factors has changed over time. This study has analysed the trend, structure and changing features of the external sector of Bangladesh. Based on the past performance and changes in the global economy, the study has projected the growth prospect and likely behaviour of Bangladeshs external sector under three scenarios: (i) optimistic scenario (8% GDP growth per annum), (ii) business as usual scenario (6% GDP growth per annum), and (iii) base case scenario (4% GDP growth per annum). Under these three scenarios, the study has projected the level of total GDP and per capita GDP of Bangladesh till FY2020. Projections are made about the required level of exports, imports, remittances, foreign aid and foreign investment to attain a consistent GDP growth at the rate of 4%, 6% and 8% up to the year 2020. The paper has also put forward the implications of the findings for policies related to the external sector of Bangladesh. The paper suggests that Bangladesh needs a steady growth based on foreign investment, service income and trade. The report adds that future growth of Bangladesh will depend on promoting export, sustaining remittances, and triggering export. Bangladesh will require a breakthrough in the performance of the external sector. According to the report, the key to the breakthrough lies in effective integration of Bangladeshs economy with the global economy which will ultimately depend on the ability of political leadership to undertake necessary policy reforms and institution building measures.