The World Factbook (1990)/Bangladesh

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pages 25–26


 See regional map VIII


Total area: 144,000 km²; land area: 133,910 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Wisconsin

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

Coastline: 580 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: up to outer limits of continental margin
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: a portion of the boundary with India is in dispute; water sharing problems with upstream riparian India over the Ganges

Climate: tropical; cool, dry winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); cool, rainy monsoon (June to October)

Terrain: mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast

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

Land use: 67% arable land; 2% permanent crops; 4% meadows and pastures; 16% forest and woodland; 11 % other; includes 14% irrigated

Environment: vulnerable to droughts; much of country routinely flooded during summer monsoon season; overpopulation; deforestation

Note: almost completely surrounded by India


Population: 118,433,062 (July 1990), growth rate 2.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 42 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 14 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 136 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 54 years male, 53 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.7 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Bangladeshi(s); adjective—Bangladesh

Ethnic divisions: 98% Bengali; 250,000 Biharis, and less than 1 million tribals

Religion: 83% Muslim, about 16% Hindu, less than 1% Buddhist, Christian, and other

Language: Bangla (official), English widely used

Literacy: 29% (39% men, 18% women)

Labor force: 35,100,000; 74% agriculture, 15% services, 11% industry and commerce; extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Kuwait (FY86)

Organized labor: 3% of labor force belongs to 2,614 registered unions (1986 est.)


Long-form name: People's Republic of Bangladesh

Type: republic

Capital: Dhaka

Administrative divisions: 64 districts (zillagulo, singular—zilla); Bāgerhāt, Bāndarban, Barisāl, Bhola, Bogra, Borguna, Brāhmanbāria, Chāndpur, Chapai Nawābganj, Chattagram, Chuādānga, Comilla, Cox's Bāzār, Dhaka, Dinājpur, Farīdpur, Feni, Gaibandha, Gāzipur, Gopālganj, Habiganj, Jaipurhāt, Jamālpur, Jessore, Jhālakāti, Jhenaidah, Khagrāchari, Khulna, Kishorganj, Kurīgrām, Kushtia, Laksmipur, Lālmonirhāt, Mādārīpur, Māgura, Mānikganj, Meherpur, Moulavibāzār, Munshiganj, Mymensingh, Naogaon, Narail, Nārāyanganj, Narsingdi, Nator, Netrakona, Nilphāmāri, Noākhāli, Pābna, Panchāgar, Parbattya Chattagram, Patuākhāli, Pirojpur, Rājbāri, Rājshāhi, Rangpur, Sātkhira, Shariyatpur, Sherpur, Sirājganj, Sunāmganj, Sylhet, Tangail, and Thākurgaon

Independence: 16 December 1971 (from Pakistan; formerly East Pakistan)

Constitution: 4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986

Legal system: based on English common law

National holiday: Independence Day, 26 March (1971)

Executive branch: president, vice president, prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD (since 11 December 1983, elected 15 October 1986); Vice President Moudad AHMED (since 12 August 1989);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Qazi Zafar AHMED (since 12 August 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Jatiyo Party, Hussain Mohammad Ershad; Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Begum Ziaur Rahman; Awami League, Sheikh Hasina Wazed; United People's Party, Kazi Zafar Ahmed; Democratic League, Khondakar Mushtaque Ahmed; Muslim League, Khan A. Sabur; Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (National Socialist Party), M. A. Jalil; Bangladesh Communist Party (pro-Soviet), Saifuddin Ahmed Manik; Jamaat-E-Islami, Ali Khan

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 15 October 1986 (next to be held October 1991); results—President Hussain Mohammad Ershad received 83.5% of vote;

Parliament—last held 3 March 1988 (next to be held March 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(330 total, 300 elected and 30 seats reserved for women) Jatiyo Party won 256 out of 300 seats

Communists: 5,000 members (1987 est.)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador A. H. S. Ataul KARIM; Chancery at 2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington DC 20007; telephone (202) 342-8372 through 8376; there is a Bangladesh Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador Willard A. DE PREE; Embassy at Diplomatic Enclave, Madani Avenue, Baridhara Model Town, Dhaka (mailing address is G. P. O. Box 323, Ramna, Dhaka); telephone [88](2)608170

Flag: green with a large red disk slightly to the hoist side of center; green is the traditional color of Islam


Overview: The economy is based on the output of a narrow range of agricultural products, such as jute, which is the main cash crop and major source of export earnings. Bangladesh is hampered by a relative lack of natural resources, a rapid population growth of 2.8% a year and a limited infrastructure, and it is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Despite these constraints, real GDP averaged about 3.8% annually during 1985-88. One of the poorest nations in the world, alleviation of poverty remains the cornerstone of the government's development strategy. The agricultural sector contributes over 50% to GDP and 75% to exports, and employs over 74% of the labor force. Industry accounts for about 10% of GDP.

GDP: $20.6 billion, per capita $180; real growth rate 2.1% (FY89 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8-10% (FY89 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (FY88 est.)

Budget: revenues $1.8 billion; expenditures $3.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.7 billion (FY89)

Exports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., FY89 est.); commodities—jute, tea, leather, shrimp, manufacturing; partners—US 25%, Western Europe 22%, Middle East 9%, Japan 8%, Eastern Europe 7%

Imports: $3.1 billion (c.i.f., FY89 est.); commodities—food, petroleum and other energy, nonfood consumer goods, semiprocessed goods, and capital equipment; partners—Western Europe 18%, Japan 14%, Middle East 9%, US 8%

External debt: $10.4 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.4% (FY89 est.)

Electricity: 1,700,000 kW capacity; 4,900 million kWh produced, 40 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: jute manufacturing, food processing, cotton textiles, petroleum, urea fertilizer

Agriculture: accounts for about 50% of GDP and 74% of both employment and exports; imports 10% of food grain requirements; world's largest exporter of jute; commercial products—jute, rice, wheat, tea, sugarcane, potatoes, beef, milk, poultry; shortages include wheat, vegetable oils and cotton; fish catch 778,000 metric tons in 1986

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $3.2 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-87), $9.5 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $652 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $1.5 billion

Currency: taka (plural—taka); 1 taka (Tk) = 100 paise

Exchange rates: taka (Tk) per US$1—32.270 (January 1990), 32.270 (1989), 31.733 (1988), 30.950 (1987), 30.407 (1986), 27.995 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: 2,892 km total (1986); 1,914 km 1.000 meter gauge, 978 km 1.676 meter broad gauge

Highways: 7,240 km total (1985); 3,840 km paved, 3,400 km unpaved

Inland waterways: 5,150-8,046 km navigable waterways (includes 2,575-3,058 km main cargo routes)

Ports: Chittagong, Chalna

Merchant marine: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 331,568 GRT/493,935 DWT; includes 38 cargo, 2 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 3 refrigerated cargo, 1 roll-on/roll-off, 3 bulk

Pipelines: 650 km natural gas

Civil air: 15 major transport aircraft

Airports: 16 total, 13 usable; 13 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 4 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 7 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate international radio communications and landline service; fair domestic wire and microwave service; fair broadcast service; 182,000 telephones; stations—9 AM, 6 FM, 11 TV; 2 Indian Ocean INTELSAT satellite earth stations

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force; paramilitary forces Bangladesh Rifles, Bangladesh Ansars, Armed Police Reserve, Coastal Police

Military manpower: males 15-49, 28,110,802; 16,686,644 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 1.5% of GDP, or $309 million (FY90 est.)