Bangladesh: officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South
Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma
(Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Together
with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region
of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official
The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition
of Bengal and India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing
of the newly-formed Pakistan. However, it was separated from the western
wing by 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) across India. Political and linguistic
discrimination as well as economic neglect led to popular agitations
against West Pakistan, which led to the war for independence in 1971
and the establishment of Bangladesh, with the help of India. However,
the new state had to endure famines, natural disasters and widespread
poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. The restoration
of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative stability and economic
Bangladesh is the seventh most populous country in the world and is
among the most densely populated countries in the world with a high
poverty rate. However, per-capita (inflation-adjusted) GDP has more
than doubled since 1975, and the poverty rate has fallen by 20% since
the early 1990s. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven"
economies. Dhaka and other urban centers have been the driving force
behind this growth.
Geographically, the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra
Delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones. The government
is a parliamentary democracy; however, political rule was suspended
under emergency law for two years from 11 January 2007 to 17 December 2008.
Bangladesh is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC,
the OIC, and the D-8. As the World Bank notes in its July 2005 Country
Brief, the country has made significant progress in human development
in the areas of literacy, gender parity in schooling and reduction of
population growth. However, Bangladesh continues to face a number of
major challenges, including widespread political and bureaucratic corruption,
and economic competition relative to the world.