Bangladesh’s economic freedom score is 56.4, making its economy the 122nd freest in the 2020 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.8 point, led by a higher score for property rights. Bangladesh is ranked 29th among 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is well below the regional and world averages.
Bangladesh has made steady albeit incremental progress toward greater economic freedom during the past five years. Although its economy has remained stuck in the mostly un-free category, its GDP growth during the same period has been robust. A welcoming attitude toward foreign investment and restraint on the growth of government may partially explain the discrepancy.
For Bangladesh finally to break into the ranks of the moderately free, the government would have to make a sustained, multiyear effort to improve the three rule-of-law indicators and permit the entry into the country of more international banks and the best practices they would bring with them.
Bangladesh is a large Muslim-majority democracy that shares borders with India and Burma. The British partition of India in 1947 resulted in the creation of West Pakistan and, in the Muslim-majority areas of Bengal east of India, East Pakistan. Following a brutal conflict for independence from West Pakistan, East Pakistan, aided by India, declared itself the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971. Two political parties have alternated in power for decades. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory in December 2018 elections. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party won only seven seats. Despite political instability and poor economic freedom indicators, economic growth has been robust, led by garment exports.
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