Economic Diplomacy of Bangladesh: From the Basket Case to a Middle-Income Country

 Mahfuz Kabira, Mohammad Jasim Uddinb and Md Rafid Abrar Miahc

aResearch Director, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka

bSenior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka

cResearch Officer, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka.


During the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, the Pakistani military strategically destroyed Bangladesh’s lines of communication and all critical infrastructures. After the war, Bangladesh’s economy was thus in shambles, people were under extreme poverty, and there were new challenges like rapid expansion of population, inadequate reserve, and volatile political environment. That led many to be sceptical about this newly born country’s progress. Bangladesh was termed as a ‘bottomless basket’ and a malevolent ‘test case of development.’ Despite such scepticism, Bangladesh successfully eliminated the ‘international basket case’ tag by making significant improvements in economic and social dimensions. This paper aims to explore the development miracle Bangladesh has achieved over these five decades from the lens of economic diplomacy. Despite having many, authors believe that economic diplomacy has played the most crucial role in its development journey. This study opts for a qualitative approach where available literature and documents are extensively reviewed. This study acknowledges the upcoming challenges Bangladesh will face soon after its graduation and recommends prudent economic diplomatic intervention for continuing its’ prosperity.

Keywords: Bangladesh, Economic diplomacy, Economy of Bangladesh, Middle Income Country.


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