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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
Millions of US $ 56,844 51,900 45,500 54
GNI per capita
 US $ 440 400 390 175
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bangladesh

Update No: 049 - (01/03/10)

EU Critical of Bangladesh’s Ethnic Violence
The European Union has condemned last week's ethnic violence in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts which killed at least five people and injured 23. EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton said that the EU has called upon the government of Bangladesh to follow up with a thorough independent investigation of the incident, including allegations that the armed forces were involved. It has asked that the perpetrators of this act be brought to justice. A number of people belonging to indigenous groups have been killed, up to 400 houses burned down and several families displaced during ethnic clashes which occurred last week. The EU is also concerned about the larger impact that the violence may have on the stability of the Chittagong area as well as Bangladesh's international reputation.

Persecution of Burmese Refugees
The New York Times has recently published an article which discusses how stateless refugees from Myanmar are suffering beatings and deportation in Bangladesh. Ethnic Rohingya refugees who have been living for years in Bangladesh are being seized, beaten and forced back to Myanmar, which they had left to escape persecution and abuse and which does not want them. There are about 250,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh, who constitute a Muslim minority from neighboring Myanmar. In Bangladesh, they do not have citizenship and are subject to abuse and forced labor, and where they cannot travel, marry or practice their religion freely. “Over the last few months we have treated victims of violence, people who claim to have been beaten by the police, claim to have been beaten by members of the host population, by people they’ve been living next to for many years,” said Paul Critchley, who runs the Bangladesh program for the aid group know as Doctors Without Borders. Apparently the situation is being referred to as a humanitarian crisis. Since October, the Kutupalong makeshift camp has grown by 6,000 people to nearly 30,000, with 2,000 arrivals in January alone.

IMF Serves Warning
The IMF has warned Bangladesh that it needs to contain inflation and remove the barrier to growth. In its annual review of Bangladesh's economy, the International Monetary Fund said inflation could rise into the double digits as food prices rise.

It said "higher market interest rates would be a small price to pay to prevent a harmful acceleration of inflation." The Fund forecast the pace of annual growth would edge up to around 6 percent although would remain subdued in the near term due to weak imports, sluggish private-sector credit and fewer job opportunities for Bangladeshis working abroad. Therefore, it was important to unleash the economy's potential through higher revenue and more capital spending, it added. "Bangladesh seems stuck in a low revenue-low capital spending equilibrium, and infrastructure bottlenecks are holding back growth," the IMF said, also urging the authorities to push through reforms for Value-Added Tax (VAT) and remove ceilings on lending rates. The IMF called for greater flexibility in the exchange rate to support monetary policy goals. "The authorities should move towards greater flexibility in the exchange rate to lessen the constraints on macroeconomic policies," the IMF said. It added: "The export sector should be able to sustain such a move, since they believed that the taka is somewhat undervalued, though not far out of line with fundamentals." (Reuters).

Bangladesh-India Power Plant Deal
Bangladesh has signed a 1.7-billion-dollar deal with India to build two coal-fired power plants in the southern part of the country to address a huge electricity shortage. The plants will have a total daily generating capacity of 1,320 megawatts, and should help reduce the severe power shortfalls common to Bangladesh. Dhaka's Power Development Board and India's National Thermal Power Corp will build the plants and they will be ready in three years. The two state-owned companies from each country will share the 1.7-billion-dollar cost of building the plants, which will be managed by the Indian company and will use imported coal. According to Bangladesh Power Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, the new plants are part of the government's 9.5-billion-dollar power investment plan to boost generating capacity. "We're going to invite bids from local and foreign companies to generate power to eliminate the shortfall," he said.

Bangladesh Rejects 60 Million Pound Donation from UK
The Bangladeshi government is refusing to accept a £60m donation from Britain to help it deal with the consequences of global warming. The reason for Bangladesh’s refusal to accept the money arises from a dispute over how the money will be provided. Officials in the Department for International Development (Dfid) are insisting that the money which is part of a pledge to provide developing countries with climate finance, is channelled through the World Bank. Bangladesh has objected to the role of the bank, because of its "strings and conditions" that appear unreasonable and unfavorable to the country. 

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