Bangladesh’s Enhanced Investments
In May 2022, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, stated that Bangladesh is in need of enhanced investments from countries friendly with it and especially from the U.S. The country requests investments in an attempt to become a prosperous and developed country by its goal year, 2041. If the U.S. chooses to participate in Bangladesh’s enhanced investments, Bangladesh is choosing to diversify what it’s spending the investments on. At the pace they are currently going, Bangladesh will have graduated from being on the list of least developed countries (LDC) in the year 2026.

Usage of Investments

Hasina believes that Bangladesh’s enhanced investments are promising amongst investors due to its infrastructure. In addition to that, the government has eased the rules and regulations for businesses and investments that existed prior. The country recently implemented many development programs that help improve its livability. One major highlight is that recently, the entire country went under full electricity coverage, according to Dhaka Tribune.

Areas of Focus

More major areas of focus are water communication systems, roadways and railways. The government is also working on Bangladesh’s enhanced investments by creating zones for domestic and foreign investors throughout the country, with 100 unique economic zones set in the plan. According to Hasina, the government’s focus on advancing skilled manpower and the demographic dividend assures investors that Bangladesh’s enhanced investments will garner skilled human resources at vying wages.

Diversify the Investments

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, AK Abdul Momen is requesting that U.S. businesses make more diverse investments that go further than just the energy sectors, such as the agriculture sector. Around 90% of current investments from the U.S. to Bangladesh fund the energy sector, which the country will continue to use and request more investment in it. The country is also ambitiously suggesting that the U.S. produces goods out of it as well. Entrepreneurs from the U.S. have also shown interest in Bangladeshi Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector as it has more than 650,000 freelancers in the country.

US – Bangladesh Relations

Jay R. Pryor, the Vice President of Chevron was staying in Bangladesh from May 7 to May 11, 2022 to explore U.S. – Bangladesh economic opportunities. During this visit, discussions occurred regarding many plans for Bangladesh’s enhanced investments. The U.S. delegation expressed its interest in investing in “Smart Bangladesh” after already successfully implementing “Digital Bangladesh” in the country. In addition, Salman F. Raman, the Prime Minister’s private sector industry and investment advisor expressed that Bangladesh’s agriculture industry can bring lots of success and is suggesting investors bring modern technology to the sector.

The Positive Outcome

The investments that the leaders of Bangladesh are urgently seeking can drastically improve the livability of the country. Bangladesh is now incorporating solar water pumps in its water industry in order to improve the water supply. As Bangladesh moves forward, it is steadily improving all sectors in its country making its goal of becoming a developed and prosperous country by the year 2041 a foreseeable reality.

– Christina Papas
Photo: Flickr

Fast Fashion in BangladeshMerriam Webster defines fast fashion as “an approach to the design, creation and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” To many people, this phrase means trendy clothing for affordable prices, but to the garment workers and citizens of Bangladesh, fast fashion means unlivable wages and unsafe working conditions. Bangladesh is the second-largest producer in the garment industry after China and is home to more than 8,000 garment factories. The clothing produced makes up 83% of the country’s total exports. With more than four million Bangladeshi citizens working in these factories, the stability of the nation depends on the industry, which is controlled by the Global West.

The Fast Fashion Industry

Fast fashion is controlled by demand. The industry needs to pump out clothing quickly so stores have the clothes in stock before the trend fades. American and European demand for Bangladesh to produce is constantly increasing, which creates lower wages, more precarious working conditions and detrimental environmental consequences.

Bangladeshi garment workers make an estimated $25 to $75 a month. This is an impossible wage to live on, especially in large Bangladeshi cities such as Dhaka, where most of the garment factories are located. Nazma Akter, a seamstress in Bangladesh who began working in factories at 11 years old, stated, “We are cheap labor — that is why we are scared; we need money, we need to survive.” With an unlivable wage comes an unlivable life.

This violation of human rights comes with serious economic effects. With such a large percentage of the population living on so little, there are few citizens who are able to invest in Bangladesh, spend money to boost the economy and help lift the nation out of poverty. This low wage, which is only getting lower, is keeping Bangladesh impoverished and fast fashion plays a large role.

Unsafe Working Conditions

Fast fashion’s demand for cheap, fast labor creates low-quality working conditions, which can lead to horrific disasters in garment factories. In 2005, a garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, which killed 64 people and injured more than 100 others. In 2010, a Bangladeshi factory fire killed 26 and injured more than 100. Another fire in 2012 killed 112 workers and injured more than 150. However, the most tragic garment factory disaster was the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, which housed five garment factories that sold to countries in North America and Europe. In the collapse, 1,138 people were killed and 2,600 people were injured. The incident revealed the horrible reality of the dangers posed to underpaid Bangladeshi garment workers.

Outside of these large-scale disasters, it is estimated that there are 1.4 million workplace injuries in garment factories every year. Western corporations often manage their factories through a series of subcontractors, creating little to no presence of the actual company in the factory. This allows brands to blame any liability on the subcontractors and removes the obligation to improve working conditions.

Environmental Consequences

The cheap prices of fast fashion cause severe environmental consequences in Bangladesh. Textile production creates 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year and consumes a lot of water. Furthermore, in order to produce clothing quickly and inexpensively, the garment factories use toxic dyes and chemicals. These chemicals are then released into nearby rivers, polluting the water supply. The World Bank estimates that around 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from textile dyes. Chemicals released into the water supply increase disease among Bangladeshi citizens.

Effects of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic hit Bangladesh especially hard. In March 2020, when shutdowns began across the U.S. and Europe, a large retail fallout followed. Many large clothing brands such as Zara, H&M and Gap canceled their orders. In March 2020 alone, 864,17 million pieces of clothing from Bangladeshi factories that cost $2.81 billion were canceled after they had already been produced. This left the workers unpaid, unemployed and unsupported.

The petition #PayUp started trending worldwide, exposing the clothing brands that canceled their orders of Bangladeshi garments without compensating factories and workers. However, many large brands still have not paid. In response to the crisis, the Bangladeshi prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, announced a bailout of $590 million to be used solely for the salaries and allowances of factory workers.

Industry Reform

The garment industry is deeply ingrained in Bangladesh. If the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic taught any lesson, it is that the solution is not as simple as boycotting. Removing fast fashion would be removing almost the entirety of the Bangladeshi economy. Instead, the solution is reform. The solution is to raise awareness of the poor working conditions and put pressure on the large fashion corporations to create more sustainable clothing, humane working conditions and a livable wage. By holding companies accountable, making informed consumer decisions and advocating for workers’ rights, there is hope in ending the negative consequences of fast fashion in Bangladesh.

Georgia Bynum
Photo: Flickr

5 Facts About Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina took office in Bangladesh in 2008 and continues to increase the development of the country. Her persistent implementation of policies that aid economic and human development shows the strength of her vision for Bangladesh. These five facts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showcase the illustrious leadership of one of the most powerful women in the world.

5 Facts About Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

  1. The Awami League (AL) Party: Sheikh Hasina belongs to the Awami League (AL) political party. Her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, originally founded the Awami League in 1949 and it remains the oldest political party in Bangladesh. The political party began as a result of the division of Pakistan into East and West Pakistan. When the people of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) gained independence from Pakistan, the foundation of the nation embodied the moderate socialist ideology of this political party.
  2. Growth for Bangladesh: In 2018, Bangladesh became one of the few countries to graduate from classification as a least developed country (LDC). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her political party promised to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021, and have come closer to this goal with improved health and education for the citizens of Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s progress makes it a country with one of the fastest-growing economies worldwide. The gross domestic product (GDP) in Bangladesh has risen from 5.04 percent in 2009 at the start of Hasina’s first term to 7.86 percent in 2018. Projections determine that Bangladesh will move to the status of a developed country by 2024.
  3. Humanitarian: Sheikh Hasina received the nickname mother of humanity from a U.K.- based news channel. These five facts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reflect just a fraction of her devotion to bettering the lives of people. Many media outlets highlighted the generosity of the Prime Minister after she provided shelter to over 750,000 Rohingyas refugees fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine State. This act of kindness earned Hasina the Mother of Humanity Social Work Award Policy, 2018 from the Bangladeshi cabinet. The cabinet presented Hasina with an 18-carat 25-gram gold medal, a certificate of honor and Tk 200,000 ($2,366 U.S.) while recognizing her reputation as an exceptional humanitarian.
  4. Food Production and Life Expectancy: In the last 10 years, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has helped increase food production and the average life expectancy in Bangladesh. Back in 1974, Bangladesh suffered from mass starvation. Today, the self-sufficiency the country has obtained from economic growth helps it feed its population of 166 million people. During Hasina’s office, the percentage of people living in poverty in Bangladesh has decreased from 19 percent to 9 percent, while the life expectancy has increased from 69.3 years in 2008 to 72.8 years in 2017.
  5. The Ashrayan Project: Sheikh Hasina initiated the Ashrayan Project to find homes for 4,400 Bangladeshi people that became homeless after natural disasters such as landslides and river erosion. This project has arranged housing for thousands of homeless and displaced people. Moreover, it works to keep them self-reliant by providing various training on how to generate income. The project will build a tower named after Prime Minister Hasina in 2019 along with 139 multi-storied buildings in 2019.

In the end, these five facts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exemplify the efforts of a leader that wants the best for the people of her country and works hard to give them ample security in her leadership. Bangladesh has made tremendous strides as a country with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s support. Although Hasina’s upcoming fourth term may be her last, she has forever changed the face of Bangladesh.

Nia Coleman
Photo: Flickr

During the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pressed world leaders to unite against global poverty and terrorism in order to progress mankind toward a peaceful and unified world.

The IPU Assembly includes 1,400 delegates from 120 countries, whose efforts focus on the pursuit of global resolutions of peace, development and cooperation among peoples, which is necessary for the protection of representative democracy across the globe.

During Hasina’s address, she stated that nearly 800 million people are still threatened by poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. Though progress has been made in allocating peace and granting opportunities to these struggling families, she advises global leaders to continue the fight in combatting the threatening and aggressive forces of global poverty and terrorism.

With a population exceeding 156 million, at least 45 million people in Bangladesh live below the poverty line, including extreme poverty conditions. A major cause of rural poverty has been the excessive population growth throughout the country. By placing enormous amounts of pressure on the country’s natural resources, population growth has produced detrimental consequences, resulting in a low-income country with substantial poverty and inequality.

Hasina spoke highly of the progress Bangladesh has made in fighting rural poverty. She stated that poverty has declined from 31.5 percent in 2010 to 22.4 percent in 2016, leading to an increase in per capita income to $1,466 and life expectancy to 71 years. These increases are in response to the high expectations and goals Hasina has placed on Bangladesh, aiming to make her country a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed and prosperous nation by 2041.

Along with these long-term goals and expectations, Hasina has urged the global community to stand up against terrorism and militancy, as it is threatening many developing countries from achieving prosperity. Hasina claims that she has had to escape numerous attempts on her own life, proving the constant difficulties in her fight of reaching democracy and fulfilling her dangerous agenda of eradicating terrorism throughout these developing countries.

With firm ambitions for her country, Hasina has fought for her country to attain prosperity, primarily by combating the threats of global poverty and terrorism. Through her persuasive dialogue and determination for success, she seeks for other global leaders to join the fight in alleviating the hardships felt around the world.

Brandon Johnson

Photo: Flickr