Bangladesh Industry

The manufacturing industry in Bangladesh has grown rapidly since the 1990s, albeit from a low level. It is mainly export-oriented clothing production that accounts for the upswing. Around four million Bangladeshi people work in the textile industry today, the vast majority of whom are women.

A certain slowdown in the textile industry was noticed in the mid-2010s, mainly due to falling demand from both the home market and the outside world. A series of factory accidents, not least the tragedy when the Rana Plaza factory complex outside Dhaka collapsed in 2013 with over 1,100 casualties, has made the world aware of the back story of the Bangladeshi textile industry’s success story: lack of staff safety and neglected building regulations.

Despite this, the clothing industry still accounts for around 80 percent of the country’s export revenue.

Manufacturing takes place both in a formal sector with large companies and in an informal part of the economy with many small companies in the home environment. The large companies account for most of the production, but the small-scale production employs more.


The industrial operations are concentrated in the country’s largest cities, Dhaka and Chittagong.

Jute was the largest industrial product after independence in the 1970s, but the textile industry now accounts for the vast majority of export revenue. Clothing production grew in the 1980s. Then foreign companies began to import cloth and use the country’s cheap labor to sew up cheap garments for export to western countries.

Another labor-intensive industry that has grown in importance is metal recycling from scrapped vessels. Production covers two-thirds of the domestic demand for steel. Bangladesh is a world leader in ship scraping, which is largely due to a lack of protection rules. The accidents are countless and the environmental and health problems are very large, partly due to the presence of asbestos and lead. The authorities have tried to tighten the environmental regulations but the industry is protesting.

A shipbuilding industry is also growing; In 2008, a Danish shipping company became the first foreign buyer of ocean-going vessels built in Bangladesh. Small-scale manufacturing of electronics is also increasing, as foreign investors are attracted by the low wages in Bangladesh.

The large supply of natural gas has enabled a chemical industry that mainly manufactures fertilizers. There is also the manufacture of food, pharmaceuticals, plastics, ceramics and chemicals.

Government companies still dominate the industry. They are often ineffective and since the beginning of the 1990s, sales have been ongoing, raised by international aid and lenders. However, domestic resistance is great and privatization is slow.



Bangladesh sends title list to Myanmar

December 29

Bangladesh sends a list to Myanmar (formerly Burma) with the names of around 100,000 Rohingya, which the authorities propose to return to the homeland from the camps around Cox’s Bazar. The group will constitute the first stage of the repatriation of just over 600,000 Rohingyos in accordance with a November 2017 agreement. The agreement states that the first refugees will return to Myanmar at the end of January, but assessors warn that the security of the refugees is poor in Myanmar.

Refugees may meet the Pope

December 2

Pope Francis visits Bangladesh. The visit is dominated by the refugee crisis and the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya who have been forced to leave neighboring Myanmar (formerly Burma) because of persecution. On a visit to Myanmar the days before, the Pope avoids saying the word Rohingy, which in Myanmar is a sensitive term for the ethnic group. Once in Bangladesh, the Pope is more outspoken and uses the term Rohingy, and visits a group of refugees.


Ready for refugee camp on isolated island

November 28

An economic council, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is giving the go-ahead to the government to build a refugee camp on the remote island of Bhashan Char out in Bengal which. The camp will house about 100,000 Muslim Rohingy who have fled Myanmar (formerly Burma) during the fall. The project is estimated to cost $ 280 million. The island is an hour’s boat ride from the nearest inhabited island and is so low-lying that it risks getting submerged during cyclones, monsoon rains and floods that are common.

Refugee agreement with Myanmar

November 23

Bangladesh enters into an agreement with Myanmar (formerly Burma) to cooperate to return the approximately 600,000 refugees who have traveled from Rakhine in Myanmar to the area around Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. The repatriation will start at the end of January 2018. Bangladesh describes the agreement as a “first step”.

Tens of thousands of lonely children in the camps

November 1st

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, describes the situation in the camps around Cox’s Bazar as the largest refugee crisis in the world in decades. In the camps there are now more than 40,000 lonely children.


The number of refugees is rising

October 19

The number of newly arrived refugees in the camps around Cox’s Bazar is estimated by the UN to have risen to around 600,000. Most of them are Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar (formerly Burma). A combination of military violence and contradictions between Buddhists and Rohingy in the state of Rakhine in western Myanmar is the cause of the mass escape.

The UN increases refugee aid

October 4th

The UN provides $ 12 million in emergency aid to the hundreds of thousands of refugees gathered in camps outside Cox’s Bazar. The money should go to medical aid and food. The UN says Bangladesh has “given a generous welcome” to the refugees, but stresses that the solution to the problem is in Myanmar (formerly Burma), where the mostly Rohingya refugees come from.

The UN warns against misery and lack of food in the camps

October 2

The UN warns that about 14,000 children in the refugee camps around the city of Cox’s Bazar are at risk of dying from malnutrition unless emergency aid reaches the people in need more quickly. The humanitarian relief work in the camps is disorganized and insufficient. The majority of the refugees are women and children, and around 145,000 children under five years need help to avoid malnutrition. Healthcare professionals warn that severe infectious diseases can soon graze in the camps where hygiene conditions are poor.


Close to one million in the refugee camps

September 26th

According to the UN, 480,000 Muslim Rohingya have now moved from western Myanmar (formerly Burma) to Bangladesh since August 25. Together with the approximately 300,000 refugees who were already in the camps around Cox’s Bazar, there will be nearly 800,000 people. Bangladeshi authorities are appealing to the world for $ 250 million in emergency aid as the humanitarian situation for the refugees is acute. Diseases and starvation threaten.

Hasina proposes safety zones for Rohingya

September 21

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Hasina proposes to establish “UN-supervised security zones” for Rohingya in Myanmar (formerly Burma). She reiterates that her government is keen that Rohingya who sought refuge in Bangladesh should be able to return home safely and dignified. Hasina accuses Myanmar’s military of laying mines along the border in order to prevent refugees from returning. The UN has described the military operation in Rakhine in western Myanmar as ethnic cleansing and French President Macron has called it a genocide.

Hundreds of thousands flee Myanmar

September 14

Around 380,000 people belonging to the Muslim population Rohingy have moved from Myanmar (formerly Burma) to Bangladesh since the end of August of the same year. They are fleeing a military offensive against militant Rohingy in the state of Rakhine in western Myanmar. The refugees gather in large camps, mainly around the city of Cox’s Bazar, where the authorities try to provide relief to the refugees. The Rohingyians lack citizenship in Myanmar, despite the fact that most of them have lived there for generations. The Buddhist majority consider them as Bengal and believe that they belong to Bangladesh.


Ten are sentenced to death for attempted murder on Hasina

20th of August

Ten members of the banned militant Islamist group Harkatul-jihad al-Islami are sentenced to death by arching for participation in a murder trial of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2000. One person is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing of Hasina, and three others receive 14 years in prison. Nine people are sentenced to 20 years in prison each for supplying Harkatul-jihad al-Islami with explosives.

Islamists are convicted of bombing

August 8th

Fourteen members of the extremist Islamist group JMB are sentenced to 20 years in prison for explosive attacks committed in 2005. Four of them are sentenced in their absence. Several of JMB’s leaders have previously been sentenced to death and executed (see also October 2016).


Zia’s photographer is sentenced to life

May 10

A Bangladeshi court sentenced 27 people to life imprisonment for participating in the shooting death of a young Bangladeshi 1990 in the north of the country. Among the 27 are opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s photographer Nooruddin Ahmed, who is accused of being a member of the militant group Freedom Party.


Three Islamists are executed for bombing

April 12

Mufti Abdul Hannan, leader of the banned, extremist Islamist group Harkatul Jihad al Islami (huJI), and two of his closest men are executed by hanging. They were sentenced to death in 2008 for lying behind the 2004 grenade attack on a Sufic sanctuary. Three people were killed in the attack and the British High Commissioner at the UK’s Embassy in Bangladesh was injured.


Thousands of Rohingy are leaving the country

March 8th

Thousands of Rohingya refugees begin to migrate back to Myanmar (formerly Burma) after Bangladesh began construction of a refugee camp on an isolated island in the Bay of Bengal. The Rohingos risk persecution and harassment in their homeland. According to local leaders, the island is sometimes flooded completely during the monsoon period. Nearly 73,000 Rohingyans have moved from Myanmar to Bangladesh since a military offensive was launched in the Myanmar state of Rakhine in October 2016. A total of around 400,000 Rohingyans live without citizenship in Bangladesh. Most newcomers live in camps near the town of Cox’s Bazar.


Refugees should be moved to isolated island

January 31

The government announces plans to move Muslim Rohingy, who fled from a military offensive in Myanmar (formerly Burma), to an island far out in the Bay of Bengal. The plans were already carried out in 2015, but then faced sharp criticism from human rights groups.

Twenty-six are sentenced to death for mass murder

January 16

A Bangladeshi court sentenced 26 people, including three high ranking Rapid Action Battalion commanders, to death by hanging for kidnapping and then killing seven people outside a cricket stadium. The bodies of the murdered were found in a river in April 2014.

Bangladesh Industry

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