Bangladesh is one of the most populated countries in the world. Located in Africa, Bangladesh is a country that for years was only known by it´s high poverty rates and the terrible conditions in which its population lived. However, Bangladesh has managed to create social development policies that have been recognized by the United Nations and have lead to tremendous improvements in Human Development.
Considering the fact that Bangladesh´s democracy was recently restored (in 1991), the country has managed to overcome some of the most urgent needs of it´s people, but it still faces some important challenges concerning environmental, economical and social issues.
Bangladesh´s efforts to strengthen their economy have lead to amazing improvements, such as lowering their dependence on credits from 85% in 1998 to 2% in 2010 and according to the World Bank; the country has managed to achieve a 5% annual growth since 1990. However, Bangladesh is still a poor country in which people face hard realities of hunger and illness. Health and Education levels remain low but they have also improved greatly within the last ten years, and literacy has reached a 56% rate.
Most of the people of Bangladesh live in rural areas and are dedicated to farming, but there is an increasing growth of the textile industry which is attracting people to big cities in which they are becoming factory workers as hourly rates for workforce remain considerably low.
Bangladesh is mainly an Islam practicing country, and 89% of it´s population describes itself as Islamic. Second major religion is Hinduism. As of 2010, secularism has strengthened in Bangladesh, and it´s country is still working on eradicating brutal religious practices and punishments that are carried against people (mainly women) by village courts. Bangladesh government is making a real effort in maintaining secular principles issued in it´s 1972 Constitution.
Bangladesh is a country in which old and new merge, and in which people keep interesting and important traditions alive. Traditional language is Bengali and there is a wide variety of literature still being produced in this language. People of Bangladesh still maintain popular clothing (saris are the most worn garment by Bangladeshi women), religious and popular celebrations and typical Bangladeshi music.
This is a country in which social efforts have translated into people´s wellbeing, and initiatives like the Grameen Bank (which earned it´s founder Muhammad Yunnus the Nobel Peace prize) and that has managed to help poor rural women in overcoming their situation. This model bank working through micro loans and credits has been spread all over the world and has proven to be a solution to extreme poverty through confidence and group solidarity.
As you can see, Bangladesh is a country with a complex reality, but it´s efforts to improve have attracted the attention of international agencies such as the UN and the World Bank. It is an example of a country that manages to overcome difficult social and political situations to improve the quality of life of it´s people, which makes it an example for other developing economies.