Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the poorest of them all? When Bangladesh emerged as an independent country in 1971, it was arguably the poorest country in the world—or close to it. Today, the country is still poor but growing rapidly. Real economic growth exceeded 8 percent in 2019, and although the coronavirus crisis has slowed the pace, growth is expected to continue at a more modest pace of around 4 percent in both 2020 and 2021. Bangladesh’s estimated 2020 GDP per capita of $1,888 now places the country far above many of the desperately poor countries of tropical Africa with which it used to be compared. And it puts Bangladesh exactly one spot above neighboring India in the latest economic league tables from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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