Bangladesh’s growth is expected to stay at around 7% over coming years–driven by robust demand for Bangladesh’s exports. Clothing exports make up almost 13% of Bangladesh’s GDP and 81% of all exports. Even in the face of increasing industry diversification, the garment sector continues to grow. However, the sector faces significant operational risks. Indeed, the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 highlighted the need for better safety standards. The international community has lobbied for better health and safety regulations. But factory owners are unlikely to implement substantial changes as this raises operational costs and increases the risk of importers switching to lower-cost operations based out of Africa and Vietnam.
Bangladeshi per capita GDP passed US$1700 in 2018—less than one-third of the regional average of US$5600. But average incomes are forecast to exceed US$2500 by 2023 as poverty rates decline. In 1991, more than 40% of the population lived in extreme poverty, compared to 8.9% in 2018. This is expected to fall to less than 1% by 2025.