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Bangladesh: Country Profile

Bangladesh is a big delta formed by the two big river systems, Ganges-Padma and Brahmaputra-Jamuna. It is situated on the Tropic of Cancer and 90 degree east longitude with an area of 147 thousand square kilometres and inhabited by 143.4 million people. By the year 2025 the population of Bangladesh is projected to increase to 178.8 million. Bangladesh is the 9th most populous country and perhaps the world's most densely populated area (density 897/sq km). The population is mostly rural; urban population amounts to only 18%. About 8 million people live in the capital city Dhaka, although most of them live below the absolute poverty line. Bangladesh gained independence after a war with Pakistan in 1971. It is a secular country with different religious groups such as Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists; although 85% of the populationare Muslims and 98% are ethnically Bengali.

The economy of Bangladesh mainly depends on primary activities. Major agriculture products are rice, jute, sugar cane, tobacco and tea. Agricultural productivity heavily depends on the monsoon climate. About 18% of the GNP come from industrial/secondary sectors and about 50% from service/tertiary sectors. Major industries are jute, textile, cement, ceramic and garments manufacturing. Presently the garment industry is the major source of foreign currency earning and has created huge opportunities for the employment of women. It increased the female labour force to a level now standing at 25 million (while male labour force is at 35 million (1995).

Bangladesh has huge reserves of natural gases and some coal, mud stone and petroleum. Gases are mainly used for generating electricity, producing fertilisers, industrial use and household purposes.

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