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Bangladesh as a Partner Country

During the last two decades, Bangladesh has witnessed an impressive growth and development. The economy has grown at nearly 6 per cent per year, which as a result has made poverty drop by nearly a third coupled with increased life expectancy, literacy, and per capita food intake. In addition, more than 15 million Bangladeshis have moved out of poverty since 1992.

Bangladesh is home to more than 150 million citizens, placing Bangladesh as the seventh most populous country in the world with an extremely high population density. Sustained growth in recent years has generated higher demand for electricity, transport, and telecommunication services, and contributed to widening infrastructure deficits. While the population growth rate has declined, the labour force is growing rapidly.


Bangladesh aspires to be a middle-income country by 2021. This will require increasing GDP growth to 7.5 to 8 per cent per year based on accelerated export and remittance growth. Both public and private investment will need to increase as well. Growth will also need to be more inclusive through creation of productive employment opportunities in the domestic economy. To sustain accelerated and inclusive growth, Bangladesh will need to manage the urbanization process more effectively, as well as prepare for adaptation to climate change impacts.

Becoming a middle-income country will require substantial efforts on many fronts . These include maintaining macroeconomic stability; strengthening revenue mobilization; tackling energy and infrastructure deficits; deepening financial-sector and external trade reforms; improving labour skills, economic governance, and urban management; and adapting to climate change. Bangladesh can become an export powerhouse, with its labour-intensive manufactured and service exports growing at double digits on a sustained basis, if it speeds up government decision-making.

While the poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas has been remarkable, the absolute number of people living below the poverty line remains significant. So despite the strong track record, around 47 million people still remain below the poverty line. Therefore, Bangladesh will also continue to be a program country for Danish development assistance, as it is believed that Bangladesh continuously needs external assistance to address the development challenges including poverty reduction, good governance and human rights. Denmark has actively supported Bangladesh since the country gained independence in 1971, with the overriding principle being poverty reduction. The last couple of years the Bangladeshi government has been very committed to addressing obstacles to growth and poverty reduction and has a strong focus on poverty reduction in domestic policies.

This country strategy for Bangladesh sets out the principles for Denmark’s development cooperation with Bangladesh over a 5-year period, and at the same time constitutes the strategic framework for the long-term partnership with Bangladesh. The country strategy draws on the experience from the long-standing Danish-Bangladeshi development cooperation, and is the result of a consultative process, based on Bangladesh’s development priorities and Denmark’s development cooperation policies.

Danida supports activities within the areas of Water and Sanitation, Crops production, Fisheries and livestock, Rural Roads, Human Rights and Good Governance, and Minor projects as Culture and Development. As a direct result of Danish aid, millions of people have been given access to clean drinking water and better sanitation facilities. Furthermore Danish assistance has to a great extent contributed to the improvement of the livelihood for thousands of small-scale farmers and created new income generating activities for marginalized groups, especially women. The geographic area of intervention is predominantly in greater Noakhali and greater Barisal.

Promotion of human rights, democratization and good governance is a central element of Danish development assistance. The Danish support has facilitated to strengthen the government and active civil society’s ability to target and deliver services and promote advocacy regarding human rights and good governance.

The commercial relations between Bangladesh and Denmark are also growing progressively, and the number of Danish companies realizing the business opportunities in Bangladesh is increasing every year. So far, around 70 Danish companies have been established in Bangladesh under the Business2Business Program.  

For 2011 The Embassy of Denmark has a disbursement target of 190 Mio DKK.

Human Rights and Good Governance 26 Mio DKK

Water and Sanitation 66 Mio DKK

Agriculture and fisheries 77, 5 Mio DKK

Others (local support to NGO etc.) 10,5 Mio DKK


Bangladesh Country Programme 2016-2021


Mads Mayerhofer

Development Counsellor