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 14% of the Bangladesh’s GDP and 80% of all exports. Estimates suggest the garment sector grew by over 10% in 2016-17. But the garment sector also faces significant operational risks. The Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 highlighted the need for better safety standards. Yet whilst the international community has lobbied for better health and safety regulations, factory owners are unlikely to implement substantial change as this raises operational costs.
Bangladeshi per capita GDP passed US$1500 in 2017, but still three times lower than the regional average of US$5600. But average incomes are expected to increase to pass US $2000 by 2022 as poverty rates decline. In 1991, more than 40% of the population lived in extreme poverty, compared to 13.5% in 2017.