English language What the papers say

Green energy to soar with new Bangladesh solar power plants

Bangladesh corporate giant is constructing first solar power plant to supply the electricity grid as green energy soars to a new scale

Employment and earnings are recovering and reversing the economic set backs under the pandemic.

Millions of children remain at risk of early marriages due to social and economic conditions caused by the pandemic.

Bangladesh launches its home-grown ease of doing business index and sees Chattogram as the best division for business.

United Nations and Government of Bangladesh finally in broad agreement on relocation of Rohingya people to low lying island in Bay of Bengal.

A weekly round up of articles about work, employment, social security, business and the economy. Here is the news for the week ending:

October 14th, 2021

This week’s round up comes from:

The Daily Star and The Business Standard

This week in Bangladesh…

green energy from solar power
Green energy reaches industrial scale in Bangladesh with new 230-megawatt solar energy plants (original image by Tanjir Ahmed Chowdhury/Unsplash)

Giant Bangladesh conglomerate – Beximco is constructing the country’s first utility scale solar power plants.

The green energy plants will produce 230 megawatts to the national grid.

Beximco recently announced the project construction cost at $200,000,000.

Commissioning will begin in mid-2022.

News in Bangladesh for the week ending October 14th, 2021

Education, Work, and Social Security

Signs of economic recovery amid pandemic

Employment and earnings have gradually recovered. This has halted and reversed the growing poverty rate seen under the pandemic.

During the pandemic poverty surged from 11.9% to 12.9%. Poverty will continue to drop to 11.2% by 2023.

It seems the situation of last year is no more. Now, the pre-Covid situation has almost returned. That is why this year’s GDP will be higher than last year’s. In that case, I assume that the horror of Covid will not come back.

Zahid Hussain, a former lead economist at the World Bank

The recovery will accelerate if more vaccine doses are available.

The World Bank explains this recovery in detail in its latest update for South Asia: “Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development.”

Pandemic potential factor in child marriage uptick

About 2.5 million child marriages took place across the world during the pandemic.

Despite significant progress in recent years, Bangladesh has the fourth highest prevalence of child marriage in the world. Covid-19 compounds the difficulties facing millions of girls. School closures, isolation from friends and support networks, and rising poverty place girls at heightened risk of child marriage

Tomoo Hozumi, Unicef representative in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, at least 11,000 school children were married off by their families between March 17, 2020, and September 12 this year.

The Bangladesh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 stipulates that girls must be aged at least 18 to be eligible for marriage and boys 21

I used to enjoy school. I was a good student and liked studying. But I got married, and since I am young, I couldn’t fight my parents and get out of it. I’m still getting used to being married. I just try to do everything I am told to do so that I don’t get into trouble.

Anonymous child bride

In March this year Unicef published, “COVID-19: A Threat to Progress against Child Marriage.” The study warned that school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy, and parental deaths due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage.

Business, Economy and Trade

Not easy to do business in Bangladesh

Chattogram (formerly called Chittagong) is a bottleneck for business due to long delays in releasing imported goods from the port.

Foreign and local entrepreneurs have frequently complained that Bangladesh is not an easy place to do business.

The Ease of Doing Business Index published by The World Bank puts Bangladesh near the bottom of the table at 168th out of 190 countries on that index.

Very often, the Chattogram port faces severe congestion for the delay in releasing … goods, eventually raising the cost of doing business for the users.

Bangladesh Business Climate Index

Policy Exchange Bangladesh and the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry have started the first dedicated index to measure business climate in Bangladesh. The index is based on a survey of businesspeople conducted over the last year.

The survey looked at 10 factors critical to business operations. Chattogram actually came out on top beating out the other six divisions of Bangladesh including Dhaka!

Climate, Energy and Environment

Green energy escalates

Solar power plant under construction

Beximco will build 230-megawatt solar utility-scale power plants at Gaibandha.

The construction will cost of 17 billion Taka ($200,000,000) and will be ready to start supplying electricity to the grid by mid-2022

This will make Beximco the undisputed leader in utility-scale solar power production in Bangladesh


Earlier we reported on a €50 million loan from France to support Bangladesh’s green energy policy.

Beximco are investing nearly four times that amount in the solar plant. In some way this demonstrates that the Bangladesh economy is outgrowing development loans.

Financial Inclusion and Services for the Poor

United Nations finally on board with Bhasan Char

An agreement was signed between the Bangladesh representative of United Nation High Commission for Refugees in and the Bangladesh Minister for Disaster Relief.

This agreement will allow UN agencies to provide more support to the Rohingya people currently settled on the island in the Bay of Bengal.

[the agreement] covers key areas including protection, education, skills-training, livelihoods and health [of the Rohingyas], which will help support the refugees to lead a decent life and prepare better for their sustainable return to Myanmar in future

United Nation High Commission for Refugees

Banlgadesh move 18,000 Rohingya people from camps in Cox’s Bazaar to Bhasan Char.

It plans to move another 81,000 people to the island.

Farmers and Agriculture

From nicotine to vitamin C

A pioneering farmer in northern Bangladesh started growing blood oranges or specially BARI Malta-1. Malta is a local word for this variety of orange.

The farmer started with just 241 saplings spread over little more than half an acre and collected his first crop in the next year.

In this farmer’s village tobacco is the most favoured crop. Now other farmers are turning to oranges. The citrus fruit is not only profitable but also a source of vitamin C – a key ingredient of human health.

Covid Update

Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh praises the country’s approach to managing Covid-19. Japan sent 3 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine to Bangladesh in July and August this year.

UNFPA Country Representative, Dr Asa Torkelsson, says Bangladesh has performed better than Sweden and India in combating Covid-19. Dr Torkelsson