Md. Joynal Abdin
The Financial Express on December 3, 2011
There are about 257 countries around the world. Among these, 192 are the members of the United Nations (UN). It is considered to be an honour to belong to the Top 10 list in terms of business and economic, demographic, geographic, defence power, agriculture, environment and other aspects.
Countries will be identified according to thirty different important indicators including top ten richest countries, powerful countries, poorest countries, fastest growing economies, countries most in debt, with highest quality of living, with largest Muslim population, most populated countries, most densely populated countries, countries with largest Hindu population, largest oceans and seas, largest in area, largest deserts, countries with longest coastline, with largest armies, navies, nuclear warheads and with largest defence budget; agricultural exporters, mango, date, grape, producing countries; oil reserves countries; countries with highest deforestation, fresh water supply, environmental treaties, and top ten internet using countries etc.
Business and economic aspects: Top ten richest countries in the world are based on per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each country. In the ranking of the world’s Top 10 richest countries, Luxembourg topped the list followed by Qatar, Bermuda, Norway, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, USA, Ireland and Equatorial Guinea.
On the other hand the top ten powerful countries in the world are USA, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, Japan, India, Germany, Pakistan and Brazil, according to order. The Top 10 poorest countries in the world are based on per capita GDP which is lower than 765 dollars. Democratic Republic of Congo holds the poorest position followed by Zimbabwe, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Comoros, Solomon Islands, Niger, Ethiopia and Central African Republic.
The fastest growing economies in the world have a list of world’s top ten countries sorted on the basis of their GDP (real) growth rate. GDP (real) is calculated on the basis of the value of final products and goods purchased in a given year by a nation. Inflation is taken into consideration and PPP ie purchasing power parity is not taken into consideration while calculating GDP (real).
All the countries listed in this top ten list have the growth rate of more than 9%. Azerbaijan is the world’s fastest growing economy.
Second and third positions are taken by Angola and Qatar in the chart. Anguilla and Republic of the Congo share the 5th position. Similarly Armenia and Liberia are ninth in this list. Tenth position belongs to Peru. World’s Top ten countries most in debt are the countries that have taken largest amount of external debt. The list is headed by Brazil followed by Russia, Mexico, China, Argentina, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, India and Thailand.
In the business and economic portion we miss Bangladesh’s representation in both positive and negative indicators. In the list of fastest growing economies and top ten richest countries we are getting few names whose economies were in parallel with ours even in the ’80s. For instance Singapore is currently representing the group of top ten richest countries list. Its population is less than ours, yet the country is in a much more advantageous position than Bangladesh. Other than that, Bangladesh had every quality to be compared to Singapore even in early ’80s.
Successful political leadership and timely decision making has taken Singapore to a whole new height compared to Bangladesh. If we had the same types of political and economic leadership in time, then one may only wonder what could have achieved.
Demographic aspects: According to the human development report of UNDP published in November 2010 top ten countries with highest quality of life are Norway, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, USA and South Korea. Top ten countries with largest Muslim population are Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco. Largest Hindu populated countries are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia, USA, South Africa and Myanmar. Most populated ten countries are China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria and Japan.
Top most densely populated countries are Monaco, Singapore, Malta, Maldives, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mauritius, Barbados and Nauru. Largest countries of the world are Russia, Canada, United States of America, China, Brazil, Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Sudan. Top ten countries with longest coastline are Canada, Indonesia, Russia, Philippines, Japan, Australia, Norway, USA, New Zealand and China.
Among these seven demographic indicators Bangladesh is present in the top ten lists of four indicators. These four indicators state that Bangladesh is one of the top ten countries of the world with largest Muslim and largest Hindu populations, most populated and most densely populated countries. It indicates that we have population more than 247 countries of the world. Population means mouths to feed but it can also mean hands to earn and develop.
Today we are burdened with over population and struggle to feed the people two square meals a day. But this problem could be transformed into a boon if we could train them and employ them at home and abroad. Many countries are not competitive due to higher wages rate in the labour intensive industrial sectors. We can attract foreign investment so that they may set up labour intensive industries in Bangladesh and employ our workforce.
Similarly, western countries are facing challenges with shortage of caregivers and nurses. We can try to capture these skilled markets instead of merely exporting unskilled labour. If we can transform the unskilled workforce into semi-skilled ones, then we may earn three times larger amount of foreign currency through proper manpower planning at different levels.
Bangladesh does not belong in the Top 10 lists in the indicators: agriculture, oil reserves, deforestation and fresh water availability, and access to internet. Each of these indicators has significance in development and quality of living. Bangladesh deserves its position in some of these indicators, but for that to happen we really need to work hard towards achieving goals.