Geographic and Governmental Profile of Bangladesh

Background
Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed, emergency caretaker regime suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. In contrast to the strikes and violent street rallies that had marked Bangladeshi politics in previous years, the parliamentary elections finally held in late December 2008 were mostly peaceful and Sheikh HASINA Wajed was elected prime minister. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
Location
Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Geographic coordinates
24 00 N, 90 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
143,998 sq km
rank:
95
land:
130,168 sq km
water:
13,830 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Iowa
Land boundaries
total:
4,246 km
border countries:
Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km
Coastline
580 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
18 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
up to the outer limits of the continental margin
Climate
tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
Terrain
mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Keokradong 1,230 m
Natural resources
natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Land use
arable land:
55.39%
permanent crops:
3.08%
other:
41.53% (2005)
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Irrigated land
50,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
1,210.6 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
79.4 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita:
560 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
droughts; cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Environment - current issues
many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
Country name
conventional long form:
People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form:
Bangladesh
local long form:
Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
local short form:
Bangladesh
former:
East Bengal, East Pakistan
Government type
parliamentary democracy
Capital
name:
Dhaka
geographic coordinates:
23 43 N, 90 24 E
time difference:
UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
7 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet
Independence
16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
National holiday
Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
Constitution
enacted 4 November 1972; effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982; restored 10 November 1986; amended many times
Legal system
mixed legal system of mostly English common law and Islamic law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Zillur RAHMAN (since 12 February 2009)
head of government:
Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA Wajed (since 6 January 2009)
cabinet:
Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 11 February 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results:
Zillur RAHMAN declared president-elect by the Election Commission on 11 February 2009 (sworn in on 12 February); he ran unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA
Legislative branch
unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats (45 reserved for women) elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms
elections:
last held on 29 December 2008; note - general elections must be held within 90 days of the expiration of the Parliament or by 29 March 2014 or earlier if Parliament is dissolved before its term expires
election results:
percent of vote by party - AL 49%, BNP 33.2%, JP 7%, JIB 4.6%, other 6.2%; seats by party - AL 230, BNP 30, JP 27, JIB 2, other 11
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders
Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB [Manjurul A. KHAN]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]; Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh or BDB [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [multiple leaders]; Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh or JIB [Matiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Oli AHMED]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
other:
environmentalists; Islamist groups; religious leaders; teachers; union leaders
International organization participation
ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CICA (observer), CP, D-8, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Akramul QADER
chancery:
3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 244-0183
FAX:
[1] (202) 244-7830/2771
consulate(s) general:
Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Dan W. MOZENA
embassy:
Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
mailing address:
G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
telephone:
[880] (2) 885-5500
FAX:
[880] (2) 882-3744
Flag description
green field with a large red disk shifted slightly to the hoist side of center; the red disk represents the rising sun and the sacrifice to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush vegetation of Bangladesh
National symbol(s)
Bengal tiger
National anthem
name:
"Amar Shonar Bangla" (My Golden Bengal)
lyrics/music:
Rabindranath TAGORE
adopted 1971; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote India's national anthem
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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