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Services Policy Review: Bangladesh (I)
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This publication, in two volumes, presents the result of an Services Policy Review undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh and UNCTAD.

Volume I contains the UNCTAD desk study – an overview of the economy and its services sectors, particularly those considered to be priority

Volume II contains strategies for advancing development of key priority services sectors in Bangladesh


Bangladesh is best known as a textile export powerhouse. This powerhouse is built on a foundation of a wide array of key services, including transport, energy, and information and communications technology (ICT).

In fact, the manufacturing sector uses as inputs 26 per cent of Bangladesh’s total supply of services domestically. Industry absorbs 72 per cent of the country’s land transport services, 69 and 66 per cent, respectively, of its wholesale and retail trade services, 59 per cent of rail transport, 27 per cent of professional services and 20 per cent of communication services. This could squeeze the available supply of quality services elsewhere in the economy.

In terms of services most used by industry as a percentage of total services costs, land transport and retail trade services each account for 33 per cent and wholesale trade 19 per cent. Therefore, 85 per cent of industry expenditures on services are spent on these three sectors.

Efficiency improvements in these key areas could translate into enhanced competitiveness of industry and also enhanced access to key services for Bangladesh’s 160 million-strong and growing population.

The Government of Bangladesh wishes to reduce risks inherent in exports being too dominated by one sector and to diversify its exports and economy. With this in mind, the Government approached the UNCTAD secretariat to assess the country’s services sector with a particular focus on the following five subsectors:

  1. ICT and ICT-related services
  2. Tourism
  3. Accounting and auditing
  4. Architecture and engineering
  5. Nurses and midwives

A services policy review (SPR) is a snapshot and deep analysis of a country’s services sector and policies at a given moment in time.

National experts, the Government and UNCTAD join forces to review strengths and weaknesses of the national services sector and the focus subsectors, consult widely with national public and private sector actors and stakeholders, and make clear evidence-based recommendations for policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks to improve the supply capacity and export of services. These provide a sound foundation for a well-informed reform process.

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Services Policy Review: Bangladesh (I) (UNCTAD/DITC/TNCD/2015/2)

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