Top 10 Nations for online workers

They work for everyone and no one. Their job horizon is day-to-day or contract-to-contract. They can be working for someone around the corner or across the globe.

In the 20th century, we called them freelance or contract workers and thought them odd. Now, they’re becoming mainstream ? not just in the United States, but around the world.

In fact, the US is not the leader in freelance online jobs. India is, followed by the Philippines, and then the US, according to a new report by oDesk Corp.
The numbers from oDesk represent just a small slice of the market for online freelancers. But as a leading marketplace for companies and online workers to meet up, across the globe, it has perhaps as good a handle as anybody on how the field is growing.

The Menlo Park, Calif., company has seen its own business double each year since 2004. It hosts some 100,000 employers who post jobs they want done and just under 500,000 freelancers around the world who bid on the work.

The jobs themselves range from data entry to computer programming to translating. In February, oDesk freelancers worked 630,600 hours and earned $7.1 million.

And the places they come from are not always what you might expect.

Say “outsourcing” and many businesspeople think Bangalore, India. Actually, Bangalore is No. 5 on oDesk’s list of top cities for online work. The top four cities with more freelance work are: Chandigarh, India; Mohali, India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Quezon City, Philippines.

Bangladesh? Yes, it’s a fast-growing center for data entry. The Philippines? It’s colleges turn out nearly 500,000 English-speaking graduates a year. Data entry accounted for half the oDesk jobs going to the Philippines in February, with average pay for data entry averaging around $3 an hour.

Other surprises among oDesk’s report: Ukraine and Pakistan generated more online work than Canada or China. And the fastest-growing major economy for freelance work?

The United States. “We’re seeing a huge number of Americans come online,” says Brian Goler, vice president of marketing for oDesk. “More and more people are working this way.”

The Toronto stock market tumbled into the red

The Toronto stock market tumbled into the red near midday as signs of strong Canadian economic growth to start the year ran up against a negative private-sector employment report from the United States.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 27.04 points to 12,017.17.

Statistics Canada reported real GDP advanced 0.6 per cent in January, its fifth straight monthly increase. That was slightly ahead of the bullish estimate of a 0.5 per cent increase from December, or six per cent annualized, that economists had expected.

?The Canadian economy really continues to benefit from a stronger consumer, government spending and strong construction sector,? said Jeffrey Bradacs, senior investment analyst at MFC.

?GDP growth for the first quarter continues to outpace the bank of Canada?s forecast, and that increases the likelihood of a rate increase in June.?

The Canadian dollar, which has been hovering just below parity with the American currency, was ahead 0.25 of a cent to 98.34 cents US early Wednesday.

A separate report from Statistics Canada showed that total hours worked by payroll employees increased by 0.3 per cent in January while non-farm payroll employment was virtually unchanged.

TSX metals stocks led gains, up 0.6 per cent, on a flurry of activity in the sector. Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) has arranged a $500-million equity financing through Ellington Investments Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of a Singapore-based investment company with holdings in Asia and Latin America. Shares rose $3.06 to $58.56.

Meanwhile, Wallbridge Mining Company Ltd. (TSX:WM) says it will spin off all its copper, gold and molybdenum properties in British Columbia to a new independent company called Miocene Metals Ltd. Its shares were up 2.5 cents to 28 cents.

The gold sector was also ahead, 0.6 per cent higher, as the May gold contract increased $9.40 to $1,113.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Energy stocks lifted 0.3 per cent with the May crude contract on the NYSE ahead 29 cents to US$82.66 a barrel.

The information technology sector backed off 0.8 per cent ahead of earnings from BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) scheduled after the closing bell. It shares were down 40 cents to $75.86.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 36 points to 10,871. The Nasdaq composite index weakened two points to 2,408 while the S&P 500 index edged down three points to 1,170.

In the U.S., payroll company ADP says employers slashed 23,000 jobs in March, compared to economists predictions which had forecast companies would add 40,000 jobs during the month.

In corporate news, Mega Brands Inc. (TSX:MB) says an uptick in fourth-quarter sales allowed it to drastically trim losses to US$22.1 million or 60 cents per share in the period, narrowing losses sharply from year-earlier levels of $323.3 million or $8.83 per share. Shares lifted 1.5 cents to 48.5 cents.

A subsidiary of CVTech Group Inc. (TSX:CVT) has received a two-year contract from Hydro-Quebec, worth $21 million, to install poles and anchors for electrical distribution lines throughout the province. Share rose three cents to $1.30.

Premium Brands Holdings Corporation (TSX:PBH) is acquiring an 80 per cent interest in Duso?s Enterprises Ltd., a Vancouver-based maker of fresh pastas and sauces, from its founders in a $5.6-million cash, stock and debt transaction. Shares slipped a penny to $14.52.

Clothing maker Gildan Activewear Inc. (TSX:GIL) has bought a T-shirt factory Shahriyar Fabric Industries Ltd. near Dhaka, Bangladesh for US$15 million, and its shares rose a penny to $26.96.
Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX:CNR) says it has sold a ?key section of track? in Toronto, west of Union Station, to Ontario government-owned Metrolinx for $168 million. Shares were down 99 cents to $61.14.

On Tuesday, Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. announced plans to raise $1.35 billion in its initial public offering of 75 million shares at a price of $18 per share. The company will begin trading as early as next week.

Bangladesh development in sports under Ansar & VDP


Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) held a series of ‘Meet the press’ sessions before the commencement and after the conclusion of XI SA Games recently in Dhaka. The purpose was two-fold, firstly to make public the final teams and lists of athletes of Bangladesh contingent competing in the 23 disciplines of the Games. Secondly, it allowed the concerned organisers to air their expectations about the expected performance, especially in terms of winning gold medals. The number of gold medals stood at 17. In fact Bangladesh bagged one gold medal more than the expectation. Naturally, the sportsmen and women, the officials of the teams, organisers, federation officials, sports enthusiasts, spectators, the general public and above all the government were satisfied with achievement at the games that saw extravagances during the opening and closing ceremonies.

Though the ceremonies were very attractive, enjoyable, ostentatious, a balanced combination of our tradition, culture and heritage with digital technology based aquatic show and lastly the eye catching fireworks.

It is highly commendable that the competitors of the Ansar and Village Defense Party (VDP) bagged II of the 18 gold medals, of which 7 in individual events and 4 in team events. In all they won 40 medals out of 94 owned by Bangladesh in the games. The performance of this organisation in respect with winning gold medals undoubtedly deserves high appreciation. Ms Shan-nin Akhter Ratna of Ansar who won gold in 10m air rifle in individual event in SA Games Dhaka is also one of the gold winning Bangladesh team in Commonwealth Shooting Championship in New Delhi in 2010.

Judging from the viewpoint of an ordinary sports fan it may be inferred that among others, the following factors have contributed to the development of games and sports in this organisation: 1. The initiative, guidance and effective directives of the officers heading the Department of Ansar and VDP from time to time. 2.Well coordinated and orderly implementation of sports programmes by the senior and mid level officers in the hierarchy of the department. 3. Coherent and methodical work of a dedicated team comprising officers, coaches, trainers and sincere supporting staff from among the rank and file of the organisation at the grass roots level. 4. Well disciplined hard work, concentration and perseverance of the athletes. 5. Men and women athletes drawn from the poorer section of rural population are disciplined and hardworking. 6. Last but not the least the effective execution of training programmes by the sports personnel of the department under the stewardship of the incumbent Director General.

Incidentally, it is amazing to note that among those relentlessly working for sports in this organisation, the presence of 2 men with the surname ‘Sheik’ is almost a common sight in training grounds and competition venues along with the athletes. One is the seemingly tough speaking and hard working sports officer Sheikh Md. Alam with grey and black hair and beard always wearing a white cap. The other is reticent, soft spoken and clean shaved Sheikh Azad Ali.

The excellence achieved by this organisation in games and sports has been possible by concerted efforts of hundreds of member soft the organisation and the assistance, cooperation and planning at the top.

Compared to other sports clubs, organisations with athletic tradition, the advent of sports culture in Ansar and VDP is a recent phenomenon. It was in 1982 when Major General (Retd.) Waziullah took over the administration as its head – Director General. He first conceived the idea of introducing competitive sports in this organisation. And S.M. Alam noted above was an Upazila Ansar and VDP officer at that time. He was assigned to give effect to the newly conceived idea. Accordingly, he hurriedly organised a three-member boxing team and with training barely worth the name competed in the 7th National Boxing Championship in that year. In this maiden venture in sports competition upazila Ansar and VDP officer Late Ataharuddin Mallick won bronze in light heavy weight and Md. Shah Alain won the same medal in fly weight bout. This was the beginning of sports culture and competition in this government run organisation recognized as a disciplined force in 1995. The team was trained by S.M. Alam. In the same year a 5-member boxing team participated in the 6th National Junior Boxing Champs winning 2 bronzes in 2 separate weight category. In 1983, a boxing team of the same strength contested in the 8th National Championship in which Sepoy Muslimuddin won bronze in feather weight and Naik Tomizuddin won silver medal in welter weight. Md. Fariduddin earned third position in rapid fire pistol among the shooting team of Ansar taking part in the 4th National Shooting Meet. In 1984, Ansar women teams took part in 2 national competitions viz., 2nd National Women handball and 10th National Judo Championship. Ansar team became champion in handball and Ms Jahanara Begum and Ms Parvin won silver and bronze respectively in their respective weight category. Ansar and VDP volleyball team came out champion in the same year in the inter division Volleyball Meet organised by the Mohila Krira Sangstha. The same year Ansar chess players competed in a championship and Md. Yunus Hasan became champion among the men.

The following year women hockey team was organised, which came out champion in the open women hockey meet organised by Mohila Krira Sangstha. In 1985 Ansar women handball team became national champion and was invited in Nepal where the team took part in some exhibition matches under the captaincy of Begum Rowshan Ara. Thus, the activities of the Ansar and VDP Sports Control Board began to spread throughout the length and breadth of the country and the athletes it groomed in increasing number of disciplines continued their march forward with consistency in success in the meets they participate. There is no denying the fact that the wonderful performance of the Ansar and VDP athletes in the recently concluded SA Games is the reflection of its advancement in the culture of games and sports.

This attached department under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs presently organizes and successfully competes in as many as 27 disciplines, most of which are included in the Games of Olympiad and the rests are also recognised by the IOC. These are archery, athletics, body building, boxing, basketball, cricket, cycling, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, handball, hockey, the national game-kabadi ( with beach kabadi), karate, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball (with beach volleyball), weight lifting, wrestling, and wushu. Ansar and VDP players participated first in the quadrennial 4th Bangladesh Games of 1988 organised by the national Olympic Committee following Olympics style. This first appearance in the games put them in third position. In the next three consecutive occasions they emerged champion and made a hat-trick, which is a record. This organisation was awarded the prestigious ‘Independence Award’ (‘Swadhinata Puruskar’) in 2004 for its contribution in the development of sports and other nation building activities.

Finally, the excellence of Ansar and VDP athletes in the SA Games, 2010 will no doubt strengthen them with renewed zeal and energy to contribute further to the advancement of games and sports in Bangladesh in a broader context. And the athletes of its sister organisations in the sports arena of the country will surely be inspired by the performance of Ansar and VDP and take a vow to play their part following the footsteps of their co-athletes in that organisation in the days to come.

Bangladesh Energy, power crisis stalls investment: Muhith

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday said that energy and power crisis is now holding up investment in the country. “There is a horrible crisis in energy and power sector. it’s also worst in the region and holding up investment right now,” he said while addressing the inaugural session of the 10th Annual SANEI Conference as chief guest at a city hotel.
The two-day conference was organised jointly by South Asia Network of Economic Research Institutes (SANEI) and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr. Mashiur Rahman was the special guest at the session, chaired by Prof. Nurul Islam, Emeritus Fellow IFPRI, USA. BIDS director general Mustafa Kamal Mujeri gave the welcome address.

Prof TN Srinivasan, Samuel C Park Jr., Professor of Economics, Yale University, USA, Mohsin S Khan, senior fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, USA, M Ali Khan, Abram Hutzler Professor of Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University, USA, and SR Osmani, Professor of Development Economics, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, UK, took part in panel discussion on the development challenges in South Asia.

Speaking on the occasion, Muhith said that gas remained totally unexploited for a long time and it has become a difficult challenge for the government to cope with the demand.

He said that the savings and investment rate are still the development challenges for Bangladesh. “National savings rate is not high, public savings rate is low and it’s now 3-4 percent.”

To meet these challenges, the Finance Minister said Bangladesh would have to increase its public expenditure to 20 percent in next three years, which is now 15-16 percent. “Bangladesh also needs to reach to an investment situation of 30 percent or more if we really want to live up by the dreams.”

Apart from increase in public expenditure, he also underscored the need for large-scale private investment, both domestic and foreign.

Mentioning Bangladesh as a victim of climate change, he said nobody comes forward for investment when the questions for mitigation and investment are raised. Besides, the existing infrastructures are not capable enough to tackle the situation.

In this regard, he stressed the need for migration saying that it is extremely important for global economic development.

On inflation especially on food, Muhith confidently said: “We’ll be able to handle it.”

On the issue of regional cooperation, he hoped that Bangladesh will be taking “pioneer steps in really energizing regional cooperation.”

The Finance Minister termed education and information technology (IT) as the most powerful tools against corruption.

Speaking as special guest, PM’s adviser Dr. Mashiur Rahman said the region needs rapid growth to address poverty.

Differing with the position of Mohsin S Khan on the Planning Commission, he said that planning has an important role to play even now as it still serves a useful purpose.

Giving emphasis on investment and resource mobilization, Prof SR Osmani said: “Unless you raise your investment to promote growth you are not anywhere.”

Terming energy crisis and inflation as the major economic crisis for Pakistan, Mohsin S Khan suggested that the time has come to abolish the Planning Commission in order to meet the development challenges.

But, opposing with his opinion, Finance Minister Muhith said that he would have gone for redefining the functions of the planning commission not for abolishing it.

The two-day conference will have separate sessions on international migration, migration: domestic and international, domestic migration and trade in health services, trade in health services and health care, employment and poverty reduction in South Asia, addressing the challenges of regional economic cooperation, cost effectiveness of health care, international migration and climate change, public expenditure accountability in education, health and water.

Some 100 participants from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are taking part in the conference.

Bangladesh to Creating good jobs

Sources :Sadiq Ahmed
BANGLADESH can celebrate quite a few achievements since independence. These include growing per capita income, lower rate of poverty, and better human development indicators. Nevertheless, moving forward with the development agenda is daunting. Some 59 million people (40 percent of the total population) are officially classified as poor. Per capita income has now grown to about $700 (estimated for 2010), which is still substantially lower than the South Asian average and 55 percent lower than that in India. These concerns are well known to the policy makers. What has received far less attention is the challenge of creating good jobs.

It is unfortunate that good data on labour market and job creation are scarce. Limited data available from the Labour Force Surveys (LFS) and the census data and reports compiled by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics are inadequate, and often inconsistent and non-comparable over time. I have compiled a reasonably consistent time series (at least in the comparability of definitions) of a few key labour market variables. The employment picture looks rather dismal.

The first striking finding is that only 22 percent of the employed labour force is engaged in the formal sector. Some 11 percent of employed labour is in manufacturing and another 11 percent is in organised services. The remainder are still engaged in informal activities. A second striking result is that the responsiveness of employment to growth in manufacturing is rather low (measured by employment elasticity). Thus, between 1980 and 2009, value added in manufacturing grew by 6.4 percent annually whereas employment increased by 3.9 percent, suggesting a long-term manufacturing employment elasticity of 0.61, which is on the low side.

While this is an improvement over the early 1970s, when only 15 percent of the labour force was in the formal sector (8 percent in manufacturing and 7 percent in formal services), the slow progress in transforming the labour market after about 40 years of independence is an indication of a major weakness in our development strategy.

What is wrong in being engaged in informal activities and why should we worry about the low employment elasticity in manufacturing? The short answer is that informal activities mostly involve low levels of productivity and low earnings. As such, these are not very good jobs.

To appreciate this better, let’s look at the sectoral earnings prospects based on average productivity. Not surprisingly, average productivity in agriculture is much lower than in manufacturing or services. Agriculture’s GDP share has fallen drastically since independence, from over 55 percent in 1975 to 32 percent in 1980 to 20 percent in 2009, but its employment share has not fallen by as much, and it continues to employ some 48 percent of the labour force. As a result, the average labour productivity has not increased much — by only 0.9 percent between 1980 and 2009. As compared to this, average productivity in manufacturing has grown by 2.9 percent and by 1.1 percent in services. Since services are an aggregation of both formal and informal services, average productivity and its growth are constrained by the large share of informal activities — as much as 82 percent.

Low initial average labour productivity in agriculture, estimated at about only 48 percent of the average productivity in manufacturing in 1980, combined with sharply lower productivity growth, has further expanded the productivity gap between agriculture and manufacturing. Thus, in 2009, the average labour productivity in agriculture fell to only 27 percent of that in manufacturing. Agriculture’s productivity gap with services is similarly large, despite the dominance of informal services component.

Wages data show the differences in sectoral productivity. Agricultural real wages grew by only 0.3 percent annually between 1980 and 2009, as compared with 2.6 percent in manufacturing and 0.6 percent in services. The gap between the average real wages in manufacturing and agriculture also reflects the productivity gap.

The above analysis provides a simple answer to addressing Bangladesh’s growth and employment challenges. A faster rate of GDP growth will require commensurate increases in the average labour productivity. Finding more productive and better-paying jobs will require faster expansion in high productivity, high earning sectors. The two can be reconciled by finding ways to create more jobs in manufacturing and organised services.

International experience shows that high-paying jobs are best created in manufacturing and formal services, and Bangladesh is no exception. Other South Asian countries are striving to go through a similar transformation with varying degrees of success. However, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have done better in increasing both the share of manufacturing in GDP as well as its share of employment. They are also higher per capita income countries.

How can manufacturing grow faster than in the past? How can it absorb labour at a faster pace? One can draw from the lessons of experience as well as from economic theory. Rapidly growing East Asian countries have relied on exports to develop their manufacturing sector with a great deal of success. From theory (the Hecksher-Ohlin model of trade), one can argue that Bangladesh can concentrate its development efforts on promoting labour-intensive manufacturing exports based on the rationale that it has a relatively abundant labour endowment that gives it a cost advantage in labour-intensive products. The experience with the ready-made-garments (RMG) sector seems to support both points.

One debatable aspect is: Can Bangladesh emulate the experience of East Asian economies in terms of successfully launching its large scale manufacturing sector, or should it concentrate instead on medium and small enterprises? This debate partly germinates from the New Economic Geography (NEW) that suggests that the large-scale manufacturing faces increasing returns and, as such, agglomeration benefits of freer trade and lower transport costs tend to accrue to existing firms, making new entries difficult until such time that factor costs (typically labour costs) more than offset the agglomeration advantages. This debate requires additional research. But there is no reason for Bangladesh not to focus on the policy framework for implementing an export-oriented manufacturing strategy.

On the demand side, one can assume that the world demand is not a major constraint for Bangladesh despite the recent global downturn. This is because Bangladesh is a very small player in the world market and the experience of the RMG sector during the recent global crisis shows that a small country like Bangladesh, which is producing low-cost, mass-consumption products (low end of the RMG market), can not only survive but even expand its market share by paying attention to market trends. So, much of the policy attention has to focus on production incentives, quality and cost competitiveness.

Regarding production incentives, there is plenty of empirical evidence that both the exchange rate and trade protection matter for exports. By and large, Bangladesh has managed its exchange rate policy well, although the appreciation of the real exchange rate since 2006 needs careful monitoring. On the trade protection front, unfortunately, Bangladesh has moved hesitantly. While trade protection has come down sharply from its very high levels in the early 1990s, Bangladesh remains amongst the most heavily-protected countries in the world. Trade reform has also stagnated over the past few years. A rapidly expanding and diversified manufacturing sector requires a much faster pace of trade liberalisation.

On the quality front, much will depend upon the quality of labour and adoption of better technology. As LFS data show, some progress has been made in upgrading labour skills through improvements in education and training, but there is a long-long way to go. Indeed, the 78 percent informal labour force cannot be converted overnight into quality labour for manufacturing and formal services without long-term massive enhancement effort in education and training.

This is a huge challenge and requires a long-term strategy for public investment in human development and improvement in service delivery. On the technology front, the experience of the RMG sector clearly demonstrates the importance of diffusion of technology through partnership with foreign investors.

Concerning cost, the most obvious place to look for improvement is in infrastructure. Both power and transport are key determinants of cost competitiveness. In electricity, the inadequacy of supply is well known. While efforts are underway to mobilise new investments in power, innovative ways must be found to address the power crisis.

The solutions include better demand management and more aggressive efforts for energy trade with neighbours. In transport, Bangladesh faces trade logistic costs that are much higher than in East Asian countries or in India. Trade logistic cost has to be brought down substantially through new investment in transport network, including sea-ports, improvements in performance of existing facilities, and much better traffic management.

Bangladesh’s potential for creating good jobs is quite large. Endowed with an abundant and expanding labour force and excellent geography in terms of location and access to the sea, good policies should open up the doors for a rapid expansion of an export-oriented manufacturing sector. Good political leadership is the key to harnessing this potential.

Sadiq Ahmed is Vice-Chairman, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s indexing up position in ICT

Onthe way of Digital Bangladesh Bangladesh’s indexing up position in ICT .Bangladesh’s position on the global index for information communication technology (ICT) has gone up significantly, reflecting the government’s success towards achieving Digital Bangladesh by 2021.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has prepared the index, considering some key issues including market, political situation, rules and regulations, infrastructure, individual efforts, business and government’s approach to this sector.

The ICT index, the main theme the Global Information Technology Report, was released worldwide yesterday.

Published for the ninth consecutive year with an extensive coverage of 133 economies worldwide, the report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on development process and competitiveness of nations.

Under the theme ICT for sustainability, this year’s report explores many and diverse links between ICT and sustainability, in all its dimensions.
China, which ranked at the bottom of the report’s annual rankings in 2002 (64th out of 74 countries) has now moved up to 37th place (out of 133 countries). India, too, continues to climb up the the World Economic Forum’s rankings and has now moved up to 43rd place.

Bangladesh this year ranked upward at 118 from last year’s bottom level position of 130 among 133 surveyed countries.

Five among eight SAARC nations got positions on the index where India was placed 43, Sri Lanka 72, Pakistan 87 and Nepal 124.

Sweden topped the rankings of the index followed by Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland and the United States at top five positions.

The bottom five countries are Chad, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Timore-Leste and Burundi.

The report sees most progress in Bangladesh ICT sector in the government’s initiatives to adopt information technology for providing efficient and better services.

The report also observed individual efforts as a major driving force for development of this sector.

The business environment, rules and regulations and technology adoption are also improving, the report indicated.

The report also highlights the key role of ICT as an enabler of a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable world in the aftermath of one of the most serious economic crises in decades.

Farming reform needed to end hunger without obesity

Agriculture needs revolutionary change to confront threats such as global warming and end hunger in developing nations without adding to the ranks of the obese, an international study showed recently
The report said South Asia and Africa were “battlegrounds for poverty reduction” as the world population rose to a peak in 2050. Prospects for quick advances in curbing hunger are better for India and Bangladesh than sub-Saharan Africa, it said.

Funded by groups including the World Bank and the European Commission, the report said agricultural research needed reforms “as radical as those that occurred during industrial and agricultural revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Research needs to be increased, and a fragmented “seed-to-table” food production system needs to be overhauled to improve cooperation between small-scale farmers, governments, companies, scientists, civil society groups and others.

The report noted estimates that net investments of $83 billion a year, at 2009 prices, were needed in developing countries to meet U.N. projections of 2050 food demand. “That is an increase of almost 50 percent over current levels,” it said.

The world population is projected to rise to 9 billion by 2050 from 6.8 billion now. Between 1.0 and 1.5 billion people now live in poverty.

ENVIRONMENT

“There have been great advances in agricultural development in the past 50 years with remarkable increases in productivity,” said Jules Pretty, professor of Environment & Society at Essex University in England who was among the authors.

“But there are still a billion people hungry and a lot of the progress has been made at the expense of the environment,” he told Reuters of the study, to be presented at a March 28-31 meeting of 1,000 farm experts in Montpellier, France.

“Just around the corner are a number of serious threats which may already be playing out — climate change, an energy crunch, economic uncertainty in the current model and rapidly changing consumption patterns,” he said.

One risk is that poor nations may imitate the tastes of rich countries, where rates of obesity are rising. In developing nations including Peru, Ghana and Tunisia “there are now more overweight people than hungry people,” Pretty said.

“Diets in developing countries will shift from low- to high-value cereals, poultry, meat, fruit and vegetables,” the report said.

That “is also likely to be accompanied by hunger and poverty in the countries with the poorest populations, while obesity rates as high as those now seen in wealthy countries will occur in others,” it said.

Other changes include the shift to a bigger urban population.

“Addressing food security issues in urban areas is completely different than doing so in rural areas,” wrote Eduardo Trigo, one of the authors. “The focus will have to shift to producing food by the poor for the poor.”

Pretty said the report’s recommendation of broader cooperation, from farmers to governments, could unlock innovation. “That doesn’t mean that everybody has to work with everybody all the time, which leads to paralysis,” he said.

Among farming success stories, Malawi has become a major producer of maize since the government decided to subsidize farmers’ fertilizer supplies, he said

Solar as alternative energy resources in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s central bank has switched over to solar-powered lighting, in a move to encourage green energy in a country drastically short of electricity, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has installed a solar system on the rooftop of it’s main building to reduce pressure on the demand for electricity.

The bank has spent around 13.5 million taka ($195,000) on a solar power plant that will generate 8 KW of electricity a day.

“It is not possible to meet the country’s fast-growing power demand only using gas and coal. So we have to go for alternative energy resources,” central bank governor Atiur Rahman told reporters late on Tuesday.

“From now on, we will light up our offices with solar energy and spread the message across so more people follow suit.”

Bangladesh has recent taken a number of measures, including rush-hour rationing of power, to deal with a shortage the World Bank estimates costs it up to 2 percent in GDP growth each year.

Currently renewable energy contributes less than 1 percent to overall power generation in this south Asian country of more than 150 million people, barely 45 percent of whom have access to electricity.

The Bangladesh bank last year launched a 2 billion taka ($29 million) refinance scheme for renewable energy in an effort to help ease a power and gas supply crisis and reduce pollution.

About 80 percent of electricity is produced from natural gas, with state-owned and private sector power plants only able to generate up to 4,000 megawatts of electricity a day against a demand of 5,500 megawatts.

The government says it is exploring various means, including nuclear power generation, to overcome the problem, which is one of the key constraints to growth.

Tata Motors searching possibility in Bangladesh

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of Rs.70,938.85 crores (USD 14 billion) in 2008-09. It is the leader in commercial vehicles in each segment, and among the top three in passenger vehicles with winning products in the compact, midsize car and utility vehicle segments. The company is the world’s fourth largest truck manufacturer, and the world’s second largest bus manufacturer. Tata Motors will, in the next two months, look into the possibility of sourcing automotive components from Bangladesh. Bangladeshi newspaper New Age, citing Matlub Ahmed, chairman of Nitol Motors, said his team recently discussed the twin possibilities of components sourcing and assembling Tata vehicles in Bangladesh, with Tata Motors managing director Prakash Telang. “I brought to his [Telang’s] notice the ready capacity here for sourcing components like batteries, vehicle tyres and brake drums,” the newspaper quotes Ahmed as saying. He added that if technical support was provided, “many auto component manufacturers can grow here ? We already have a promising light-engineering industry here.” Regarding setting up an assembly plant to produce the Tata Nano in Bangladesh, Telang reportedly said that this would depend on the feasibility of sourcing components from the country. The low-cost Nano would cost significantly more in Bangladesh owing to taxes of more than 100%, taking the cost of the car to nearly Taka 600,000 (US$6,654). However, Nitol officials say the cost would be closer to Taka 300,000 if the car was produced locally. Their estimate suggests that an assembly plant with annual capacity of 50,000 cars, would be viable as long as 10,000 units are sold locally, and the rest exported, The Economic Times said, citing the report. Other aspects of the discussion included expansion and development of Tata’s assembly plants and the possibility of setting up a new facility for the OEM’s ACE series minitrucks, Ahmed said. Nitol assembles and sells Tata Motors’ trucks and buses in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Telecommunications.

The communication sector of Bangladesh has changed dramatically within 2 years. The incentives both from government and public sectors have helped to grow this sector.It is now one of the biggest sector of Bangladesh. As a populous country, it’s huge market has attracted many foreign investors to invest in this sector

At the time of writing, a full set of Q409 results had not been published by all key mobile network operators in Bangladesh. The report estimates that 9.830mn new customers were added in total during 2009, down only slightly from the 10.017mn net additions reported in 2008. The lower growth rate was the result of the governments SIM taxation, but

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subsidisation of the SIM tax together with lower prices and network expansion are expected to see the mobile market grow at a faster pace in 2010 than in 2009. Both Grameenphone and Banglalink, the respective No1 and No2 operators, are raising funds to support their network expansion plans. Grameenphone has issued an initial public offering (IPO), said to have been three times over-subscribed, while Banglalink plans to acquire a US$60mn bond issue. The operators, together with third-ranked Axiata, make up around 90% of the market and are looking to outdo one another, despite penetration still only at 37%.

One reason for this is the threat of new competition. Vietnams Ministry of Defence-owned operator Viettel and Indias Bharti are said to be interested in acquiring the operations of the respective two smaller service providers, Teletalk and Warid Telecom. Teletalks lack of progress in developing its business stemmed from the governments reluctance to invest the funds necessary to grow the company aggressively to the point whereby it could provide a credible threat to players such as Grameenphone and Banglalink. Apparently, the government is now keen to divest the business while its assets still remain attractive to new or existing players. To sweeten the deal, it seems likely that Teletalk will be awarded a 3G licence (ahead of all other players, significantly), as well as a US$211mn loan at 2% interest from China to help expand its network in key areas of the country. Bharti, on the other hand, could be looking to acquire Warid Telecom for the purposes of acquiring a 3G licence in the country, while it would also boost the Indian operators plans to become a regional powerhouse.

It is not only the mobile sector that has attracted foreign interest. Japanese telecoms operator KDDI has revealed its plan to acquire a 50% stake in Bangladesh-based internet service provider (ISP) BRAC BD Mail Networks (bracNET) through a private placement of shares. The acquisition, expected to be complete by January 2010, will cost it a total of JPY800mn (US$8.85mn). bracNET was initially one of three operators to be awarded a WiMAX licence that was subsequently returned to the regulator after bracNET declined to pay its licence fee. The licence was then awarded to Mango Teleservices. WiMAX is still very much in the initial phase of development and has yet to make much of an impact in the broadband sector. Augere Wireless Broadband Bangladesh, which launched its WiMAX network in October 2009, was joined in November by BanglaLion Communications, which announced the launch of a pilot service of its new wireless broadband network, based on WiMAX technology. Based in Dhaka, BanglaLion plans to rapidly roll out its infrastructure to key population and business centres across Bangladesh. To do so, it will spend US$250mn in deploying 6,000 WiMAX base stations over a five-year period. Approximately 900 such base stations are being used within the pilot service.

The telecom sector in Bangladesh is rapidly emerging.

Calling Code: +880 – SubCodes

PSTN

The PSTN operators in Bangladesh are:

  • BTCLFormer BTTB
  • Peoples Telecommunication and Information Services Ltd.
  • Ranks Telecom Ltd.
  • Tele Barta Ltd.- branded under the nameJubok phone.
  • Jalalabad Telecom Ltd. – branded under the name Bijoy Phone.
  • Onetel Communication Ltd.
  • National Telecom Ltd.
  • Westec Ltd.
  • Dhaka Telephone Co. Ltd.
  • Integrated Services Limited (ISL)- branded under the name Sheba Phone
  • S.A Telecom System Ltd.
  • Banglaphone Ltd.

The number of PSTN subscribers in Bangladesh as of February 2009 was 1.372 million

Mobile phone

There are 6 mobile phone operators in Bangladesh. These are:

1.Grameenphone Ltd.(GP)

2.Axiata Bangladesh Ltd(Aktel)

3.Sheba Telecom Ltd.(Banglalink)

4.PBTL(Citycell)

5.Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd.(Teletalk)

6.Warid Telecom Int.(Warid Telecom (Bangladesh)

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh as of February 2009 was 45.21 million.[2]

Long Distance Operator (as per ILDTS Policy 2007)

6 licneses were issued by BTRC in 3 categories (IGW, ICX & IIG) through an open auction in February 2008. The incumbent BTTB got the same licenses too. Here is the list of all operators:

International Gateway (IGW) Operators

1. Bangla Trac Communications Limited (www.banglatraccommunications.com)

2. Mir Telecom (mirtelecom-bd.com)

3. Novotel Limited

4. BTCL

Interconnection Exchange (ICX) operators

1. Getco Telcom

2. M&H

3. BTCL

?International Internet Gateway (IIG) Operator

1. Mango Teleservices Limited (www.mango.com.bd)

2. BTCL

3.Aamra network Ltd.

Bangladesh resume jute export to India

On the way of boost relation between Bangladesh and India developing the mutual benificial business steps.
Exports of raw jute from Bangladesh to other countries including India failed to pick up despite the lifting of ban on exports early this year. There are indications that the local exporters were finding exports of finished goods more lucrative than exporting raw jute due to the price differential.

The Bangladesh Government had imposed a ban on exports of raw jute in December 2009 due to the fall in production of jute and to ensure adequate availability for the local mills. The ban was, however, lifted in January amid pressures from jute traders.

?Currently there is no export of raw jute happening from Bangladesh. We have to take a call on exports based on this years’ production, we have however, lifted the ban on exports,? said Mr Dilip Barua, Bangladesh Minister of Industries. Mr Barua was speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of ?Look East’ summit organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here on Saturday.
After a difficult year, jute production in Bangladesh is likely to see a significant rise which may lead to resumption of exports of raw fibre to India, the country’s industry minister indicated.

Late last year, Bangladesh had banned the export of raw jute to countries, including India, to ensure adequate availability for local jute mills, which were facing trouble in procuring the raw material because of price hike in the domestic market, in part due to plummeting production levels.

“A substantial amount of land was being utilised to cultivate crops other than jute. However, this is now likely to change and we will produce higher quantities of the fibre. Although currently there is no export of raw jute from the country, we have lifted the ban on exports,” Bangladesh Minister of Industries Dilip Barua said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on Saturday.

Barua said that the jute industry in his country had been demoralised as synthetic fibres had posed as a substantial threat. “But things have now picked up and some mills which had closed down have also been revived. After a string of losses, the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporations is also expected to make a profit this year,” he added.

Bangladesh is the world’s largest jute growing country with an annual production of about 5.5 million bales.

While India, Pakistan and China are large buyers of raw jute, other countries such as Britain, Spain, Germany and Brazil also import the fibre.

US Says “Bangladesh to deal with the matter(criminals trial ) in its own way”.

Leader of the visiting US Congress delegation David Price today said his country does not “undermine” the process of war criminals trial and expects that Bangladesh deals with the matter in its own way.

“This (trial) is an internal mater of Bangladesh . . . but it does not mean we are undermining the initiative,” Price told a press briefing on the second day of the three-day visit of the Congressional delegation to Bangladesh.

Asked for comments on the trial process, Price, a Democratic Party Congressman, said they are not in a position to judge the
process but think it to be a difficult judicial process and expects “Bangladesh to deal with the matter in its own way”.