Asia-Pacific News

» more from Asia-Pacific News

5. Bangladesh

Projected annual growth: 5.5%
2010 GDP: $78 billion*
2050 projected GDP: $673 billion

Bangladesh is the poorest country to make the ranking, with around 30 percentof the population living below the international poverty line, according to government officials. That equates to 45 million people living on $1.25 a day. But, things will be very different in 40 years, according to HSBC, which says GDP per capita will increase six fold between now and then.

One of the country’s biggest assets is its growing low-cost labor force. That has attracted overseas investors — such as JC Penney, Wal-Mart, H&M, Marks & Spencer and Zara — which have pumped money into the country’s manufacturing sector. Ready-made garment manufacturing, now a critical part of the economy, employs 3.5 million workers and makes up more than 75 percent of the Bangladesh’s exports.

To encourage more investment in the sector, the government launched an initiative to develop “garment villages” across the country. Consulting firm McKinsey believes Bangladesh could fill the low-value manufacturing gap as Chinese manufacturers moves up the value chain.

Bangladesh’s onshore and offshore gas reserves are also seen as a potential source of wealth. Last year, energy giants including Chevronand Santos,poured hundreds of millions of dollars into searching for gas in the largely unexplored deep waters of the Bay of Bengal.

* Based on 2000 U.S. dollars

Photo: EIGHTFISH | Getty Images