Dhaka is the national and financial capital of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Dhaka covers 306.4 square kilometers on the north of the Buringana River. Dhaka is the most populated city in Bangladesh, providing land to 21,005,860 people. Dhaka is the largest city not only in the country but also in South Asia.
Dhaka is known as the rickshaw capital of the world as it witnesses more than 400,000 cycles as well as motorized rickshaws daily on its road. Dhaka is home to the Dhaka stock exchange, a prime market in Bangladesh.
Data and facts
- Bengali is used as the primary language in Dhaka. While English holds the second position.
- From 2001 to 2011, the literacy rate in the city increased from 69.2% to 74.6%
- According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the average life expectancy in the city was 70.4 years in 2013.
- In 2018, the Global survey of the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Dhaka as the world’s second least liveable city.
- The city accounts for the highest population growth rates in Asia of around 4.2%
- In 2017, with the unemployment rate of 4.81 %, Dhaka is perched on the sixth position of the unemployment rate in Asia.
In the year 2011, the Dhaka City Corporation was branched off into Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation. Each of the city corporations was supervised by a directly elected mayor. The total area covered by the city was divided into several wards, with each ward electing their commissioner. Dhaka has several government organizations taking care of the city. But it is because the absence of coordination and centralization of powers leads to a chaotic situation.
Dhaka is the financial and business capital of Bangladesh although the major population of the city is employed in unorganized labor such as roadside vendors, stalls, small shops, peddlers and rickshaw transport.
In 2013 the unemployment rate was reported as 23%. The textile industry is the largest in the city, employing over 800,000 people.
Other industries include jute processing, manufacturing of chemicals, ceramics, electronics, leather goods, and pharmaceuticals.
In the last few years, growth has been especially strong in the finance, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and services sectors, while tourism, hotels and restaurants continue as important elements of the Dhaka economy.
The Dhaka Stock Exchange is based in the city, as are most of the large companies and banks of Bangladesh, including the Bangladesh Bank, HSBC, Citibank and the Grameen Bank.
The main business districts of the city include Motijheel, Panthapath and Gulshan. Bashundhara City is a recently developed economic area that houses many high-tech industries and corporations and a shopping mall that is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, frequented daily by more than 25,000 people.
The Export Processing Zone in Dhaka was set up to encourage the export of garments, textiles and other goods. The EPZ is home to 80 factories, which employ mostly women.
It is one of the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world. It is listed among the Next Eleven countries, it has one of the fastest real GDP growth rate.
Some of the most notable companies headquartered in the city are, among many others, ABC Radio, Ananda Group, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, Banglalink, Best Air, Building Technology & Ideas, City Group, Cooper's, Dragon Group or Eskayef Bangladesh
Dhaka’s infrastructure is unable to cope with the increase in population. The city features the absence of an organized road network and only 7 % of the land is covered by roads. In the city of 650 prime intersections, traffic light count is only 60. The government is planning to improve its infrastructure. It aims at building 5 metro rail lines, six flyovers, two bus routes, 3 ring roads and 1,200km of new roadways by the year 2035. In 1963 (DWASA) the Dhaka water supply and sewage authority were established. The authority aims at improving the dysfunctional water supply infrastructure in the city.
As evident from the mismanaged infrastructure, the city is far behind from a smart city. The residents still rely on contemporary methods for earning their livelihood. Technology hasn’t been introduced effectively in the city. Though the city provides the internet there is no plan for free WIFI and unlimited connectivity. The city is still in the first stage of technological advancements. The government is planning for digitizing the city and transforming it into a smart city. But there are some challenges that need to be addressed before moving forward with the smart city project. These challenges include hygiene, utility, sanitation, health, businesses, and infrastructure, which have to be planned individually. However, the recent meeting of the government and the World Bank has opened the hope for a smart city. World Bank has suggested several measures for untangling the dysfunctional infrastructure.
The business environment in Dhaka is still growing as a startup friendly ecosystem. Along with the motive to welcome the new innovative ideas the city’s infrastructure must be able to contribute to its development. But Dhaka lacks in case of advanced infrastructure. Still, there are start-ups budding from the extreme conditions of the city. The government has launched the IDEA program to support start-ups. There are several incubators and accelerators offering support to the start-ups as well.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The increasing rate of population and air pollution has decreased the quality of life in Dhaka. However, the cost of living is affordable in Dhaka. Dhaka’s air quality index is 135, which is injurious for the human body. Dhaka is no where near sustainable development and the rate of pollution is significantly high. Within the boundaries of Bangladesh, Dhaka offers the best medical services, but for major medical procedures, other Asian capitals are suggested. Apollo hospital is one of the best hospitals in the city.