BERF’s work in bangladesh

DFID Bangladesh is a key client for BERF and has been instrumental in pioneering evidence work on Gender and Business Environment Reform. Two important Evidence and Learning Notes were produced for DFID. The first, a Document Review on Best Practice in Gender and Business Environment Reform provided guidance on how on gender sensitive Business Environment Reform programming was being approached by other development partners such as the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. The second commission illustrated how Gender Indicators could be built into DFID’s Business Environment and Investment Climate Programmes such as the Bangladesh Investment Climate Facility (Phase 2).

Completed Projects

  1. Evidence and Learning Note Gender and Business Environment/Investment Climate Reform in Bangladesh 
  2. What is Best Practice on Gender and Business Environment Reform?

Doing Business

While Bangladesh performs well on certain development indicators, efforts to improve the enabling environment for business has improved only slightly from 2016 to 2017. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report ranked the country at 176 out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business, two points above the score achieved in 2016.This modest improvement is reflected in the Distance to Frontier score which stood at 40.84 percent in 2017, marginally up from the 40.68 percent in 2016 but 12.03 percent below the regional average for South Asia.

Across certain indicators Bangladesh ranked among the lowest worldwide, in particular in ‘Getting Electricity’ (#187), ‘Enforcing Contracts’ (#189), and ‘Registering Property’ (#185). Contract Enforcement is considered to be the biggest constraint which is likely to deter investors, and or shorten the horizon over which they are prepared to invest.

Other challenges include the country’s high vulnerability to natural disasters and effects of climate change both of which pose a threat to development gains.

Widespread corruption is also problematic.


DFID Bangladesh has identified several factors as constraints on inclusive growth: inadequate infrastructure, bureaucratic barriers to investment and political instability. In response to these challenges, DFID Bangladesh is strengthening its support to help Bangladesh address weaknesses in the business environment and to improve the country’s competitiveness as a destination for international investment. Bangladesh receives some of the lowest levels of inward investment to South Asia at present.

DFID’S priorities in Bangladesh are:

  1. Expanding programmes to strengthen the business climate in order to increase foreign and domestic investment and at the household level, expanding initiatives to increase access to credit and to markets.
  2. Strengthening state capability and resilience so in order to better meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable;
  3. Supporting inclusive political settlements and democratic processes by building capacity of elected representatives, supporting elections and promoting greater accountability;
  4. Continuing to strengthen core functions of government including public financial management, civil service;
  5. Fostering an improved economic climate to enhance public service delivery and public safety, and to increase employment and wealth creation opportunities.
  6. Strengthening the labour market through skills development, linked to market demand and private sector provision.