INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE
It took Bangladesh’s economy 50 years to grow to $460 billion, and it is on track to reach $1 trillion by 2040, backed by government policies to develop its infrastructure, attract foreign direct investment with the establishment of Special Economic Zones, and support priority sectors to accelerate the country’s economic growth.
Nurturing Economic Health In 2021, Beximco Pharmaceuticals became the first company in the world to launch a generic version of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s novel antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 patients, at a fraction of the cost compared to other international markets. And that’s just one of over 300 generic medicines produced by the Bangladesh-based company.
Over the past few decades, local manufacturers like Beximco—the first Bangladeshi company to list on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of London Stock Exchange—have driven the country’s pharma sector and made healthcare more affordable and accessible for the domestic market, fulfilling 98% of the total pharmaceutical requirements and exporting to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Pharma is one of the most technologically advanced sectors in the country, and the industry has witnessed excellent growth in recent years with double digit compounded annualized growth rates to reach a projected $8 billion by 2030.
With the aim to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of pharmaceutical raw materials, the government of Bangladesh has recently established the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) Industrial Park and implemented a national policy to ramp up API production, decrease the reliance on raw material imports, lower the cost of locally manufactured drugs, and create 500,000 jobs in this sector.
In addition to tax exemptions, companies producing API molecules domestically also enjoy a competitive advantage to boost their pharmaceuticals exports on the back of the intellectual property rights waiver for the LDC countries under TRIPS agreement of World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to pharmaceutical intelligence firm Scrip, the industry’s top companies are forecasted to lose $200 billion between 2022 to 2030 due to the patent expiration of many drugs. This patent cliff opens up the market for the entry of generic medicine, with Bangladesh already positioned as an attractive hub backed by an established manufacturing base and skilled manpower.
“Beximco played a very important role in the transformation of the pharmaceutical industry by investing in building modern compliant facilities, creating a highly skilled workforce, and strengthening R&D capabilities.” - Nazmul Hassan MP Managing Director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Road to Success
The successful development of Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry is aided in part by the National Industry Policy, set forth by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority to increase the contribution of select priority sectors, which also include infrastructure and automobiles.
As a key driver of sustainable growth, infrastructure is needed to ensure the efficient and safe movement of people and goods, and the provision of an inclusive energy and communication network. The Center for Research and Information, a not-for-profit policy research organization based in Dhaka, estimates an annual investment of $10 billion for infrastructure development—including roads, railways, bridges, embankments, and dykes, as well as energy and information and communication technology infrastructure—is needed to translate the vision of Perspective Plan 2041, the country’s long-term development plan of eliminating poverty, to reality.
The country’s investment drive in infrastructure projects include the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, inaugurated in 2022 as the largest infrastructure project to date in the country, and the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, which helped expand communications coverage after it launched in 2018.
Though still in its infancy, the automobile industry in Bangladesh has gained traction in recent years with the rise in purchasing power and demand for personal transport. Global automakers are also expanding their footprint in the country. In early 2023, a Hyundai car manufacturing factory was inaugurated with sole distributors Fair Technology starting to produce one of the South Korean automobile giant’s SUV models, while Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors is also looking to set up an auto assembly plant in partnership with state-owned Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC).
To Bangladesh and Beyond
To showcase investment opportunities in Bangladesh, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, hosted the Bangladesh Business Summit in March 2023, inaugurated by the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.
During the three-day event, local business leaders had the opportunity to meet with investors and policymakers and exchange ideas over dedicated sessions including on: Infrastructure, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Public Private Partnership, Special Economic Zone, and Hi-Tech & Automobile.
In 2022, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industries issued an update to the National Industrial Policy with the aim of increasing the contribution of the industrial sector to the gross domestic product to 40% by 2027 by enhancing skills, productivity and generating employment.
“As one of the largest exporters in the country, Beximco Pharmaceuticals will continue to contribute through our competitive workforce, cost advantages, global partnerships and alliances to accelerate Bangladesh’s trillion-dollar journey.” - Nazmul Hassan MP, Managing Director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd