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Bangladesh: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Focus on ready-made garments (RMG), health, environment, and anti-corruption actors

The economy of Bangladesh has soared in recent decades, and the country will graduate in 2026 from a Least Developed Country (LDC) to a developing country after 45 years. It has already achieved lower-middle income status, and despite challenges from COVID-19, will become upper-middle income soon. However, anti-corruption efforts have faltered in recent years due to politicisation and crackdowns on activists. The ready-made garment sector is one of the main drivers of Bangladesh’s economic growth. It also presents unique opportunities for graft and collusion. High levels of corruption have undermined the capacity of the health system to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the country's high vulnerability to climate change-induced disasters, curbing corruption and enhancing good governance in the environmental sector is crucial.

15 August 2021
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Bangladesh: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • Corruption in Bangladesh remains endemic. The administration espouses a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, but high-profile political actors are reportedly embroiled in various corruption and embezzlement scandals.
  • The ready-made garment (RMG) is a vital sector of the economy with a serious set of corruption risks, including but not limited to contracting and procurement fraud, collusion, and bribery.
  • The Bangladeshi health sector is rife with corruption and poor governance, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional stress.
  • While environmental measures including climate change adaptation are crucial to mitigate disaster vulnerabilities, such initiatives are frequently marred by irregularities and embezzlement.
  • Anti-corruption efforts are plagued by politicisation, and there is a crackdown on actors speaking against corruption.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2021) Bangladesh: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2021:13)

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About the author

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)