Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 17, 2007—IFC
Advisory Services for South Asia – the SouthAsia Enterprise Development
Facility – has organized a roundtable discussion to bring together members
of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and leading
international buyers in Dhaka to explore ways to strengthen the competitiveness
of the local garment sector.
In addition to aiding dialogue between buyers and the new BGMEA committee,
the event also promotes their collaboration on the positioning of Bangladesh’s
garment factories in the global market. The discussion focused on
how to develop the export market and how the association could contribute
to this effort.
The roundtable is a follow-up to an earlier IFC initiative to develop and
implement a unified code of conduct for buyers in Bangladesh. In 2005,
IFC-SEDF helped create a forum for leading brand-name international buyers
to address a growing challenge for factories facing separate demands from
different buyers. The forum was set up to create a common process
to simplify compliance-related issues.
“We are always thinking of long-term sustainability in our work. With
support from international buyers, we should be able to achieve global
standards,” said Anwar Ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez, BGMEA President. “The
new committee will do everything possible to make significant changes in
the ready-made garment industry, especially on compliance and environmental
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the country’s
leading trade body for the apparel sector, has set a plan to make all ready-made
garments factories fully compliant by 2010. It has urged buyers to
price Bangladeshi garments appropriately to help cope with the costs for
compliance, and it is monitoring the progress of setting up effluent treatment
plants in factories. The association also plans to implement a minimum
wage for workers by June 2007.
“In order for Bangladeshi garment exports to remain competitive, we must
adhere to international standards,” said Deepak P. Adhikary, Deputy General
Manager, IFC-SEDF. Regarding the unified code of conduct, he said, “We
have already standardized a health and safety checklist in collaboration
with 10 international buyers that has been distributed to 1,000 factories
in Bangladesh. We hope our relationship with the buyers will help
us achieve a leading position in the global market.”
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and
competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable
private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs
and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape
poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products
has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments
and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have
provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises,
to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business
enabling environment, to increase access to finance and to strengthen environmental
and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.
About IFC SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility
IFC-SEDF is a multidonor funded facility, managed and operated by IFC.
One of 11 such regional programs managed by IFC worldwide, the facility
is funded by IFC, the governments of the Netherlands and Norway, the European
Commission, DFID (U.K.), CIDA (Canada), and the Asian Development Bank.
Set up to promote the growth of SMEs in the region, it facilitates increased
access to finance and provides quality business development services to
projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, northeast India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri
IFC-SEDF also works to create a business-enabling environment that is supportive
of SMEs and assists in value addition to firms through sector development,
organization-specific advisory services, capacity-building programs, training,
and research. IFC-SEDF's ultimate goal is to assist in private sector development
to create market opportunities for SMEs and promote pro-poor economic growth
in the region.