Press Releases

IFC Helps Leading International Buyers Increase Garment Trade in Bangladesh

In Dhaka
Shazia Ahmed

Phone: +88 337 5266, ext. 145


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 issues.”

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.”

About IFC
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

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 Lanka.

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.