ADB provides $300M to upgrade skills, competitiveness in Bangladesh

August 28, 2023

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ADB will facilitate technical cooperation with international partners for the transfer of knowledge and capacity development.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh today signed a $300 million loan agreement to strengthen the skills base and training programs for Bangladesh’s workforce.

Sharifa Khan, secretary, Economic Relations Division, and Jiangbo Ning, ADB deputy country director for Bangladesh signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively.

The Skills for Industry Competitiveness and Innovation Program aims to increase the technology-oriented skilled workforce across emerging and priority sectors, promote inclusive skilling and upskilling opportunities for women and socially disadvantaged groups, incentivize industry–university partnerships to nurture innovation capacity and improve industry competitiveness, and foster skills for climate-resilient manufacturing processes and green technologies.

“Improving skills is a key priority of Bangladesh for becoming a middle-income country in 2030 and a developed nation by 2041,” said Deputy Country Director Jiangbo Ning.

“Building on ADB’s vast experience in skills development, this new program will further enhance technology-oriented advanced skills and productivity, boost industry competitiveness, and help attain demographic dividend,” Ning added.

ADB will support the government in expanding training partnerships with industries, universities, and training institutions to provide industry-aligned skills training for priority and emerging sectors, such as the automotive, light engineering, and pharmaceutical industries.

The program will also build the institutional capacity of training institutions to deliver advanced skills training with technology applications, such as smart textile technologies and green technologies.

ADB will facilitate technical cooperation with international partners for the transfer of knowledge and capacity development.

The ADB-financed program will strengthen mid-level managerial development courses for garments and other priority industries to produce a cadre of managers abreast of global technology trends and green business practices.

It will also provide competitive grants for university-industry collaborated research and development projects to stimulate innovative solutions for industries.

Skills courses with international certification will be scaled up for potential migrant workers to gain better employment opportunities overseas and increase remittance flows. In addition, special skills programs will be created for vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, transgender people, and people in small ethnic communities.

For women workers in the garment sector who are at high risk of job loss due to automation, upskilling and multi-skilling will be provided, along with support for alternative livelihood, green entrepreneurship, and community-based empowerment.

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