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2 Dec 2015

ActionAid UK

Bangladesh: Report 'Diversity & Conquer' explore alternatives to the garment industry

Largely an agricultural economy in the 1970s, Bangladesh has become highly liberalised and developed a thriving garment industry...Bangladesh has moved from low-productivity activities in agriculture towards higher productivity manufacturing; in theory this allows well-paid jobs to be created. But in practice Bangladesh’s transformation is stuck...Job creation in the garment industry barely addresses unemployment in Bangladesh...To lift the country out of poverty, the government will need to do a lot more to support economic transformation, learning from the successful industrialisation of countries like South Korea and Taiwan. Starting with established sectors that have signi cant potential to grow – like electronics and engineering – the government should support the emergence of a diversi ed and high value- added economy for the future...The report shows that Bangladesh needs a carefully designed, long term National Development Strategy to grow high value-added, technology-intensive manufacturing industries like electronics and engineering. In order to do this, Bangladesh will have to regain its policy space vis à vis global rules and actors...Bangladesh’s industrial transformation has to be sustainable both environmentally and socially. The government will have to ensure that there is green industrialisation leading to decent and dignified jobs. Labour movements, unions and civil society in general must be included in the planning, implementation and monitoring of industrialisation to ensure that economic transformation its potential for all Bangladesh’s people.