Bangladesh has launched a Center of Excellence for the Bangladesh Apparel Industry (CEBAI) aiming to improve productivity by providing need-based training and research of the US$24 billion fashion industry.

“Most importantly, the centre will regularly conduct research on the industry to keep it on the right track of development and act as the think-tank for the apparel industry,” the Commerce Minister of Bangladesh, Tofail Ahmed, said while unveiling the logo of CEBAI at a city hotel on Tuesday.

The CEBAI is an initiative supported by the International Labour Organisation, the Swedish government, leading Swedish retailer H&M, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the government of Bangladesh.
Last year on December 7, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, firstly opened the CEBAI during a ceremony held at the Dhaka Apparel Summit in the capital to develop skilled garment workers and add value to the apparel and clothing industry.

Atiqul Islam, president of the BGMEA, said representatives from industries, academies, development organizations and government entities will govern the CEBAI. “It will help us enhance the skills and productivity of the workforce in the garment industry.”

The CEBAI project also aims to train 6,000 skilled workers with the help of the industry within the next two years.

Bangladesh is working to raise its readymade garment (RMG) export to US$50 billion by 2021. For meeting the growing global demand and export target, the country will need 3.5 million skilled and semi-skilled workers within the next seven years.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and retailer H&M are funding US$1.5 million for the first three years of the project to be implemented by the International Labour Organization.