Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, recently (21 November) addressed a session of the Leadership Summit hosted by the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

He emphasised the crucial role that technology will play in what he called the “next stage of industrialisation in Bangladesh,” with regard to sustainability, competitiveness and creating decent employments. He further added: “Technological innovations are imperative not only to enhance competitiveness but also to make business sustainable.”

Some delegates who attended the event were Education Minister Dipu Moni (MP) as chief guest, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman (MP) and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman (MP) as special guests, including the Chair of IORBF Sheikh Fazle Fahim.

In his speech Hassan highlighted the correlation between sustainability and digitalisation and how they complemented each other. 

“Smart supply chain management is a great way to become resource efficient, environment friendly, cost competitive in the long run and sustainable.” However, he said: “Without using technology, optimum use of water, energy and other resources cannot be ensured. Therefore, we need to inspire the use of fourth generation technologies in our supply chain.

“As much as we are saying automation is important, we are equally concerned about jobs and livelihoods. If efficiency and competitiveness can be enhanced, it will certainly generate more business, which would require more employment in labour-intensive manufacturing,” remarked the BGMEA president. 

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Also speaking at the session as panellists, which was moderated by Syed Ferhat Anwar, professor at the University of Dhaka, were Ichiguchi Tomohide, chief representative of JICA Bangladesh; Young-ah Doh, country director of KOICA Bangladesh; Habibullah N Karim, founder and CEO of Technohaven; Sonia Bashir Kabir, managing director of SBK Ventures; Anil Sooklal, ambassador at large of Asia and BRICS, South Africa; and Nokuthula Nokky Ndlovu, managing director of Projectized Management.

Last month, during the Dhaka Apparel Summit in Bangladesh, BGMEA and Mastercard, in partnership with Southeast Bank Ltd, launched exclusive credit and pre-paid card services to provide “more convenient, safer and smarter options” than cash for workers. This move brought Bangladesh a step closer in its aim of building financial and digital literacy skills amongst RMG sector workers.