English language What the papers say

France Helps Bangladesh with €50m for Green Energy

JAAGO Foundation will use $1.6 million from private donors to provide digital education to less advantaged children

Jamdani weavers are not benefitting from Geographic Indication recognition.

Bangladesh central bank continues to advance the country’s interests by imposing fiscal discipline in the domestic banking sector and makes the first loan ever to a foreign country.

And the French development agency loans Bangladesh €50 million to support green energy.

A weekly round up of articles about work, employment, social security, business and the economy. Here is the news for the week ending:

19 August 2021

This week’s round up comes from:

The Daily Star and The Business Standard

This week in Bangladesh…

Energy from Sun and Sea
Green Energy Solution (Cox’s Bazaar by Tanjir Ahmed Chowdhury/Unsplash)

Bangladesh grows in confidence as nation with a vibrant domestic economy and strategic foreign trade engagement. It loans $250 million to help neighbouring Sri Lanka through its financial crisis. And Bangladesh business giants Beximco and Summit gift JAAGO Foundation $1.6 million to reach disadvantaged children with innovative educational technology.

News in Bangladesh for the week ending 19th August 2021

Education, Work, and Social Security

Business giants support digital education

Summit and Beximco will gift 135 million Taka (about $1.6 million) over three years for digital education.

Every child has the right to education — the right to go to school and learn. For too many, however, that right has been left in tatters by the Covid-19 pandemic

Shayan F Rahman, Advisor to the Board of Beximco Group

The two industrial conglomerates will fund JAAGO Foundation to educate 4,000 less advantaged children across Bangladesh.

 JAAGO Foundation has a UNESCO award winning teaching model. It delivers education over telephone calls, short messaging service, and video conferencing systems.

Bangladesh is in a period of innovation for digital education. Last week we wrote about new digital content funded by Startup Bangladesh.

And we highlighted new edtech – Shikho – gaining $1.3 million in seed money.

Business, Economy and Trade

No benefit from recognition of Jamdani

The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) has not supported the Jamdani weavers.

Jamdani is a fine woven fabric produced only in very specific parts of Bangladesh. The exquisite fabric is usually made into saris – a traditional dress for women in South Asia.

Jamdani was awarded Geographic Indication (GI) five years ago. GI can increase the value of a product by 30 per cent. GI can also attract foreign investment into an industry.

Correct labelling indicating a product’s GI status is key to reaping this premium. But it appears Jamdani weavers are not labelling their cloth with this critical information.

There are about 5000 Jamdani weavers in Bangladesh. BSCIC has registered 66 weavers to use the GI labelling.

It is … [BSCIC’s] responsibility to increase branding, marketing and sales by highlighting the tradition and reputation of Jamdani products in the international market

Md Abdus Sattar, Department of Patents, Design and Trademarks

A Jamdani sari typically sells from 3,000 to 250,000 Taka (around $30 to $3000) depending on its design. And the industry is estimated to be worth about 400 million Taka (about $5 million).

But how much more could be earned with foreign or local investment and better marketing?

Central bank intervenes to shore up banking sector

The Bangladesh Bank – the central bank of Bangladesh – is building financial discipline and promoting transparency among local banks.

Banks must bring their capital structure to meet minimum international standards. This will also put local banks on par with banking sectors in the region.

Ultimately the new requirements will better protect banks, their clients and customers from future financial crises.

There is an excellent analysis of the new requirements for core capital ratio in the business pages of The Daily Star.

Bangladesh agrees first ever loan to foreign country

Bangladesh will loan $250 million to Sri Lanka.

The financing will help Sri Lanka cope with its current financial crisis.

It is the first time Bangladesh has made a loan to another country. The respective central banks of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka agreed the loan conditions earlier this month.

Climate, Energy and Environment

French support green economy for Bangladesh

Bangladesh failed to meet its own target of generating 10 per cent of power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Renewable sources now account for 767 megawatts of generated electricity. That is just 3.3 per cent of the total electricity produced.

The Eighth Five-Year Plan pushes back the target of 10 per cent to 2025.

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – the French development agency – has loaned €50 million to accelerate the transition to green energy.

Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund (BIFFL) will administer the fund for projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and women entrepreneurship.

Financial Inclusion and Services for the Poor

Do banks want to give loans to women entrepreneurs?

Women say banks simply do not want to given them loans . Banks say women cannot provide the paperwork for a loan application.

Lack of collateral used to prevent banks from making loans to small businesses. But the Bangladesh Bank eased these restrictions to allow loans to flow to women entrepreneurs.

Bangladesh Bankhas launched a number of schemes to incentivise loans to women and support women entrepreneurs.

Now the Bangladesh Bank is offering cash incentives to both banks and loan recipients to increase the portfolio of loans to women-owned cottage, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Covid Update

Delta variant found in 98 per cent of samples collected in July

Bangladesh has received a combined total of 29 million doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinopharm vaccines to date.

138 million does are required to fully vaccinate the population.

To date about 5 million people have received two doses and 15 million one dose.