World Bank to provide $250m to Bangladesh to create quality jobs

The World Bank (WB) has approved a US$ 250 million development policy operation to help Bangladesh strengthen its capacity to create more, better-paid and quality jobs in a rapidly changing environment.

The Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit aims at supporting Bangladesh to develop a stronger policy and institutional framework to address barriers to creating more and better jobs for citizens, including women, youth and the vulnerable population, said a WB press release issued today.

Despite Bangladesh’s robust economic growth, the pace of job creation has slowed in recent years, and almost stalled in the readymade garments sector. The growth rate for jobs fell to 1.8 percent in 2010-16 from 2.7 percent in 2003-10, the release said.

Women, workers in lagging regions, and youth in particular face challenges in accessing quality jobs. Climate change has exacerbated this jobs challenge, underscoring the need to significantly increase of employment in the non-agriculture sector.

“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in accelerating growth and reducing poverty, but the rate of job creation has not kept up with economic growth. Creating more and better jobs is a prerequisite for the country to achieve its vision of upper-middle income status,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

“This will require the economy to create jobs for the 2.2 million youths
entering the labour force each year, while attracting more women into the labour market. This programme supports reforms to stimulate trade and private sector investment, strengthen social protection for workers and help the vulnerable population access to jobs,” he added.

To promote large-scale employment in diverse manufacturing sectors, the
reform programme will help improve the investment environment, lift barriers to doing business, and modernise customs and trade facilitation. The programme will also help implement amendments to the labor law and reform the pensions scheme to ensure that works are protected.

“This programme seeks to increase investments in labour-intensive
activities, improve the quality of jobs, strengthen resilience to shocks, and
ensure women, youth, and migrants’ access to job opportunities,” said Thomas Farole, World Bank Lead Economist and Task Team Leader.

“In addition, it will help develop market-oriented skills for women,
youth, and overseas migrants, preparing them for better employment opportunities,” he added.

The programme also aims to increase female labour force participation by
increasing availability of childcare for working mothers and targeting women and youth with training and employment services.

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