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Welcome to Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project

The EC4J project aims to support the Government of Bangladesh’s export diversification targets. The project is designed to enhance the growth and competitiveness of selected sectors beyond Ready-Made Garments (RMG) and to create more and better job opportunities. The project will focus on four priority sectors in which Bangladesh has a demonstrated comparative advantage, or sectors that provide essential inputs in export-oriented manufacturing value chains. These sectors are: (i) Leather and Leather Goods;(ii) Footwear; (iii) Light Engineering; and(iv) Plastics. The project objective is to contribute to export diversification and more and better jobs in targeted sectors.

What is there for the Private Sector to benefit from the Project:

The project will support the private sector companies in these targeted sectors to address some of the key constraints they face in accessing export markets; enhancing productivity; improving environmental, social and quality standards; and collective infrastructure facilities. The project interventions have been designed to benefit companies that are in the export market or have the potential and are aspirations to access export markets. Small and medium enterprises in these sectors are also expected to benefit from the project, particularly those integrated into export value chains.

Key highlights of the Project:

1. Undertake programs to create awareness about markets; gather market intelligence, market, and product-specific branding initiative.
2. Export Readiness Fund (ERF) – matching grant a challenge fund to directly assist firms with environmental, social, and quality (ESQ) assessments, and incentives to implement improvements.
3. Sector-specific technical training on ESQ and reference materials such as compliance handbooks, etc.
4. Establish four technology centers to enable enterprises to access modern technologies, advanced skills, and other relevant business development services.

Project Components:

Market Access Support Program (Component 1) will support firms to access international markets and integrate into global value chains. It will engage at the sector and firm levels to increase their investment to meet national, international, and buyer-specific environmental, social, and quality (ESQ) standards. This will be implemented through nation-wide awareness building, institutional capacity building, and matching grants to improve compliance standards at the firm level. Additionally, this component will support capacity building for market intelligence for key markets and sector-level branding.

Productivity Enhancement Program (Component 2) will support the establishment of four technology centers (TCs) within proximity to existing production clusters. The TCs will enable access to modern technologies, mold &dye design making, design facilities, testing and calibration services, training of the technical workforce, business advisory services, job works, etc.

Public Investment Facility for Infrastructure Constraints (Component 3) will support the development of selected infrastructures in industrial clusters of the targeted sectors such as connecting TCs with utility services; constructing access roads, establishing recycling management and storage facility, last-mile connectivity, etc.

Implementation Arrangements

The Project Implementation Unit (PIU) formed by the Ministry of Commerce is leading the implementation in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Ministry of Industries, Business Promotion Council, and relevant Industry Associations were engaged during the development of the Project and will continue to be implementing partners. This project (EC4J) team is also coordinating the implementation of the complementary technical advisory project 'Sector Competitiveness Advisory', implemented by the International Finance Corporation(IFC).

Project Fact Sheet

Name of the Project      : Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) (2nd Revised) Project

Project Duration & Cost:

(i) Original                      : July 2017 - June 2023 ( Total Project Cost: BDT 941.00 Crore)

(ii) 1st Revised               : July 2017 - June 2023 ( Total Project Cost: BDT 1012.12 Crore)

(iii) 2nd Revised             : July 2017- June 2025 (Total Project Cost: BDT 1105.27 Crore)

Implementing Ministry   : Ministry of Commerce

IDA Credit                     : US$ 100 Million
GoB Contribution        : BDT 172.12 Crore

Project Effective Date  : December 18, 2017