Bangladesh Employers’ Federation and the United Nations Development Programme yesterday joined hands to develop management skills in the private sector.
“This is a crying need for the private sector,” said Salahuddin Kasem Khan, president of BEF, who signed the deal with UNDP Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee in a ceremony yesterday.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the UNDP will bring in its international expertise on leadership and management skills development for the next two years.
The BEF has already finalized a state-of-the-art curriculum for the programme and will also set up a centre for excellence for strategic management and leadership training, Khan said.
In South Asia, Bangladesh’s skills set is even lower than Nepal, and the deal with UNDP will help in changing the status quo, Khan said. There needs to be a long-term commitment to developing managerial and professional cadres for both the public and private sectors.
“As we are trying to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041, the government also has a very strong commitment towards the development skill of manpower.” “Our idea is to bring the public sector on board and that will give us ideas for cross-fertilization,” Khan said, adding that establishing partnerships with other institutions like reputed universities are also need.
Mukerjee said the entire South Asia region, including India, is going through impressive but jobless growth. “That’s a worry — it has severe social implications.” Every year, two million people are entering the job market. “If you cannot give them jobs, it will lead to social discontentment. And UNDP is concerned about that.”
Only economic growth is not sufficient; economic diversification is also needed, Mukerjee said.
Economic diversification is the act or practice of manufacturing a variety of products, investing in a variety of securities, selling a variety of merchandise, etc., so that a failure in or an economic slump affecting one of them will not be disastrous.
Bangladesh’s private sector is facing a myriad of challenges, including a lack of leadership and management skills at the mid and senior level, limiting desired private sector growth and impacting employment creation negatively.
“I want to position Bangladesh in the world map of development through this initiative,” Mukerjee added.
In the next phase, both BEF and UNDP will run training sessions for senior bureaucrats to develop their knowledge of the private sector and how businesses function, said a senior official of UNDP.
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