DHAKA, 4 August 2019 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Access to Information Programme (a2i) housed in the Office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh hosted a national conference on Industry 4.0 and on the future of Bangladesh’s labor force.
‘’Industry 4.0 captures the synergistic opportunities of digital technologies such as blockchain, virtual reality and artificial intelligence”, said UNIDO Regional Representative René Van Berkel. “With frontier manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing and nanotechnology, Industry 4.0 can deliver customized products at the same costs as manufactured products”.
During the event, Indutries Minister Nurul Majod Humayun unveiled the newest a2i publication ‘Future Skills: Finding Emerging Occupations to Tackle the Challenges of Automation in Bangladesh’, which focuses on ready made garment and textiles; furniture; agro-processing; leather and shoes; and tourism and hospitality: job profiles and skill requirements are expected to change drastically, and small companies could be at a disadvantage. As a matter of fact, potential job losses among the sectors could range between 20 and 60%, which by 2041 could amount to 5.5 million jobs.
“We should accept automation, as it accelerates our growth”, said Principal Coordinator for SDG Affairs Md. Abul Kalam Azad. “At the same time, workers need to be trained to overcome the approaching industrial revolution”.
The panel discussion centered on the urgency for reskilling and upskilling, along with the demand for soft skills. In addressing challenges for small businesses, Van Berkel highlighted that they can benefit from improving productivity and adopting lean management, also by partnering with technical institutions and skills providers. This could be facilitated through a demonstration centre, as it would showcase crucial digital technologies.
“UNIDO is willing to collaborate with national partners to assist in the transition towards Industy 4.0, and will build on prior experiences”, said UNIDO Country Representative for Bangladesh Zaki Uz Zaman. UNIDO has already kick-started this process by reviewing the Bangladeshi Country Programme with adjustments to be made along the lines of new government priorities.
For more information, please contact:
Zaki Uz Zaman
UNIDO Country Representative for Bangladesh
Rene Van Berkel
UNIDO Regional Representative for South Asia