The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently signed an agreement with Eastern Bank Ltd (EBL) to provide the latter a $20 mn loan to help improve standards and quality in Bangladesh’s textile and garment sector. The loan will be used to finance socially and environmentally sustainable projects, specifically, the construction or expansion of factories meeting structural, fire and electrical safety standards, according to a statement from the private Commercial Bank.

It says Bangladesh was currently the second largest exporter of textiles and garments, accounting for about 15 per cent of the gross domestic product and employing more than four mn workers, 85 per cent of whom were women. Ali Reza Iftekhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive of EBL, and Christine Engstrom, Director of Private Sector Financial Institutions Division at ADB, signed the agreement at a hotel in Dhaka.

“The textile and garment sector is an essential part of the Bangladesh economy, raising incomes for large numbers of workers, particularly women,” said Engstrom. “We are confident that our partnership will contribute to the improvement of the textile and garment sector,” she said. Manmohan Parkash, ADB Country Director for Bangladesh; Hassan O Rashid, additional Managing Director of EBL, and other senior officials from both organisations were present.