The advent of 39 sub-Saharan countries in the field of garment export is now posing a threat to Bangladesh’s superiority in the industry, as in a report, the International Trade Centre revealed that these African nations have exported garments worth of $2.6 billion in 2016 and it can cross $3-billion mark in 2017.
One of the major reasons why the garment industry is booming in the African soil is that most of the countries in the continent are enjoying duty-free and quota-free access to a number of goods to the United States as suggested by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). For this reason, many Bangladeshi investors have invested in the garment industry of these countries and enjoying the privilege of AGOA act.
The rise of Africa in the field of garment manufacturing has become a reason of downfall in Bangladesh’s garment export, as the growth of the industry has witnessed sharp fall in the recent times. Once Bangladesh is declared a middle-income country, it will not be able to enjoy the duty-free access to any developing and developed countries in the world.
Sensing the danger of the issue, dozens of Bangladeshi investors started investing in the garment industries mostly situated in Ethiopia and Kenya. According to the McKinsey & Company, East Africa’s growth in the garment industry is quite noticeable and it is even comparable to Bangladesh historic growth in the sector.
While stressing on main reasons behind the fall of Bangladesh’s garment export, the vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association, Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu said that the rise of AGOA nations is not the only reason behind Bangladesh’s slow growth. The government should step forward on the issue and ask investors to transact money through legal channel.