The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation

Improving Lives
Expanding Opportunities

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Our programs promote fair elections through civil society initiatives, strengthen the effectiveness and transparency of the parliament, support women entrepreneurs, and remove constraints affecting the growth of the leather industry and the ICT and renewable energy sectors. Foundation programs also seek to build trust between police and communities, engage religious and secular leaders to advance national development efforts and women's rights, and support transparency and accountability in the use of public funds allocated for climate change initiatives. Read country overview.


The government of Bangladesh and the two major Bangladeshi leather industry trade associations reached a historic agreement last year to move the leather industry from central Dhaka to Savar, a new, environmentally compliant industrial zone on the outskirts of the city. Economists predict that if the leather industry continues its impressive growth, it may challenge the ready-made garment sector as one of Bangladesh's most valuable exports. Our local office helped to bring together private and public sector participants through dialogue. A coalition was formed providing guidance on future steps, sharing experiences, and examining the potential that the industry would realize by relocating and the consequences of not doing so. The coalition will continue to work together and demonstrate the potential of the leather sector to international donors to create momentum and interest, and ensure that funding will be available for expansion of the industry.

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