Chittagong , Bangladesh , March 26th -- Chittagong Skills Development Centre (CSDC), an industry-led, private-public skills training centre in Bangladesh , and the Development Fund of the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for mobile phone operators, have formed a partnership to promote telecom skills development in Bangladesh . CSDC's members include the mobile operators Aktel and GrameenPhone and equipment vendors Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Siemens and ZTE.

The GSMA Development Fund and the CSDC signed a Cooperation Agreement at the recent 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona to develop the technical and marketing competencies of Bangladesh 's rapidly growing telecom workforce. Bangladesh is among the 10 fastest growing mobile markets in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 20 million subscribers, projected to reach 50 million by 2009. However, like many other fast developing countries, Bangladesh faces an acute shortage of skilled human resources to meet its explosive growth.

Under the Agreement, the CSDC and the GSMA will work together to adapt and deploy international telecommunications training, best practices and knowledge to produce a highly skilled, Bangladeshi workforce, able to keep pace with the rapid market growth, as well as technology and product innovation. The Agreement will also help develop a local pool of skilled trainers, equipped with the necessary teaching and learning methodologies to develop and deliver programmes to the expanding workforce.

In addition, the CSDC, with GSMA support, will offer young people from urban slums practical training in basic technician skills, including base station installation; cable-laying; trenching and electrical wiring. “The aim is to provide them with the necessary technician skills demanded by the telecom sector, to gain employment and earn higher wages,” said Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Chairman of CSDC. “Incorporating the working poor into the ICT sector can bring them a more sustainable means of economic livelihood, thereby helping to bridge the digital divide.” UCEP Bangladesh, a CSDC Member, will help spearhead this programme with its vocational school graduates.

“Our long-term objective is to cultivate an indigenous knowledge base that enhances employment opportunities and meets the telecoms sector's skill requirements,” said Ben Soppitt, director of the GSMA's Development Fund. “Such a knowledge base will also enable Bangladeshis to develop more innovative home-grown products and technology, and ultimately derive greater economic and social benefits from telecommunications.”

Salahuddin Kasem Khan added, “We believe CSDC's industry participation coupled with the GSMA's resources can effectively promote skilled human resource development and poverty alleviation towards long-term economic growth; and better integrate Bangladesh 's abundant workforce into the global knowledge economy.”

About Chittagong Skills Development Centre (CSDC)

CSDC is the first industry-led, public-private skills training Centre in Bangladesh . A non-profit, tri-partite partnership between the nation's Industry, Government and Academia, CSDC aims to strategically develop Bangladesh 's workforce by catering to the ICT, Manufacturing and Service sectors' present and future skill needs.

CSDC's industry-focused skills training strives to galvanize the nation's abundant human resource to boost industrial productivity and growth and promote poverty alleviation. By strategically leveraging the nation's cost-effective labor base into a skilled workforce, CSDC will help add greater value to domestic and Foreign Direct Investments, towards sustainable economic growth and greater global competitiveness.

CSDC's members include: A.K.Khan & Company Ltd, Aktel, Alcatel-Lucent, Bangladesh Board of Investment – Prime Minister's Office; Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Ericsson, GrameenPhone, Huawei, Pedrollo, UCEP, Siemens and ZTE.

For more information, please visit www.csdc.com.bd

For further information, please contact

Mikhail I. Islam
Acting Executive Director
CSDC
Phone: +88-01819-210-533
Email: mik@csdc.com.bd

About the GSM Association and Development Fund:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. In addition, more than 180 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than two billion customers - 82% of the world's mobile phone users. 

The GSMA's Development Fund was set up in October 2005 to provide consulting support to innovative pilot projects that use mobile technology to boost social, economic and environmental welfare in developing countries. Working together with mobile operators, the Fund supports easily-replicable and sustainable projects that have the potential to be widely-deployed.    For more information please visit: http://www.gsmworld.com/digitaldivide/developmentfund/index.shtml

For further information, please contact

David Pringle
Media Relations Manager
GSM Association
Phone: +44 795 755 6069
Email: press@gsm.org