The small- and medium-sized RMG factories in Egypt presently do not benefit to the extent that they should from available industrial modernization and vocational training services. Despite ample financial resources available from donors and the Government of Egypt, Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) export growth appears to have stalled and industry governance and productivity challenges are observed in several crucial areas need for an effective, industry-level organization that communicates actively with RMG industry members regarding policy issues, industry programs, and international trends; problems of labor shortages and high rates of labor turnover; poor management practices; and weaknesses in the workforce development system.

Together, these four factors add up to an underperforming RMG sector. While a handful of globally competitive firms already export high quality, high value-added garments to clients in the U.S. and Europe, the majority of QIZ-approved firms are missing opportunities to improve and expand their businesses.

To address these concerns, the Ministry of Trade and Industrys QIZ Unit seeks focused efforts that can introduce these techniques in Egypt to improve flagging levels of productivity within these sub-optimally performing firms. We have outlined an initiative, dubbed a Productivity Improvement Program (PIP), that combines specialized training to develop a cadre of local Technical Production Advisors who can deliver factory-tailored productivity training and coaching services, led by one or more globally experienced, senior Technical Experts, with infactory training and production coaching to be delivered to small- and medium-sized, QIZ approved, export-capable factories. A Senior Program Manager and Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Expert comprise the remaining professional staff, with administrative support. The proposed PIP builds on the independent productivity training center model developed by Nathan Associates and its partners in Cambodia with support from the local mission of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Originally Published in New Cloth Market, March-2011