- E-documents aim to create paperless offices, disposing of over 21.7 million files.
- Oxford Internet Institute (OII) ranks Bangladesh second in the online labor force in the world.
- A monthly services of around 96 thousand crores is executed through Mobile Phone Services (MFS).
- 109 high-tech parks, software technology parks, and IT training centers have been established.
Initially, the idea of creating a digital Bangladesh appeared to be more of a political slogan than an achievable goal, a perception that persists among those unfamiliar with the country’s digital strides. Bangladesh now stands as a trailblazer in the digital landscape, achieving remarkable success in instigating a profound digital transformation.8,843 digital centers have been set up across the country, which have provided nearly 84.26 crore services to citizens in the last decade and a half.
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Digital Bangladesh, a major success amid the Covid pandemic, has showcased the country’s resilience and global recognition in research circles. Should the epidemic have arisen prior to 2008, around 170,000 educational establishments would cease operations for a span of two years, leaving a profound impact on 5 crore students and 3lakh women entrepreneurs.
“Our goal is to equip Bangladesh for the future, and the wheels of progress are already in motion. No force can impede its momentum. Our word has been kept, and the digital transformation of Bangladesh is a reality today. Nobody can refute that statement”-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh has secured the second spot in the global online labor force rankings, as reported by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). The nation’s entrepreneurial landscape is thriving, hosting around 2,500 startups that have collectively attracted an investment of $1 billion. This has resulted in the creation of direct and indirect employment opportunities for an estimated 2 million people.
A Quantum Leap in ICT Advancements
Executing the digital vision involved a focus on human resource development, digital government, connectivity and infrastructure, and the promotion of the ICT industry- the four foundational pillars of the vision. Continuing with this ethos, the government founded the Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Centers and made ICT education mandatory for students in Classes 6 to 12. Additionally, within a mere 14 years, 13,000 Sheikh Russel Digital Labs are successfully being established nationwide, ensuring that our youth are thoroughly versed in ICT knowledge.
Reflecting on the year 2008, the country’s ICT exports were a modest $26 million. Fast forward to the current scenario, and the figures have skyrocketed to $1.4 billion. The government’s forward-looking agenda is set on elevating ICT exports to an ambitious $5 billion while concurrently fostering employment for 3 million individuals within the sector by the year 2025.
The government has allocated funds to enhance education and ICT training. More than 59,000 laptops, multimedia projectors, sound systems, and internet connectivity have been distributed to over 50,000 government primary schools, fostering the development of multimedia classrooms. Furthermore, the integration of ICT in agriculture is actively encouraged.
Advancements in Technology and Education Initiatives
Government Investment in Education:
- 59,000+ Laptops, Multimedia Projectors, Sound Systems, and Internet Connectivity provided.
- 50,000+ Government Primary Schools for Multimedia Classrooms.
ICT in Agriculture:
- Smart Krishi Card
- Digital Agriculture (Pilot) Project
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Water Management Project
Furthermore, there has been wide use of ICT in government services. The government has digitized about 2,000 government services so far. Supported by the provision of online services, citizens have saved 1.92 billion hours during the last 13 years.
Hi-Tech Parks: A Global Model for Innovation and Investment
Bangladesh is also actively advancing its technological infrastructure by creating hi-tech parks to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. Various Hi-Tech parks have been set up nationwide, equipped with cutting-edge amenities like high-speed internet, advanced telecommunication systems, and a reliable power supply.
These parks are strategically designed to attract both local and international investments in the information technology (IT) sector, fostering job creation and contributing significantly to economic expansion. As part of a broader plan, the government has outlined ambitious targets to generate millions of jobs in the IT sector by 2025, with the development of hi-tech parks serving as a fundamental element in realizing this vision.
A total of 109 high-tech parks, software technology parks, and IT training centers have been established, with business activities kicking off in 11 of these parks. In addition to the government’s initiatives, 18 private institutions have been recognized as software technology parks, contributing to the establishment of a thriving technological ecosystem. These parks currently accommodate 190 domestic and foreign companies.
In a significant achievement, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority received the WITSA GLOBAL ICT EXCELLENCE AWARDS-2019 for its noteworthy contribution to Digital Bangladesh and high-tech park infrastructure development.
High-Tech Parks & Centers:
- Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Kaliakoir, Gazipur
- Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park, Jessore
- Janata Tower Software Technology Park, Dhaka
- Sheikh Kamal IT Training & Incubation Center, Natore
- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park, Rajshahi
- Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center, Rajshahi
- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park, Sylhet
- Heroic Freedom Fighter Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal Software Technology Park, Chittagong
- Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center, CUET, Chittagong
- Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center, KUET, Khulna
- City Hi-Tech Park in Demra, Dhaka
E-Services Leading the Charge
E-Services, stemming from the Bangladesh National Digital Architecture (BNDA), represent the culmination of efforts by government organizations. These services encompass government-to-government (G2G), government-to-citizen (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), and government-to-employee (G2E) interactions.
The Onepay system has been launched allowing citizens to pay government services using mobile phones. Over 82 services have been linked to the OnePay system, and over 1 crore 17 lakh citizens have benefited from this system. The digital security help desk has been setup to assist citizens in case of cyber security incidents. Over 15,000 people are receiving the service every month.
Throughout the pandemic, individuals accessed emergency services, including the police, fire department, and ambulances, by dialing 999. A staggering fifteen crore people enlisted for assistance via the ‘Surokkha app.’ Universal Bangla QR has been introduced to expand digital payments and the Interoperable digital transaction platform ‘Binimoy’ launched for cashless transaction.
E-documents have been introduced to create paperless offices. So far, over 21.7 million files have been disposed of through e-documents. Digital Bangladesh’s initiatives enabled processing over two crore e-files via mobile phones, conducting 3.47 lakh hearings, and granting over two lakh bails. In addition, online agriculture marketing platforms ‘Hortex Bazar’ and ‘Food for nation’ were launched.
As articulated in the election manifesto, the Prime Minister’s vision for a Digital Bangladesh, evolving into a respected middle-income nation after 50 years of independence, centered on fostering cohesive and sustainable digitization for the shared benefit of society. The government’s unwavering integrity and visionary approach, have expedited our journey to proudly stand as citizens of a middle-income, technology-driven Digital Bangladesh in a mere 13 years. Digital Bangladesh is not just a destination now; it is a dynamic and evolving narrative of success, resilience, and global recognition.