Digital Bangladesh

 

Digital BangladeshIn 2009, Bangladesh Awami League Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her capable ICT Affairs Advisor Sajeeb Wazed, embarked on the journey to build a technologically advanced ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by the year 2021. In the last seven years, the country has come a long way in realizing that dream. In all indicators of information and communication technology (ICT), the country has made tremendous strides.

Number of Internet users has increased to 64 million in July 2016, from 1.5 million in 2006. The government now plans to bring 90% of population with Internet access by 2021. Number of mobile subscribers has increased from 20 million in 2006 to 131.3 million in July 2016. 3G mobile coverage has been arranged nationwide, and the government is now working on providing 4G mobile technology to the countrymen by next year. 

To prioritize ICT in education, 75,000 ICT professionals are being trained by the ICT Division. Multimedia labs are being provided to all 170,000 educational institutions across the country. 24,122 are teachers being trained on ICT equipment so that they can teach children education in a digitized manner.

To build world class IT infrastructure, hi-tech parks and software technology parks are being set up. Country’s first software technology park was opened in 2015. In July, 2016, the country’s first IT incubation center was launched, which through mentoring and support, will help create 100,000 new IT jobs. Bangladesh’s ICT export earnings rose from $26 million in 2008 to over $300 million in 2015.

Bangladesh has been leading the way in ensuring digital financial inclusion through popularizing mobile banking. So far, 29 banks have been approved for providing these services. The average daily transaction in mobiles is close to $100 million. In 2015, the sector saw 53% growth year-on-year. As a result, USAID has commented: “Bangladesh has a rapidly growing mobile financial service industry, accounting for more than 8% of the total registered mobile money accounts globally”.

To ensure greater mobile security, a massive campaign was conducted by the government to biometrically register mobile SIM cards. More than 100 million existing SIMs were registered while all new SIMS must be mandatorily registered. This is already cutting down phone-assisted crimes.

Works have started on the country’s first satellite, Bangabandhu-1, which is to be launched on 16 December, 2017. Once complete, this will save Bangladesh $14 million annually in addition to extra earnings from renting the satellite. IN order to ensure uninterrupted internet connectivity, the country is now joining the second submarine cable, links of which will be complete by 2016.

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