In Leveraging Digital Innovation

Ali Urges Partners To Join Hands With Bangladesh

Desk Report

Published: 23 Apr 2024, 09:47 pm

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali. Photo: Collected

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali. Photo: Collected

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has called upon the country's esteemed partners and stakeholders to join hands with Bangladesh in leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

"Together, let us harness the transformative power of technology to build a future that is equitable, inclusive, and sustainable for generations to come," he said. 

The finance minister said this while delivering the country statement at the 80th Session of UNESCAP on Monday at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on the topic titled "Leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific", according to the country statement received here today.

Ali also hoped that the members of ESCAP would take pivotal role and take coordinated actions to harness the power of digital innovation to build a better world with a sustainable and resilient future. 

Noting that all experience the same complexity and unpredictability as digital technology grows worldwide, the Finance Minister also urged the world leaders to work together to find solutions for the shared problems. 

"Cyber security and data security are two important challenges to mankind that are linked to frontier and digital technologies," he added. 

In order to overcome these alarming challenges, the Finance Minister also proposed significant international cooperation and solidarity in the form of coordinated resource mobilization, policy, and regulatory frameworks. 

"Furthermore, we must find out ways to set ethical standards and best practices for the application of Al," he noted. 

Ali said the progress of Bangladesh in digitization is not merely a testament to its technological ability, but a reflection to the country's unwavering commitment to sustainable development and inclusive growth. 

"As we navigate the challenges of the digital age, it is imperative that we remain steadfast in our efforts to harness technology and ensure that no one is left behind in the journey towards prosperity and well-being," he noted. 

Asserting that Bangladesh is deeply committed to leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development, he said it is a matter of great hope that amid various complex adversities including the catastrophic effects of the pandemic and geopolitical crisis, the rapid growth of the digital transformation has brought about substantial advancement in the Asia-Pacific area. 

While new technologies can contribute to the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals, he said it is crucial to guarantee that all countries and population groups have access to technological breakthroughs. "Bangladesh articulated its plan to transform itself into a higher middle income country by 2031 and Developed Country by 2041".

In addition, the Finance Minister said Bangladesh is committed to achieving the targets of SDGs within 2030. "To achieve all these goals and targets, incorporation and introduction of digitization in every sector is a priority area of action and playing a leading role in the implementation of the government's digital and smart Bangladesh vision,"

In an era marked by unprecedented technological evolution, he said Bangladesh stands at the forefront of harnessing digital solutions to address the multifaceted challenges of our time. 

Ali said the Digital Bangladesh Vision, declared on December 12, 2008 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, brought about significant improvements for the economic, educational and social inequality factors that determine the digital divide, including income, access to digitized services, and socioeconomic factors. 

The newly announced dream on December 12, 2022 'Smart Bangladesh' set next major step towards realizing Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's dream of Sonar Bangla, a Golden Bangladesh by achieving the status of developed country by 2041.

Built on the 4 pillars of Smart Citizen, Smart Government, Smart Economy and Smart Society, Ali said it is about bridging the digital divide by innovating and scaling up sustainable digital solutions that all citizens, regardless of their socio-economic background, all businesses, regardless of their size, can benefit from. 

The finance minister said Bangladesh has demonstrated leveraging digital innovation in all areas of its national strategies and plans. "In the realm of public services, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in digitization, revolutionizing governance and service delivery,"

He said the National Portal of Bangladesh is the largest portal of the world which connects more than 52,200 government offices. As part of the digital transformation of public services, the Government has digitized 2281 offices with a view to reducing time and cost. 

Through initiatives such as the Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, Ali said the government has prioritized the integration of technology into administrative processes, ensuring efficiency, transparency, and accessibility for all citizens. "As a result, we have witnessed significant improvements in areas such as e- governance, online service provision, and digital identity management,"

Mentionable that, Bangladesh has demonstrated notable progress, utilizing its 100pc Covid vaccination rate and in-house developed digital system Surokkha to facilitate mass vaccination. Similarly, the integration of technology into education has revolutionized learning methodologies, providing students with access to online resources, interactive platforms and distance learning opportunities. 

He said the government is executing the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan for the year 2022-2041 which has incorporated key areas for leveraging 21st century technologies to realize the vision of building a climate- resilient nation. 

In the area of commerce and trade, the Finance Minister said Bangladesh has emerged as a dynamic hub of digital entrepreneurship and innovation. "Our focus on building a robust digital infrastructure and investment in ICT parks is attracting global attention and investment opportunities. 

The government has been actively fostering the development of start-ups since 2015, resulting in approximately 2,500 start-ups in the country with an investment of around $1 billion."

The finance minister informed that the Bangladesh government launched a global campaign called "Zero Digital Divide' in 2023. The creation of 9000 digital centers across the nation has guaranteed equitable access to e-services, he said.

Ali also mentioned that Bangladesh has the honor of being the first country to establish an E-Quality Centre with the goal of ensuring a zero digital gap. 

He said Bangladesh launched South-South Network for Public service Innovation, jointly with UN Office for South-South Cooperation in 2017, with an aim to facilitate knowledge sharing, experiences and expertise._BSS 

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