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Bangladesh to achieve Smart Nation status by 2041 thru innovative initiatives

Published : 30 Dec 2023 11:44 PM | Updated : 31 Dec 2023 01:25 PM

The nations steps into the era of digital Bangladesh to achieve the ambitious programme of ‘Smart Bangladesh by 2041’ through innovative initiatives.

The groundwork for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ has been laid through the successful implementation of Digital Bangladesh. Such a shift has already witnessed tremendous modernization in almost all public service sectors, making the century-old system history.

The transition from Digital Bangladesh to Smart Bangladesh aims to be even more technologically advanced, inclusive, and integrated.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on December 12, 2022, announced the ambitious vision of constructing ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041. The journey from 2023 to 2041 will span 18 years and will be marked by a focus on four key pillars: Smart Citizen, Smart Economy, Smart Government, and Smart Society.

The Aspire to Innovate (a2i) initiative, executed by the Cabinet Department and the Department of Information and Communication Technology with support from UNDP, has played a crucial role in driving innovative initiatives. 

These initiatives are geared towards delivering modern IT-based, inclusive, and accessible citizen services. a2i has also been proactive in tailoring services to meet the individual needs of citizens. Over the years, a2i and its initiatives have earned more than 17 national and international awards, recognizing their innovative contributions to technology-based services.

As Bangladesh embarks on the Smart Bangladesh journey, the nation is committed to leveraging modern technology to create a more inclusive and integrated society. The strategic pillars of Smart Citizen, Smart Economy, Smart Government, and Smart Society will guide the efforts over the next 18 years. The announcement by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signifies a bold step towards a technologically advanced and forward-thinking Bangladesh.

Innovative Initiatives and Recognition:

Aspire to Innovate-a2i, implemented by the Cabinet Department and the Department of Information and Communication Technology, supported by UNDP, has played a pivotal role in delivering modern IT-based, inclusive, and accessible citizen services. a2i's initiatives have earned over 17 national and international awards, showcasing excellence in technology-based services.

The Covid-19 Telehealth Center received the UN World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Award-2023.

Ekshop was honoured with the United Nations SDG Digital Gamechanger Award for bridging rural-urban gaps in e-commerce services.

The National Intelligence Employment and Entrepreneurship (NICE) and Muktapath platform won the Witsa 2023 Global Innovation and Technology Excellence Awards.

National and International Recognition:

a2i’s dedication to welfare, inclusive education, and digital financial inclusion earned it the National Human Welfare Medal 2021 and accolades at the 5th Bangladesh Innovation Award-2023.

ISO Certification and Accessibility Guidelines:

Recognizing the importance of transparency in government procurement, a2i achieved ISO certification for procurement management. The organization is also at the forefront of ensuring inclusive digital services through the formulation of Accessibility Guidelines.

Establishment of a2i as a Policy Agency:

The 'Agency to Innovate (a2i)' bill passed in the 11th National Parliament marks a significant step in establishing a2i as a policy agency in the IT sector. The transition from its inception under the Prime Minister's Office in 2009 to a policy agency reflects the evolution of a2i's role in shaping the nation's digital future.

Global Campaign and e-Quality Center:

a2i’s global endeavours include the launch of the 'e-Quality Center for Inclusive Innovation' at Elksha, contributing to the global campaign (#ZeroDigitalDivide) aimed at reducing digital inequality. The International ICT Innovation (I-3) Matching Fund under the e-Quality Center is providing financial grants to technologically backward countries.

International Conference on DPI and AI:

a2i’s leadership in creating ecosystems like Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) was underscored by the International Conference on DPI and AI. The 'Dhaka Charter 2023,' with 10 key activities, emphasizes strengthening DPI and AI to reduce the digital divide.

Innovative Initiatives and Smart Services:

a2i has spearheaded several smart initiatives, including the National Helpline Smart Service (333), Smart E-Trade License, Integrated Electronic Toll Collection Service (Ekpass), Student Learning and Summative Assessment App (Craft), and Smart Pregnancy Monitoring System.

Innovation Challenges and Blended Education:

a2i’s commitment to fostering innovation is evident in various challenges, such as the Smart District Innovation Challenge and the Rocketry Innovation Challenge. The organization also facilitated an International Consultation on Blended Education to harness its potential to create skilled manpower.

National Disaster Helpline 333:

During the recent cyclone ‘Mokha,’ the National Disaster Helpline 333 played a crucial role, receiving over 14 lakh calls and providing essential information and assistance.

As a2i continues to lead the charge in innovation, accessibility, and inclusive development, Bangladesh's journey towards a Smart Bangladesh by 2041 takes significant strides, positioning the nation as a global player in the digital arena.