The government has undertaken a project to set up digital leadership academies in 64 districts for a digital economy, and to ensure its flourishment in Bangladesh.
The project will increase the income of the IT sector by creating a conducive environment for the digital economy in Bangladesh, infrastructure development, skills development and job creation.
The project titled "Enhancing Digital Government and Digital Economy (EDGE)" has been approved in the last Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting on December 7.
The total cost of its implementation has been estimated at Tk 2,541.64 crore. Of this, Tk 34.59 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk 2,507.05 crore from World Bank loan assistance.
Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division will implement the EDGE project by December 2026.
The purpose of the project is to assist in the implementation of policies for creating and developing an environment for the digital economy.
In addition, for the development of the digital economy, skilled manpower will be created and job opportunities will be created by formulating strategies and formulating action plans and training to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Moreover, necessary changes and stakeholder management will be made for the development of a digital economy.
Domestic and international organisations will be encouraged to invest in Bangladesh to enhance the digital capabilities of the public and private sectors and to digitalise small and medium enterprises, to expand the digital economy.
At the same time training, research and innovation centers will be established.
In this regard, Nasima Begum, Member (Secretary), Department of Socio-Economic Infrastructure, Planning Commission, who is in-charge of the project, said, “The project will increase the income of IT sector by creating a favourable environment for digital economy in Bangladesh, infrastructure development and skills development and job creation.”
Government revenue collection will be increased, she said adding that, “The project will also play an important role in creating a conducive environment for the digital economy in the country by achieving economic growth through enhancing digital capabilities, creating infrastructural facilities for transformation into developed countries by 2041, creating employment through research, training and innovation.”
Nasima said that there are some 4,000 IT and software companies in the country and they exported IT materials and software worth $1 billion in the last fiscal year.
She said that the EDGE project would expedite the materialisation of “Digital Bangladesh” in the country adding that around Tk 514 crore has been kept as block allocation in this project for facing the post Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The EDGE project will ensure an integrated, cloud-computing digital platform for all government agencies and improve cyber-security, which will result in savings of $200 million in the public sector's IT investments.
Further, it will build resilience during future crises, whereby the platform will enable the government to operate virtually and deliver critical public services to citizens and businesses.
The project will create 100,000 jobs, with a special focus on women, train 100,000 youths in digital and disruptive technologies and establish a digital leadership academy and centers of excellence.
It will also help raise the revenues of IT firms by $300 million and promote local IT firms in international markets.
To reduce vulnerabilities from the pandemic and prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the project will help digitalise small and medium enterprises and strategic industries.
The government is set to transform Bangladesh into an advanced economy by 2041. Digitalisation is a must to achieve this goal. Following the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country has been moving forward with the blessings of Digital Bangladesh. It has created huge opportunities for the people of the country. Moreover, the world has come closer due to the digitalization. People of rural areas are getting the same facility of cities and towns due to digital capability. The youths of Bangladesh have experienced a revolutionary change so far. Setting up the digital leadership academies in all districts will surely avail more opportunities for the people to accelerate the economy.