State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak urged world leaders to work together to achieve self-reliance through mutual cooperation rather than competition. He said, now is not the time for competition, but for mutual cooperation. Mentioning that we do not want to be self-centered, he said that we want to build a self-reliant smart Bangladesh with partners. We want to move forward through mutual cooperation with our future potential leaders.
The Minister of State made this call while participating in a panel discussion on "Economic Empowerment through the Use of Information Technology" at the Ministerial Session at the main venue of the LEAP Conference in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Former Indonesian Minister of Communications and Information Technology HE Rudiantara S. Stat participated in the panel moderated by Isak Applebaum, founder of Dubai-based consulting firm Emkan Corporation Services.
Referring to Bangladesh's unique energy resources, Palak said according to Boston Consultant Group statistics, our country now has about 3 crore middle-income consumers. By 2025, this number will increase to 5 crore. Because their ability to buy digital devices will increase during that time. Therefore, this market is attractive to foreign investors.
He also said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the driving force behind Bangladesh's growth, and he believes that the government will not do business by itself, but will create a business environment. Palak said that our youth are now becoming entrepreneurs instead of chasing jobs. That is why we are mentoring them. University Incubator Centers are being set up at the university level to develop technology skills.
The state minister said that Startup Bangladesh Limited has been formed to develop startup and innovative culture in the country.
It is the first and only venture capital fund in the country sponsored by the Government of Bangladesh with a capital of Tk 500 crore. Stating that various initiatives of the government are getting good results in the development of startups, he said that currently the startup ecosystem has been developed in the country. Most of them are run by young people. It has created 1.5 lakh direct/indirect employment with over 500 million dollars of foreign enterprise funding in the last 10 years
He said various policies are attracting foreign entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh. Already several multinational companies are doing joint venture business with local entrepreneurs. Currently Bangladesh market is very attractive to foreign ICT entrepreneurs.
It is to be mentioned that that the State Minister is in Saudi Arabia on a 7-day state visit to the 2nd General Session of the "Digital Cooperation Organization" (DCO) at the invitation of the Saudi government. He is scheduled to return to the country on February 10.