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Steps to foster digital economy on

Published : 11 Oct 2020 08:30 PM | Updated : 12 Oct 2020 01:08 PM

A World Bank-funded mega project titled ‘Enhancing Digital Governance and Economy’ involving Tk 2,592 crores is now under process to develop the required capacity of the country’s ongoing ‘Digital Government’ and ‘Digital Economy’ programmes.

Information and Communication Technology Division of Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology will implement the project by 2025.

The World Bank has agreed for giving the loan mentioning that the loan agreement with the World Bank will be signed after the development project proposal (DPP) is approved soon by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).

Md Shahabuddin Patwary, Chief Additional Secretary of ERD, World Bank Branch, told Bangladesh Post, “The World Bank has agreed providing loan of $295 million to enhance the capacity of digital governance.”

“Once the DPP is approved, the loan agreement will be signed,” he added.

“The government is going to take up the project for various reasons,” he said adding that the government capacity building through digital use, digital governance and digital economy platforms will be established.

“The project is being undertaken to provide timely technical education to the youths of the country ahead of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, ensuring employment in the 21st century and ensuring cyber security,” he mentioned.

Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, additional secretary (Planning and Development Division) of ICT Department, said, “The capacity of digital governance in our country is not yet widely known. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the demand will increase further.”

“Other countries are moving forward faster than Bangladesh in IT sector,” he said adding that, “Neighboring country, India is earning $100 billion from the ICT sector, where we are earning only one billion.”

“Many other countries like ours are also earning $15 to $20 billion a year from ICT,” he informed.

Ghosh also said, “Bangladesh is one of the most promising countries. There is no workforce like Bangladesh. If we can send our youths abroad with ICT training, it is possible to create one crore jobs per year from this sector alone,” he mentioned.

Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said, “The project will help the people and the economy bounce back by creating more and better jobs and promoting direct private investment in specialized economic zones while enhancing the foundations for a digital economy.”

The World Bank said that the $295 million Enhancing Digital Government and Economy (EDGE) Project will establish 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 resiliency during future crises, whereby the platform will enable the government to operate virtually and deliver critical public services to citizens and businesses, it added.

The WB informed 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, it added.

To reduce vulnerabilities from the pandemic and prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the project will help digitalize small and medium enterprises and strategic industries, it mentioned.