Digital World 2017 showcases the best of tech in BD

Staff Correspondent
Thursday, December 21st, 2017


The ‘Digital World 2017’, the biggest ICT exposition in Bangladesh, concluded on December 9, drawing overwhelming response as more than five lakh people, mostly youths, visited the four-day event.


With its slogan ‘Ready For Tomorrow’, the IT exposition started on December 6 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center with a total of 502 stalls of 300 organisations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the mega event.


Nearly 50 seminars and conferences were also held as part of the fair focusing on different aspects of the country’s IT sector. The main attraction of the Digital World was Techtalk with humanoid robot Sophia.


At the concluding ceremony, a total 47 persons and organisations from different sectors were awarded for ICT-related innovation, innovative ideas or innovative use of ICT. Speaking at the concluding function, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Bangladesh has been able to reach the Digital World because of the country’s young generation. He hoped that Bangladesh will also be able to develop its own lifelike robot ‘Sophia’ at the next Digital World in 2018.


State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who presided over the closing ceremony, said Bangladesh will soon become an IT hardware-exporting country. He said the government is now setting up 28 IT parks in the country, which will create jobs for three lakh youths by 2021. Palak also said they are working to create jobs for 20 lakh youths in the IT sector, also by the 2021, through providing them with IT education, training and other facilities.


Bhutan’s Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Dina Nath Dhungyel said their country wants Bangladesh to become a smart country in the near future. He said Bangladesh is now talking about Digital Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “But I want to see not only Digital Bangladesh, but also smart Bangladesh, smart Dhaka in the next five to 10 years.”


President of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Mustafa Zabbar said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the county’s IT sector to a new height. He, however, said the country’s existing education system is not friendly to the digital age. “It won’t be enough for us to change curricula in higher education. We’ll have to change the curricula from the primary level education.” Mustafa Zabbar expressed dissatisfaction saying, “Still, we need to pay 15 percent VAT and five percent surcharge to use the internet.”


The BASIS president urged the government to promote local software companies and local products for boosting the country’s IT sector.


Major takeaways from DW17


People from different strata, mainly enthusiastic young boys and girls, thronged the fair venue to gather knowledge on digital technologies and innovations. In one discussion titled “‘Women in Digital Economy”, successful women leaders in their own fields especially in ICT sector of the country were invited to share their stories of success to inspire the youth.


Journalist Munni Saha, Startup Bangladesh Investment Advisor Tina Jabeen, Jullia Quazi planning director at PWC, Dohatech New Media chairman Luna Shamsuddoha, and Moner Bandhu founder Tawhida Shiropa, among others spoke. Government has come forward to help the women fulfill their dreams with many opportunities and now the family members also have to come with very positive mindset, said Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Managing Director Hosne Ara Begum.


She said they are providing not only training to the women, they are also creating the opportunity of job for them. Tina Jabeen said government has provided funds for the entrepreneurs and it is a big opportunity. She said every woman needs to have a purpose and this purpose drives a woman on her way. Jullia said every woman should have a brand adding “We need to develop and raise our voice.”  “#She Means Business” a programme of Facebook to help the woman entrepreneurs on the ground both in urban and rural areas, was officially launched in Bangladesh at that time.


Facebook South Asia Policy Programs Manager Rajat Arora, among others, was present.


In another discussion titled “Combating Cybercrime and Propaganda,” Mohammad Arfe Elahi, IT Manager of a2i programme of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the government has already planned to introduce a social media mechanism, which is important to combat cybercrime and propaganda. “A process is on to form a team to scan social media propaganda and crimes with a view to containing these,” he said.


Elahi said digital literacy needs to be increased to remove cybercrime phobia. “We need to include ‘cyber security and propaganda’ in the textbooks of schools and colleges to create awareness in this regard,” he added.


Lutfor Rahman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CONTESSA Solutions and Consultants Ltd, said corporate houses and companies should raise awareness among their employees about preventive measures of cybercrimes. Shyamal B Das, Chief Technical Officer of BRAC Bank, said, “We can’t stop cybercrimes, but we must build awareness against such crimes.”


A new project named “Digital Municipality” was also launched to establish a digital platform in municipality sector to manage all types of resources in an organized, effective and efficient way and provide one-stop fast services to the people of Bangladesh.


KOICA, the ICT Division, BCC, a2i & LGD jointly launched the project with a budget of US$ 1 million grant assistance.


The project is expected to open new horizons for Bangladesh by making available of the easy process of getting public services like property management, online councilor certificate, holding tax, water bill etc. within a single system and the citizens would get all services through online, also by mobile devices, said the KOICA. The project will help to reduce the time of getting various public services.


Several initiatives have been identified for the formulation of the e-Government Master Plan for Digital Bangladesh and implementing e-Government aiming to materialise the Vision-2021 set by the current government. The formulation of ICT Road Map through bringing 52 ministries/departments, 68 directorates and agencies under Bangladesh National Enterprise Architecture Framework (BNEAF) will play special role in implementing the e-Government Master Plan.

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