POST TIME: 9 February, 2020 12:27:26 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 February, 2020 06:58:13 PM
Digital progress to help nation face challenges, says Salman
4th industrial revolution

Digital progress to help nation face challenges, says Salman

Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman speaks during a panel discussion on ‘Startup Investment Landscape: South Asia and Southeast Asia’ at a hotel in the capital yesterday. independent Photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman has said that it will be a challenge for Bangladesh to take part in the fourth industrial revolution, but hopefully Bangladesh will overcome the challenges as the nation is moving ahead digitally.

"We've a big challenge in the form of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Currently, the world is getting ready to face this challenge. And we too must be ready to face it,” he said.

The adviser was speaking as chief guest at a panel discussion on ‘Startup Investment landscape: South Asia and Southeast Asia’ in a hotel in the capital yesterday.

The adviser urged business leaders to prepare to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, adding that “Challenges will be created as the upcoming fourth industrial revolution will be extremely tough.”

“We have already achieved the target of USD 1 billion ITS exports. Until you have created provision for free access of capital investors, the startup and venture capital environment will not grow up,” he said.

Slaman F Rahman, also an MP of the Dhaka-1 constituency, said, “We need to adapt technology to overcome the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Rahman said concerted efforts are needed to develop skilled human resources to face the challenges.

“We’ll have to work more for skill development to face the challenges and the government has planned to enhance the national skill development authority,” he mentioned.

Now, it is a recognized fact that in the last eleven years Bangladesh’s economy has seen remarkable transformation, he mentioned.

Rahman also explained the fact behind the success. “Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina concentrated on three facts to change the economy of our country — Energy, Agriculture and Digital Bangladesh.”

“We are improving our energy sector. Ten years ago, our power generation was 3,000 MW, while today it is 24,000 MW. We are exporting 4,000 MW to India,” he said.

He said, “We never thought agricultural development will take place in such a way. We are fourth in rice production and third in vegetables. It is very difficult to develop in agriculture as our country is densely populated, but we have overcome the situation.”

“Bangladesh is now a digital country. Ten years ago, the government took up a plan to make Bangladesh digital. Today we have a fibre optic backbone all over the country at the union level,” he added.

“We need to teach our children computer coding right from the primary school, so that they can do programming soon after completing school,” he said.

“People ask me how did this happen. It happened because there was an opportunity, and there was good governance. These two basic elements helped attain the growth,” he added.

Salman F Rahman said the government is creating database for those working as freelancers and, hence, they will be able to work independently within a certain norm.

“Currently, we are in the second position in the number of freelancers, and they are annually earning more than USD 1 billion.”

Every freelancer is a businessperson and they will need money as their business grows, Rahman said, adding that the number of freelancers is also rising.

He urged the authorities to empower the people with proper skills and stressed funding.

“I will tell the organizers to focus on workshops and financial institutions. Not only banking, other financial stakeholders and institutions are important too,” he said.

At the programme, Naoki Ito, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh, praised the ICT development in Bangladesh, and said Japan sees the ICT sector in Bangladesh as very promising.

“It will play a good role in the industrial sector and is the future for development. Japan and Bangladesh will be connected further in the ICT sector,” he said.

Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed, chairman of Janata Bank Limited, Masa Isona, principal of DEFTA partners, Shawkat Hossain, general secretary of the Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh, Munir Hasan, founder of ‘Chakri Khujbo Na, Chakri Debo’, Ian Sikora, director of the Openspace Ventures, were present at the panel session.

Rubaba Dowla, president of TiE Dhaka, moderated the session.

Speakers emphasized focusing on financial technology. They urged the authorities to change the current education system, making it vibrant and motivating students in the ICT sector. They also urged support for the local entrepreneur.

Startup World Cup 2020, Bangladesh Region, is the biggest startup competition in the world, with more than 150 startups applying for the regional competition for flying to the Silicon Valley bearing the Bangladesh flag.

After two rounds of judging, with an online screening round and a preliminary judging round, the top eight startups of the country have been selected for the grand finale of the Startup World Cup 2020, Bangladesh Region.