Habibullah N Karim


The growth and evolution of our digital economy

In this digital lifestyle, the demarcation between the physical and the virtual has become fuzzy and transmutable.

3w ago

Why Bangladesh's export diversification has not improved in two decades

For other sectors to expand as much as RMG has, they must be given better policy support.

How Bangladesh can boost digital entrepreneurship

It is disheartening to see that Bangladesh couldn’t find a place in the top third of the ranking in this very telling study.

Pandemic induced accelerated adoption to stay, or revert?

The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of the year 2020 has affected human civilisation like no other since the Spanish Flu pandemic exactly a hundred years ago.

Bangladesh and the ongoing technological revolution

In the last one year the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than a hundred million and killed more than two million people around the globe—the pandemic is not yet done.

Do mothers ever leave us?

We are brought into this world by our mothers with whom we have an inseparable “biome” connection.

Winners and losers in a Covid-19 economy

The novel coronavirus started to expand into all corners of the globe from the very beginning of this calendar year, as the whole wide world watched the silent spread of the contagion from those affected in Wuhan, China—the origin of the scourge—and then from returning nationals in various parts of the world.

Can Covid-19 make us stronger?

There is an old saying that “what does not kill you makes you stronger”.

The youth of Bangladesh shine on the world stage

In the last four months, the country has been swept up in the shadowy spectre of the coronavirus, snuffing the life out of our near and dear ones before their time. Lockdowns, sanitisers, face masks and social distancing have dominated public discourses of late.

A eulogy for a polymath and a mentor

The passing of National Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury marks the sudden end of the extraordinary journey of a man who was venerated by thousands of his direct students at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Brac University and University of Asia Pacific as well as thousands more, who came in touch with him through his professional and pro-bono engagements in diverse fields, to whom he was a quintessential teacher, mentor and philosopher-guide.

Are we doing enough to combat the coronavirus pandemic?

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic”. With three confirmed cases of the latest strain of the coronavirus, aka COVID-19, diagnosed on March 7 by the Institute of Epidemiology,

How IT innovations are transforming lives

The year 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade that is pregnant with a plethora of transformative possibilities with anything from artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, distributed ledger or blockchain and genetics to predictive healthcare, quantum computing, re-usable rockets and virtual reality; the world as we knew in the last couple of decades is destined to transform right before our eyes in leaps and bounds.

A daydreamer’s guide to a futuristic Bangladesh

Late Chief Justice Habibur Rahman traced the origin of Bangladesh as a land that was referred to as “Gangaridai” in Greek travel lore of pre-Christian era known for its untold riches and easy living.

Blockchain: Ticket to universality of truths?

Blockchain technology has been all the rage of late from Azkaban to Zurich, from magical realms to the real world.

How to open the floodgates for foreign investment

Like any other developing nation, Bangladesh puts a lot of emphasis on foreign direct investment (FDI) as a vehicle of growth for jobs, technical know-how and gross domestic product (GDP).

The looming climate crisis: Where is our Greta Thunberg?

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its latest warning saying that the world’s oceans are rising twice as fast as they did in the last century due to fast-disappearing ice-sheets in the Antarctic and Greenland.

The missing pieces of our tertiary education puzzle

In 1994, the country had around half a dozen public universities and zero private ones. A quarter of a century later, we now have 135 universities—a large majority of which are private. This growth in the number of tertiary-level educational institutions is certainly a

Digital Privacy: Are we giving away too much personal data?

A mere 25 years ago, we could simply take the receiver off the cradle of the phone and make sure no one disturbed us. Today, with half the global population hooked on Facebook, Hangout, Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Zoom and myriad other instant messaging

The search for excellence

More than two millennia ago, Aristotle, the great thinker and philosopher of the Socratic tradition prophesied, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” In light of this hypothesis if we ask ourselves, “are we putting in the best we

Digital land administration is the need of the hour

Bangladesh is the most densely packed human domicile in the world among nations having more than 10 million people. With more than 1,100 men, women and children per square kilometre, Bangladesh struggles to provide breathing space to her teeming millions.

Searching our souls for national unity

This epic refrain of Fakir Lalon rings around our collective South Asian conscience every time people of one religious identity inflicts mindless violence on the people of other faiths, like Hindus murdering innocent Muslims in Maharashtra,

America in search of an enemy

Roberto Goizueta, the legendary CEO of the Coca Cola Company, once said that to thrive every business must “get an enemy.”

What graduating out of LDC status means for Bangladesh

It is indeed a seminal event in the history of Bangladesh that the UN last year declared Bangladesh eligible to step up to a developing economy from being a Least Developed Country (LDC). Of course the process is gradual and due to take effect in 2024 with a grace period of three years to wean off the special dispensations of the LDC status.

White supremacists, western civilisations and eastern migrations

In 1889, Rudyard Kipling crowed: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” But the East and the West have been mingling even before his time and forever afterwards.

Financial independence: Luck or habit?

With 12.9 percent of our population still living in extreme poverty and nearly 10 percent of the global population living below the lower poverty line, financial independence is a distant dream for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Can robots and humans co-exist peacefully?

One of the biggest civilisational questions dangling in the air is when will machine intelligence overtake human intelligence.

When the network is as slow as the traffic

Going from a meeting in Gulshan to another in Motijheel one day earlier this month, I spent nearly two hours on the road which is quite common these days in Dhaka's traffic.

Dysfunctional superpowers on both sides of the Atlantic

The greatest spectacle in the life of the US president—the annual State of the Union Address before a joint congress—is now uncertain as the continued non-essential-services shutdown of the US government is currently the longest on record at nearly a month.

What we can do to keep the train of democracy on track

Emocracy works only if people who have the right to vote can exercise that right without fear or favour.

Curse of the sedentary lifestyle

Since my wife bought me a Fitbit Versa smartwatch to help me monitor my physical activity (spoiler alert: I am a proverbial couch potato), I astonished even myself

Mysteries of the past that stupefy us

The world is full of wonders and some of these wonders are from a past that defies belief. Seven hundred years ago, the Incas of pre-Columbian South America formulated an elaborate knotted-string-based record-keeping system that accurately maintained the tax liabilities of distant taxpayers in their kingdom.

The pros and cons of EVMs

The recent decision by the Election Commission to introduce Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has raised a lot of eyebrows. At the outset, it must be pointed out that EVMs are nothing new—they have been in use in many countries around the world for nearly two decades, and even in our country, EVMs have been used in local elections for several years now.

Lessons in unity from Europe

As we moved upriver on a ferry along Krems, a tributary of the Danube, small villages with surrounding hillsides and cornfields fall away like picturesque view-cards.

A case of moral decrepitude

The senseless murder of a young NSU student, Saidur Rahman Payel, at the hands of the operators of a private intercity bus has shocked the nation to its core. What have we become as a nation?

What does Putin have on Trump?

The whole world is afire since the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki on the 16th of this month. The joint press conference at the summit evidently put on display the peculiar obeisance of the “leader of the free world” towards the successor of “perestroika”—a post-Soviet strongman who wields absolute power in the largest country in the world in terms of geographical expanse spanning 11 time zones.

Challenges in bridging the digital divide

In this age of the internet and social media we are constantly deluged with free information coming from all directions. More than a billion people are frequently making status updates on Facebook, the most popular social media platform today, so much so that more eyeball time now is spent on social media advertising than the same on television, radio and newspaper combined.

China surging ahead at bullet speed

Cruising at a speed of 307 km/h, the bullet train ride from Shanghai to Beijing was smooth as silk—there was no klik klik sound typical of conventional trains as the wheels hit the short gaps between rails that we are all too familiar with on our all-too-typical trains. The only slight movement one feels on the Chinese version of the bullet train is when the turbulent wake of a passing bullet train makes the train squeeze against the air envelope of the opposing train.

Is VAT a regressive tax on the poor?

The share of value-added tax (VAT) in the national exchequer has continuously been creeping up ever since its introduction more than 27 years ago, and has increased in recent years to the point where it is the single biggest slice of revenue collections by the government.

The uncertainty continues

The Myanmar junta, under the façade of a democratically installed government headed by a titular political icon Aung San Suu Kyi, has been carrying out a campaign of brutal ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslim minority in its Rakhine province with complete impunity even though the world community is keenly aware of the atrocities and flagrant human rights

Is Digital Bangladesh taking a dive?

A quarter bigger than the last revised budget, this budget coming in at a whopping Tk 4 lakh 64 thousand crore certainly fits the pattern of double-digit augmentation from year to year with special purse strings reserved for popular mandates like agricultural subsidies, rural infrastructure and social welfare that anyone would expect in an election year.

The bittersweet truth about state-owned enterprises

Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) is a state-owned enterprise (SOE) that is among the remnants of a bygone era when, in a post-liberation war-ravaged economy, the sugar and food manufacturing enterprises left behind by non-resident business owners from pre-independence times had to be taken under the stewardship of the state.

Moral Dilemma of the drug wars

News about security forces mowing down several dozen “drug dealers” in the last two weeks has got many of us writhing in moral agony over “shootouts” happening on an increasing tempo. True, drug abuse is highly detrimental to our youth and surely drug dealers need to be checked vigorously, but committing the state-sanctioned “ultimate sin” to rid ourselves of some low-level operatives is quite disturbing, to say the least.

Some thoughts on Bangladesh's first full-scale communication satellite

On May 11 at 4:14pm US east coast standard time, Bangladesh entered the space technology history books as the latest iteration of the Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX took off from the Kennedy Space Center Launchpad 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Women's Day shenanigans and a reality check

Huge drum rolls and pageantry surrounded the recent celebrations of International Women's Day. We can obviously feel enlightened on this front, having women as the chief executive of the government and that of the parliament.

Threats of the unseen kind

A budding computer scientist pursuing a PhD at the McMaster University, Canada recently wrote a blog post on the increasing human capacity for self-destruction enabled by science. First, it was the atomic bomb created by physicists, then it was the nerve gas created by chemists, and now the neural networks created by cyber nerds that pump enormous power into artificial intelligence bots—bots that can take over our lives, manipulate our behaviour, and pretty much get us to do anything they please.

Emerging technologies for an emerging economy

Bangladesh has been riding the growth waves in the last two-and-a-half decades with spectacular results: our exports grew six folds, our GDP quadrupled and our extreme poverty levels got slashed by more than half, not to mention our 30 percent increase in longevity and other human development achievements.

Padmaavat: An epic film with lessons for us all

All that brouhaha and petty religiosity surrounding the release of the Bollywood film Padmaavat built up a huge anticipation among moviegoers around the world.

Quirks of banking and payment systems

We have some of the strangest banking and payment system strictures in the world.