‘ICT can play key role to diversify Bangladesh’s exports’

 ‘ICT can play key role to diversify Bangladesh’s exports’

Bangladesh's export basket dominated mainly by garments needs to be diversified, where ICT can play the key role, experts said today.

Garments account for 90 per cent of exports to EU from Bangladesh, but ICT can be a very promising and important sector for the diversification, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley said.

"The shortfall we have in Europe for ICT experts will grow to 8 million by 2030 from the current 1.5 million."

"We have a kind of brain gap in the EU. We will be scouting the world for talent, not to steal talent, but to work with the talent," he added.

He was speaking at a session titled "Ambassadors Night" on the sidelines of the BASIS SoftExpo 2023.

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer said one of the fields where Bangladesh has made significant progress is the ICT industry.

"The accessibility to internet, for example, has spared in this country."

It is not only an achievement, but an indication of the potential that exists for increased economic activity in ICT not just between Australia and Bangladesh, but also between Bangladesh and the world in general, he said.

"Australia's trade with Bangladesh has grown extremely dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years. It's now $3 billion a year. We want to see this grow and expand."

Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen said: "The potential that Bangladesh has for tech sector has brought our attention. It's the next tech powerhouse."

"The growth of Bangladesh's IT sector is undeniable and the government's commitment to digital Bangladesh must be commended and acknowledged," she said.

It is also important to make technology work for democracy, she added.

The Denmark's ambassador said Danish companies have already discovered Bangladesh as an ICT sourcing destination. "And I am sure that it has huge potential in the years to come."

The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam moderated the session titled "Ambassadors Night".

"There is a hidden agenda in what we are doing tonight and that is to make the envoys as ambassadors of Bangladesh, promoting the potential of Bangladesh's IT sector in your country," Anam said.

"The local tech companies must have taken note that there is a brain gap. Let's fill up the gap."

Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said the government has always played a supporting role in the development of the technology sector.

"We will work with BASIS to build Smart Bangladesh. If BASIS wants, we can sit with its 2,000 members and formulate policies to form Smart Bangladesh."

Academia and the government should collaborate on research and development while promoting the sector and building skilled human resources to fuel IT service exports, said President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Russell T Ahmed.


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