According to a report by International Data Corporation (IDC), Bangladesh has all the ingredients to become a high-tech manufacturing hub for domestic and international brands. The country has 80 million young people aged 25 or over. We offer a wage advantage over our larger neighbour India of nearly USD 80 per month. The country has other economic advantages that are not lost upon foreign investors. With a GDP of USD 249 billion and an average GDP growth rate of around 7 percent, some 121 public and private universities and some 51 polytechnic institutes are churning out tens of thousands tech graduates, Bangladesh has come under the technology radar internationally.
When we couple these advantages with the government drive to set up exclusive zones: 28 IT parks and some 79 economic zones, we begin to comprehend why companies like Samsung are setting up manufacturing plants in Bangladesh. Bangladeshis spent USD 300 million on laptops alone and that amount jumps to USD 1.5 billion if we add all gadget imports! This has prompted companies like Walton and Huawei to start assembling laptops locally. Indeed, the gadget and laptop market is growing anywhere between 12 – 20 percent per annum. However, while we are generating serious interest from major manufacturers and software companies, we need to get a serious move on fast tracking development of both economic zones and technology parks. Infrastructure development has been a bane in our economic efforts and policymakers need to do something to expedite completion dates.