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Oxford Prof Dercon appreciates Bangladesh progress in technology

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 20th June, 2022 06:27:31 PM
  • Print news

Oxford University’s Prof Stefan Dercon has appreciated the progress of Bangladesh in empowering economy through digital transformation over a last decade.

“The opportunity of digital transformation is not only for service delivery, but it changes how goods and services are produced, capital is exchanged, and how production and distribution are organised,” Prof Dercon of Blavatnik School of Government at University of Oxford, said while presenting keynote at a seminar in Dhaka on Monday.

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University organised the conference styled ‘Digitalisation and New Frontiers of Service Delivery: Opportunities and Challenges’ at Brac Inn in the capital.

In his keynote, Prof Dercon mentioned that the digitalisation is creating changes everywhere including in Bangladesh, which is evident in the ways many services are offered.

The professor of economic policy also shared the key global insights on the use of digital technology for inclusive development and commented that ‘digitalization at times can be chaotic but is a more systematic introduction of digital technology to the economy and society.

He also supported his statement by saying that the RMG sector was made profitable due to the digitalisation of port management and transportation.

The conference brought together researchers, practitioners, and policy actors from around the world to share their experiences, learnings, and insights on a wide range of issues around digitalization and development.

In welcome speech, BIGD Executive Director Imran Matin said that digitalization has come a long way since the government announced Digital Bangladesh agenda in 2008.

He said the conference was inspired by the idea that there is real potential for digitalization to improve governance, development outcomes, and processes in Bangladesh.

“This conference also stems from a belief that we need a strong learning-focused knowledge agenda to be able to deliver on the right pace of the sequence strategy. We will need to deliver on a meaningful, impactful, and transformative digitalization agenda for Bangladesh,” he added.

BRAC University Vice-Chancellor Prof Vincent Chang said the academy has shifted focus to technology from social issues because digitalisation is crucial for any development.

In his speech, Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Policy Advisor Anir Chowdhury shed lights into the the achievements, future challenges, and opportunities of digitalization in Bangladesh.

Anir said the country has come a long way following the Digital Bangladesh declaration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as 65 percent of population has been connected to internet.

He pointed out that Bangladesh started with 10 digital services, and now it has 1500. In the early days, there were only two service centers (where people could go to avail of digital services) but now the number is 8200, with many falling under private partnerships.

The three-day conference is scheduled to end on Wednesday.