FutureNation, a coalition to create economic opportunity

Diplomatic Correspondent

11 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Government, private, and development sector in Bangladesh come together for the first time under the "FutureNation" coalition to accelerate the economic growth of the country after the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling Youth for a demographic dividend.

A national consultation workshop was organised on Wednesday (Mar 10) jointly by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the former's conference room to introduce the FutureNation programme to different stakeholders.

FutureNation has emerged in the post-COVID world as a collective effort to create decent work and entrepreneurship opportunities for the nation. The programme envisions enabling Economic Opportunities for All in Bangladesh by 2041. Speaking on the occasion, Salman F Rahman,      Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, highlighted the importance of the partnership between private and public sectors while inaugurating the workshop as the chief guest.

"It has been one of the most important agendas of our Prime Minister to have more and more public and private partnership for country's graduation from LDC. Congregation like FutureNation, will not only help us to recover from the COVID but also make the future generation ready          

to withstand the 4th Industrial Revolution and even the 5th Industrial Revolution," he said.

Rahman also stressed the importance of vocational training for the youth to reduce the unemployment rate, said a press release of the UNDP.

Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, attended the closing ceremony as the chief guest.

While addressing the workshop, he said, "Youth constitutes 67% of the labour force. If we want to benefit from it, we must have a skilled youth demographic. FutureNation can play a significant role in building the next generation of our country, specially after COVID".

UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee emphasised on achieving economic independence beyond borders. "Half of our young population will enter the labour market over the next two decades, and with their contribution, Bangladesh will sustainably undertake and complete its journey toward being a fully developed nation. Even ahead of that, we have our eyes set on 2030, and we are already in the decade of action," he added in his welcome remarks.

BIDA, Executive Chairman, Md Sirazul Islam said, "There is no alternative to improving the investment services for the development of Bangladesh and also create a congenial environment for foreign investors. A crucial aspect of giving them the comfort of investing here is to provide them with the confidence to get the necessary skills.”

 “Therefore, to drive our economy further, creating a skilled workforce is a must. FutureNation is such a program that can serve as the centrepiece of all these modules, and we must work together to make sure that we can thread the pieces together and give rise to the new Bangladesh, a Bangladesh where skill will be our commodity on the global market."Earlier, Acting CEO of Grameenphone, Jens Becker presented the keynote paper on FutureNation as a private sector lead as a post COVID19 recovery work stream formed in 2020. He emphaised on taking up a holistic approach involving, government, private and development Sector and solve it by working together. Among others, representatives from the government, private sector, development partners, were present.

According to UNDP, the FutureNation Programme is also aspires to take a strategic position to become a leading economic enabler by building agile eco-system connecting industry experts to accelerate economic opportunities through investment development, workforce capability development and relevant enablement supports.

The programme will build the capacity of the youth workforce to contribute to the national economy and develop entrepreneurs.