Dhaka — On the occasion of ‘World Telecommunication and Information Society Day,' a webinar on ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation During Challenging Times' has been jointly organized today by Grameenphone and The Daily Star.
The webinar was organized to shed light on the increasing importance of digital transformation to cope with the adverse situations emerging due to the pandemic and its merit to expedite its accelerated journey towards minimizing the usage gap.
Local and international speakers stressed the need for digital transformation to run the socio-economic activities in the changed, new-normal era, which evolved due to COVID-19. Tech thought leaders said “now” is the time to embrace the change and create a new world where technology has a significant role in aiding C19 impact and further accelerate the digital transformation towards a developed Bangladesh.
The world already witnessed the need for digital technology from all aspects to survive such a pandemic. Both government and private sector must come forward to have a strategy for a sustainable digital transformation, they said.
Mustafa Jabbar, Minister, Posts and Telecommunications Division took part in the webinar as the chief guest with BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder as the special guest, Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for Asia and the Pacific presented a keynote speech on Accelerating Digital Transformation During Challenging Times at the event while Solaiman Alam, Acting CEO and Chief Digital and Strategy Officer, Grameenphone Limited, was also present.
Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, A2i; Syed Almas Kabir, President, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS); Selim RF Hussain, CEO, Brac Bank Limited; Syed Mohammad Kamal, Country Manager, Mastercard Bangladesh, Mominul Islam, CEO, IPDC Finance Ltd.; and Adnan Imtiaz Halim, CEO of Sheba XYZ, participated in the webinar and shared their insights. Khairul Basher, Head of Communications, Grameenphone, was the moderator of the webinar.
The keynote speaker of the webinar Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director, ITU for Asia and The Pacific, delivered her speech focusing on the Connect 2030 Agenda, a shared global vision for developing the ICT sector connecting all for a better future world.
She expressed about five strategic goals of the plan and outlined eight critical areas of action for digital cooperation. Apart from it, she opined on different topics such as an overview of global ICT indicators, Bangladesh's achievements in the digital era, mobile broadband subscription rate in South Asian countries, various ICT enablers and barriers, ITU global cybersecurity index, e-government survey, connecting schools through Giga, pandemic-induced digital inequalities in education and suggestions to go forward in her speech.
Followed by the keynote presentation, experts and industry insiders talked about different aspects of digital transformations, focusing on five critical areas of the ‘Connect 2030 Agenda' proclaimed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The insights shared at the discussion is expected to stimulate further growth in the ICT sector of the country and enable the stakeholders to address better the challenges thrust upon us by the new normal.
Mustafa Jabbar, Minister, Posts and Telecommunications Division, said, “Bangladesh has achieved phenomenal growth in the ICT sector in the last decade under the able leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and with the guidance of the Prime Minister's ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy. We have to upskill the youth by collaborating with the stakeholders to harness the full potentiality of the digital world.”
He said, “We have proved that digital transformation is one of the major vehicles to tackle crises like COVID-19. Our telecommunication service provider and all other internet-based service providers are contributing a lot to run socio-economic activities.
“We together have done a tremendous job so far, and we have a long way to go. If we work together, we will have a sustainable way out of this challenging time. This is the time for cooperation and saves people through digital innovations as we now belong to a new world which does not permit physical interactions”.
Shyam Sunder Sikder, Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, shared, “Just because Bangladesh realized the significance of digitization long before, we are already reaping benefits of it. It has become more evident during the pandemic, and our attention to digital transformation has also increased manifolds. So, the Connect 2030 Agenda and the government's Vision 2041 are aligned with each other. We are committed to maximizing the benefits of digital transformation in line with the SDGs; that's why we are facilitating the telecom companies so that uninterrupted service can be ensured.”
“With a mobile internet penetration of more than 10 crores, it is inevitable that we are strongly on our way towards a digitally transformed, connected, and inclusive society. As a connectivity partner to Digital Bangladesh, we have a pivotal role in democratizing technological dividends for people from all walks of life. We have celebrated 50 years of Bangladesh by announcing 100% of our network under high-speed 4G coverage. This type of access to connectivity will empower the youth greatly and they will, in turn, shape our future. We just need to ensure we are preparing them with the right tools and mindset.” said Solaiman Alam, Acting CEO and Chief Digital and Strategy Officer, Grameenphone Limited.