Bangladesh (People's Republic of)

H.E. Mr Zunaid Ahmed PALAK
State Minister
Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology

22 October 2014

Mr. Chairman

Mr. Secretary-General
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honor and privilege for me to be here in the Plenipotentiary Conference-2014. I am very much delighted to take part in formulating the strategic plans for the vision 'Connect 2020'.

Distinguished Delegates,

The Vision of ITU to establish an information society for sustainable growth and development is very much similar with our national vision: 'The Vision 2021' declared by our visionary Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Our main objective is to establish 'Digital Bangladesh' through wide adoption of appropriate technologies, especially telecommunication and ICT in every sphere of life, economy and governance. For realizing an information society, our policy priorities include connecting all the citizens by a ubiquitous and affordable ICT infrastructure and broadband network throughout the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In line with the aforesaid vision, we formulated time-befitting National Telecom and ICT Policies and undertook a number of remarkable initiatives. As an obvious outcome of our initiatives, 98% of our geographical area and 99% our population are now under the telecom network coverage. Currently, 116 million people in Bangladesh have mobile phone connectivity and more than 40 million have access to internet facility including 8 million users of broadband connectivity. 

Dear Audience,

This year we have launched our 'National Web Portal' containing 25,000 web-sites, which is one of the largest portals in the world. Now all government offices in Bangladesh have their own interactive web-sites highlighting their activities and services. To provide an easy and affordable access to the world of digital services and information superhighway, we have set up a total of 4,517 Union Digital Centers one in each Union Council, the lowest tier of our local governance system. Around 40 million general people are receiving various kinds of services from these 'Digital Centers' every month. This model is being replicated by different other countries including Maldives and Bhutan. In recognition to our sincere effort towards bringing public services at the citizens' doorstep, this year our Prime Minister's Office has been given the prestigious WSIS Award by the International Telecommunication Union. 

Distinguished Participants,

We have already started e-Filing system in the government offices for achieving paperless office. We have also introduced e-Taxpayers' registration system, e-Tendering system, online utility bill payment and railway ticketing system. Many more digital services are in the pipeline.  Considering all these initiatives, we have been given 'Public Sector Excellence Award- 2014' by World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA). Iconic inventor in the world of information technology Bill Gates in his very recent interview with the Wall Street Journal stated "Bangladesh has been wildly adopting technology and has been a shining example of using digital technology for delivery of financial services to the unbanked poor". Nearly 13 million people in Bangladesh are getting financial services, transferring money and paying in shops by exploiting the ubiquity of cellphones. 
Dear Friends,

The objectives of our ongoing development activities include, among others, achieving 35% broadband penetration and 70% internet penetration by 2018 through a quick rollout of 3G and LTE technology. At the same time Bangladesh has taken initiatives to launch its own satellite in the orbit by 2017. Other major development plans include – enhancing computer and smartphone penetration, development of human resources in the field of telecommunication and ICT, establishment of Hi-tech and software technology parks in different parts of the country, promotion of new technologies for Value Added Services (VAS), enrichment of local content and introducing cloud based services in the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me share some independent assessments made by the renowned international think tanks. Euromonitor International mentioned Bangladesh as the 4th fastest growing key emerging economies. Bangladesh secured 'top spot' in the world in terms of 'financial attractiveness' for providing software and IT enabled services according to a recent report published by the world's leading management consulting firm AT Kearney Global. Definitely, Bangladesh has been able to exhibit its intent and seriousness to achieve the goal of establishing Digital Bangladesh and become a middle-income country by 2021. Bangladesh not only renews its sincere support in favor of the 'Connect 2020' vision of ITU but also wants to remain as an active partner in achieving the proposed goals set for growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership. We are keen to collaborate with the global community by sharing our experience and achievement in the field of telecommunication and ICT.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.