Simultaneously with wide-scale government and private sector initiatives, the 29 hi-tech parks are moving to better prepare Bangladesh for the upcoming fourth industrial revolution, widely known as 4IR, with their heavy infrastructure and technology facilities, and it offers investors tax holiday and cash incentives against exports.
The government has developed a very cost-competitive business environment in the parks for the entrepreneurs where they can work with large projects, big data, artificial intelligence, develop software, and manufacture hardwares, officials said.
Highlighting the opportunities of the parks, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Managing Director Bikarna Kumer Ghosh said the government set an example of success in connecting rural Bangladesh with the internet, developing digital labs, preparing the students in the most competitive way.
He believes the initiatives and the parks will help grow an ecosystem for the 4IR.
He came up with the remarks at an event of the International Investment Summit 2021 on Sunday.
In the session titled "Leveraging 4IR: New Avenues for Innovative Investment" Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT urged local and international investors to invest in the country's ICT sector, particularly in the parks.
In the last 12 years, the country has advanced a lot, the minister said.
Now 22,000 new computer engineers are coming to the market each year, while thousands of schools are setting digital labs, helping the sector be full of competent young talents.
The minister said Bangladesh was now the second largest country in freelancing. Its annual local market for ICT and IT enabled services rose to $1.4 billion, while the country is exporting worth $1.3 billion.
However, the country's e-commerce market was almost untapped and the annual turnover in local digital commerce hovered at $3.1 billion, the minister said.
He hoped that the country would see significant growth in each of the areas.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services President Syed Almas Kabir in his keynote speech said in Bangladesh the 4IR is likely to make around 50% jobs vulnerable by 2030 on average, especially in apparel, leather, tourism, furniture, agro processing industries.
As the world is pushing for the 4IR after the 3rd industrial revolution lost its momentum to drive the economic growth, the World Economic Forum's 2020 estimates that the 4IR would cost millions of jobs, while the good thing is upskilling, reskilling and a mass ICT competitiveness would create even more human roles in the world economy.
At the event, Systech Digital Ltd MD M Rashidul Hasan said his firm, with local talents and resources, recently virtualised the office of a US company which has 1000 offices in 100 countries and the success now is attracting an increasing number of clients for the firm from many countries.
Kamal Quadir, the Chief Executive Officer of the country's first startup unicorn BKash said, creating solutions for the local market itself is a big business here in Bangladesh and the country can help the world through exporting their digital services.
e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh President Shomi Kaiser said global digital commerce would be the ultimate opportunity for the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh while the local digital commerce market is set to grow to $5bn by 2023.
Samsung R&D Institute Bangladesh Gazi Munir Uddin was among the panelists of the programme moderated by Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman and attended by a number of innovation investors from home and abroad.