“Digital World 2017,” the biggest ICT exposition in Bangladesh, concluded in Dhaka on Saturday drawing overwhelming response as more than 500,000 people, mostly youths, visited the four-day event.
With its slogan “Ready For Tomorrow,” the IT exposition started on Wednesday at Bangabandhu International Conference Center with a total of 502 stalls of 300 organisations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the mega event.
Nearly 50 seminars and conferences were also held as part of the fair focusing on different aspects of the country's IT sector.
The main attraction of the Digital World was Techtalk with humanoid robot Sophia.
At Saturday’s concluding ceremony, a total 47 persons and organisations from different sectors were awarded for ICT-related innovation, innovative ideas or innovative use of ICT.
Speaking at the concluding function, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Bangladesh has been able to reach the Digital World because of the country's young generation.
He hoped that Bangladesh will also be able to develop its own lifelike robot 'Sophia' at the next Digital World in 2018.
State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who presided over the closing ceremony, said Bangladesh will soon become an IT hardware-exporting country.
He said the government is now setting up 28 IT parks in the country, which will create jobs for three million youths by 2021.
Palak also said they are working to create jobs for two million youths in the IT sector, also by the 2021, through providing them with IT education, training and other facilities.
Bhutan's Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Dina Nath Dhungyel said their country wants Bangladesh to become a smart country in the near future.
He said Bangladesh is now talking about Digital Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "But I want to see not only Digital Bangladesh, but also smart Bangladesh, smart Dhaka in the next five to 10 years."
President of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Mustafa Zabbar said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the county's IT sector to a new height.
He, however, said the country's existing education system is not friendly to the digital age. "It won't be enough for us to change curricula in higher education. We'll have to change the curricula from the primary level education."
Zabbar expressed dissatisfaction saying, "Still, we need to pay 15% VAT and 5% surcharge to use the internet."
The BASIS president urged the government to promote local software companies and local products for boosting the country's IT sector.
ICT Division Secretary Subir Kishore Choudhury said the number of total visitors of the IT exhibition was more than 500,000 this year.
Besides, he said, more than 1.9 million people visited social media live programmes of the exposition.
The ICT Division in collaboration with BASIS, Bangladesh Computer Council and a2i programme of the Prime Minister's Office organised the IT exhibition.
People from different strata, mainly the enthusiastic young boys and girls, flocked the fair to gather knowledge on digital technologies and innovations.
The visitors were seen crowding different stalls and taking ideas on computers, laptops, hardware and other technological devices.
Besides, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq who passed away on November 30 was remembered in the largest IT exposition of South Asia.
A condolence book for Annisul was opened at the DNCC stall installed at the exposition which drew huge crowd. Visitors signed the condolence book.
A good number of ministers from different countries, including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Congo and the Maldives, attended the fifth edition of the fair.