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UN trade body lauds Bangladesh’s e-trade growth

  • Published at 01:13 am July 27th, 2019
UN trade body lauds Bangladesh’s e-trade growth-Rajib Dhar
Photo: Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) on Thursday handed a report detailing Bangladesh’s e-commerce growth to Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi

The main UN body that handles trade, investment and development lauded Bangladesh for facilitating e-commerce growth over the past years.

The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) on Thursday handed a report detailing Bangladesh’s e-commerce growth to Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi.

According to the report titled “Bangladesh Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessment”, the country has laid down an exemplary digital foundation and is striving to prepare its citizens for the digital future, in accord with the Digital Bangladesh initiative.

The report indicates the enormous growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and its young, dynamic and IT savvy population can only make things better.

Shamika N Sirimanne, UNCTAD director of technology and logistics, while handing over the report, said: “Bangladesh is fertile ground for e-commerce to take root and benefit companies and consumers alike”.

- 71% people enjoy mobile internet

- 0.14% of mobile financial services are digital payments

- 8,000+ Union Digital Centers nationwide support e-government operations

- No provision for data protection in existing law

- Regulatory gap in copyrights and trademarks

The report is expected to inform the Bangladeshi government’s ongoing efforts to realize the vision of its digital strategy and to build a robust, safe and business-friendly e-commerce ecosystem.

Minister Munshi said: “The report provides useful insights that will guide us as we address remaining challenges and tap the unprecedented opportunities provided by e-commerce.”

Bangladesh’s ICT sector has grown by 40% annually since 2010, thanks to public and private sector initiatives. This success is a case study in policy development, the report notes.

Challenges and recommendations

The report identifies challenges that need to be addressed, especially for people living in rural areas, where connectivity and lack of skills hinder a digital development.

Two-thirds of Bangladeshis live in areas that still lack internet and less than 4% of the people use 4G-capable devices.

Also, last-mile delivery challenges and security concerns make operations difficult in the remote areas, stressing the need for logistical improvement.

Efforts to tackle these and other barriers to e-commerce should be developed, the report recommends. It further calls for continued collaboration between public and private sectors, increased cooperation between development partners, effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and a resource mobilization strategy.

 “We look forward to working closely with UNCTAD to implement the actions suggested in the report,” said State Minister of ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak.

“This report is just a beginning of much collaboration that lies ahead us. We want to create examples by converting suggestions into actions,” said Mostafizur Rahaman Sohel, convener of BASIS E-Commerce Alliance Bangladesh, an association of e-traders.