State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak on Wednesday said the government will allocate a floor free of cost in the forthcoming 12 high-tech parks for local IT start-ups to create entrepreneurs.
The junior minister came up with the announcement while addressing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the ICT Division of Bangladesh ICT Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved setting up high-tech parks in twelve districts in the country.
“IT parks will dedicate one floor to local start-ups to attract investment from young people to create entrepreneurs in the country’s information and technology sector,” said Zunaid Ahmed Palak.
The MoU was signed at the Software Technology Park, Janata Tower in the capital, aiming to help Bangladesh make the transition to a more inter-connected and knowledge-driven society.
The ICT Ministry’s additional secretary, Harunur Rashid, and UNDP Bangladesh Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee signed the MoU respectively as the representative from the organisations.
The partnership was sought to place ICT at the heart of the country’s national development efforts, fostering innovation to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The MoU is a flexible and dynamic arrangement, allowing the ICT Division and UNDP to collaborate in designing and developing new projects and initiatives.
Through closer cooperation, the institutions plan to harness and expand the positive power of the internet and communications technology, developing new strategies for engaging youth, improving technical skills of population, and making Bangladesh a notable player in the fast-moving ICT industry, according to the MoU.
Palak said the ICT must be included in all sectors and in all development activities in order to achieve SDGs.
“Bangladesh is the seventh largest market in the world and we are also enjoying demographic dividend. With this, we will make Bangladesh the next global IT destination.”
In his address, Sudipto Mukerjee said: “We talk frequently about the need to embrace and promote technological solutions to development challenges, and the agreement signed today marks a concrete step in this direction.”
“We have moved from speaking to doing, and plan on doing much more.”
The UNDP country director hoped that closer cooperation with the government in ICT sector can promote a more inclusive digital engagement of people of Bangladesh, and lead to a more effective “all-of-society approach” to common development goals.
Mentionable, ECNEC approved the establishment of 12 hi-tech parks in different districts at a cost of Tk1,796.40 crore to move closer to a digital economy.
The parks will be built in Khulna, Barisal, Rangpur, Chittagong, Comilla, Cox’s Bazar, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Natore, Gopalganj, Dhaka and in Sylhet.