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Experts: Wider data management, IT-skilled manpower a must for 4IR

  • Published at 10:46 pm November 13th, 2018
web-Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali -4ir
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali speaks at a national workshop on 4IR, jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and World Economic Forum (WEF) at a Dhaka hotel on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

The comments were made at a national workshop on 4IR

Bangladesh needs to focus more on data management and create a skilled IT-oriented workforce to advance further towards the 4th industrial revolution (4IR), experts and stakeholders said on Tuesday. 

Bangladesh, considering its current capacity, can still step forward to taste 4IR, also known as Industry 4.0, by following the trend of growth in its IT industry over the past 10 years, they added.

The comments were made at a national workshop on 4IR, jointly organized by the Foreign Ministry and World Economic Forum (WEF) at a Dhaka hotel.

In his speech as the chief guest, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said: “Thousands of our youth have already put Bangladesh high in the global IT freelancing map. Thanks to their passion, imagination and steady work, digital Bangladesh is now a reality.” 

As many as 4,554 Union Digital Centres, e-procurement, more than 100 simplified public services, and smart health cards are among the initiatives leading the nation to the 4IR pathway, he added.

“There is just no point in arguing if it is good or bad, if it will benefit Bangladesh or not. 4IR is not something for us to accept or, reject or, regulate. At the micro or macro levels, each of us has to get ready – in the government or, in business or, in research-- and move fast,” the minister said. 

Dubbing Bangladesh as an example of the aspirations, resilience and innovation of millions of young people, he said almost half the Bangladesh population will be living in urban areas by 2030.

“They will demand all kinds of goods and services that we can estimate today. It is time that we join hands with all to embrace 4IR,” he told stakeholders.

“Let us not be modest in our ambitions. If a few teenagers can roll out Pathao (an app-based ride-sharing service) or our researchers can unlock the complex genomics of jute and ilish, then we can do so much more with Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Drones, etc,” Mahmood Ali added.

Fahim Mashroor, CEO of bdjobs.com, said the IT industry has flourished significantly in the last 10 years, mostly on the basis of G2C (government-to-citizen) initiatives. 

“The whole paradigm in the IT field is shifting, as players in the industry are following the G2C format instead of the government-to-government platforms,” he observed, advising industry insiders to meet the trends and demands of customers.   

“Data management is still a major issue on the way to 4RI for the country,” he further said.

Luna Shamsuddoha, chairman of Dhaka-based software firm Dohatec New Media, said data mining, especially in the public banking sector, still needs to be developed.

However, she is hopeful that state-run banks will avail the core banking system soon. 

Luna said cybersecurity and inept handling of blockchain are two major obstacles for IT-related business and services.

Syed Nasim Manzur, managing director of Apex Footwear Ltd, called for increased use and conversion of available data.

“Every evolution of data has to undergo breakdowns in order to confirm their best usage as expected,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for a competent workforce with proper IT training.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, Sonia Bashir Kabir, managing director for Microsoft Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Laos, Anir Chowdhury, policy advisor of the a2i (Access to Information) Program at the Prime Minister's Office, and Shailesh Shardha, head of India 4IR Centre, WEF, also addressed the event.