Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are two vital countries in the SAARC area (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). Bangladesh economy is mostly market-based and export-oriented and has been on a rapid growth path in recent times. Their GDP growth has almost reached 8% annually. Technology adoption has been a key component of the nation’s growth and development. The government has also been promoting the Digital Bangladesh scheme as part of its efforts to develop the growing ICT sector. As per Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser to the prime minister, “It is likely that Bangladesh will become a major player in the ICT sector in future”.
In the case of Sri Lanka, the country has plans to create a ‘knowledge-based social market economy’ and an ‘export-oriented economy’ to encourage economic growth.The government boosts the ICT industry. Key bodies that strongly influence the ICT sector include,- The Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) as the government ICT agent, Computer Society of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM). Sri Lanka also has few government owned and privately managed IT Parks.
Digital Bangladesh -A Long-Ranging Vision for the Future IT Growth of the Country
Digital Bangladesh with Vision 2021 provides a huge incentive for enhanced utilization of digital technology in the country. Vision 2021 is an envisaged image of where Bangladesh should target to reach by 2021 for example 50 years after Bangladesh’s independence.
A vital constituent of Vision 2021 is Digital Bangladesh. Its key intention is to ensure socioeconomic change through heightened and focused ICT adoption. A typical example of the implementation of Digital Bangladesh is in improving literacy and digital skills and awareness. This is only possible through incorporating ICT as a part of the overall education syllabus. This will help to prepare the future workforce of the nation.
Some Key Digital Applications
Let us mention some innovative examples of digital applications in use in Bangladesh. One is in Land Records. Some new-age applications have come about like ‘e-Filing’ and Digital Land Records that are fast, efficient and preferred by the citizens. The earlier manual method was time-consuming, and citizens wasted a lot of time just chasing different stakeholders & government officials. The entire process is now online.
Another is Mobile Health. mHealth, or mobile health, is a unique tactic that uses mobile technologies (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) to extend health services and info to patients. Experts concur that the Bangladesh mobile revolution has shaped a massive opportunity to implement mHealth to transform the way healthcare is delivered in the country.
bKash is a vital mobile financial service in Bangladesh regulated by a central bank that provides a myriad of cheap digital services. Some of these services are money transfers, payroll, mobile wallet and savings account. No wonder the utilization of bKash is rising rapidly in the country.
Another example of digital technology implementation is e-Governance. This has totally altered the process of public procurement in Bangladesh. Everything is done over a single web portal providing total transparency in the purchase process.
Sri Lanka – Rising Slowly but Surely
Today, Sri Lanka is focusing on inclusive growth through building a smart digital infrastructure across the island nation and re-positioning Colombo megapolis as a world class urban development. The digitalization process in Sri Lanka continues today with increasing societal & economic impacts. Within South Asia the telecom sector was first liberalized here.
The government has adopted digital literacy in the education sector. Recently, ‘cloud smart classrooms’ have been introduced. Many e-governance services are being expanded. Also, a new national data centre is being planned by ICTA.
Recently, Sri Lanka has been slowly rising in the Networked Readiness Index, showing that the digital transformation of the economy and society is on the rise. Overall, use of ICT in economic activities, such as, e-banking, mobile banking, e-bus ticketing & mobile POS are on the rise.
In Sri Lanka, current adoption is modest but substantial potential exists with efforts from all ecosystem players including government, telecom service providers, global ICT players and ICT associations to enhance end-user awareness and popularize cloud adoption. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) launched a national cloud,” AKAZA” that provides affordable end-to-end cloud computing services for businesses.
AMI Recent Study on Bangladesh and Sri Lanka reflect these changes.
A recent study by AMI on the Bangladesh ICT market indicates that the cloud market in the enterprise segment is anticipated to grow over 20% CAGR in the next five years. Trends like an increase in internet penetration, rapid mobile devices/smartphone adoption and the popularity of social media result in data explosion & growing storage needs. These necessitate the growth in usage of datacentres both captive and hosted. The latter shows a higher future growth likelihood due to its multiple benefits. Some of these being savings in cost, scalability and space.
~Subrata Sarkar, Senior Research Analyst