Bangladesh has scored 2nd lowest, only ahead of its neighbouring country Pakistan, among 11 Asia Pacific countries to become a full-fledged and inclusive digital society, says a recent report.
According to the report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Bangladesh scored just 42 out of 100 in the Digital Society Index 2020, only marginally better than Pakistan (39) among the countries.
The report, titled "Digital societies in Asia Pacific: Accelerating progress through collaboration" and released last Tuesday, contained the index.
South Korea scored the highest among the region with a score of 84, followed by Singapore and Australia, both scoring 82.
Three South Asian countries assessed in the index scored at the bottom, with India scoring 54 ahead of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
To measure the progress of a country to become a full-fledged digital society, the index is based on five main components: connectivity, digital lifestyle, digital identity, digital citizenship and digital commerce — each carrying scores on a 100-point scale.
Among the components, Bangladesh scored highest at 52 in connectivity, reflecting continued rollout of 4G networks. The report says that Bangladesh's 4G population coverage reached 97% in 2020, indicating a significant rise in internet connectivity.
However, only 27% of users accounted for 4G connections in the country in 2020.
The report said that users should shift to 4G to improve mobile internet experience with advanced digital lifestyle services.
On the other hand, Bangladesh scored lowest at 21 in digital commerce among the components, which measured a country's advancement in financial inclusion, the level of development of the e-commerce ecosystem and the acceptance of electronic signatures.
In the digital identity component, which measured the existence of formal identity systems and digital identities, the country received 33 points.
The report suggested that to ensure economic, financial and social inclusion, it is essential for individuals to have access to digital identity.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh scored 48 in the digital lifestyle component which measures the use of smart devices to access locally relevant connections.
The report mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mobile internet for consumers. It said, "Bangladesh saw a surge in demand for telemedicine during the pandemic, leading to the establishment of 15 digital healthcare providers."
In terms of digital citizenship — online interaction between government, businesses and citizens — the country also scored 48. Improvement in this component would enable the country to increase accountability, information sharing and mutual trust, highlighted the report.