The information and communication technology (ICT) sector has provided employment for around 10 lakh youths in the last decade, President Abdul Hamid said on Wednesday.
"Bangladesh ranks second in the world in freelancing and at present, there are more than 6.5 lakh freelancers in Bangladesh," he said while inaugurating the country's largest ICT event – Digital World 2020.
"The event is a befitting initiative and it will push our progress in the ICT sector," the president said at the opening session of the virtual three-day exhibition through video-conferencing from his official residence Bangabhaban.
He said that Bangladesh has been growing remarkably in the ICT sector for over a decade, adding that the country currently supplies software and IT services to around 60 countries.
This has been possible because of better infrastructure, low-cost Internet bandwidth and increased power generation, said Abdul Hamid adding, once per Mbps bandwidth was Tk78,000 which now costs below Tk300.
"The number of Internet users has also risen during the past decade. Before 2009, there were one million Internet users in the country, now the number is over 100 million," he added.
Through establishing digital centres across the country, more than 13,000 entrepreneurs have been created at the local level and half of them are women.
There are plans to set up 10,000 more digital centres, said the president, adding that 5.85 lakh youths have also been given ICT training.
Further, the Internet connection has been provided to 3,400 unions through an optical fibre cable, he said.
Keeping the new industrial revolution in mind, the government has made a plan to build 39 high-tech parks across the country, which will create employment for more than three lakh people, expects the president.
The government is still working to improve the IT sector further, he said.
Organised jointly by the government and the private sector, the event was first held in 2012. Since then, it has been held every year until 2017. This is the sixth time of this mega event after breaks in 2018 and 2019.
This year, the programme is being held both in-person and virtually due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
The programmes, including the opening ceremony, award-giving and closing ceremony, will be held at the Bangladesh Film Archive.
The virtual portion of the event will feature: software showcasing, an e-governance expo, an eCommerce Expo, a ministerial conference, a freelancer conference, a musical concert, and seminars.
A virtual "Mujib Corner" will be available in the Digital World on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
To participate in the Digital World, the audience needs to register by visiting www.digitalworld.org.bd, and needs to download the app to visit the virtual digital world.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology AKM Rahmatullah, Senior Secretary to the ICT Division Zeaul Alam, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Computer Council Parthapratim Deb, and BASIS President Almas Kabir also spoke at the programme.