Bangladesh has been promoted to the 115th rank in the latest E-Government Development Survey thanks to its satisfactory progress in the Information and Communication Technology sector over the last six years. According to the UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI), conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) every 2 years, Bangladesh ranked 115th out of 193 countries, scoring 0.4862 in the latest survey. The country has advanced 35 steps since the 2012 survey. Bangladesh ranked 124th, 148th and 150th in the surveys done in 2016, 2014 and 2012 respectively.
Addressing a press conference, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said: “In the global context, Bangladesh is progressing in digital government management because of different initiatives taken by the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.” The minister made the comment at a press conference held on July 22, 2018 at the conference room of Bangladesh Computer Council, organised to highlight the UNDESA survey results. He also said: “With the Honourable Prime Minister and her ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy's leadership, the government is working to implement 'Digital Bangladesh' and 'Vision 2021' agenda. We are prioritising on Human Capital Index and Telecommunication Index. Various projects like CRVS, Open Data Portal, National Information Portal, SDG Portal, Big Data Initiative etc. have been taken to keep the quality of our similar to that of international standards. Bangladesh will further improve its position in Online Service Index further once these projects are implemented.”
ICT State Minister Zunayed Ahmed Palak said that the government has been working to build Digital Bangladesh for last 9 years. Availability, capacity and awareness – these three things are prerequisites for the number of Internet users to increase, and that the government is working on all of these issues. He also said that, along with the Open Data Portal, an open data policy will be quickly launched and that the Digital Security Act is under consideration of the Parliament. The state minister suggested that Bangladesh’s model of e-governance can be replicated in least developed nations with which a2i has already signed MoUs. He said that this achievement has been possible because of the brave, far-sighted leadership of the Honorable Prime Minister; the capable advice, suggestions, instructions from her ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy; and the hard work of everyone including officers of the Government of Bangladesh, its citizens, and journalists.
Bangladesh had its major improvement in the Online Survey Index primarily because of using ICT tools to develop different online services and then delivering these through mobile or web applications. This strategy has helped Bangladesh advance to a better position in every survey. In addition, the position of Bangladesh has also improved in both Telecommunication Index and Human Capital Index. In 2016, Bangladesh advanced 24 steps to reach the 124th position and this year, it advanced another 9 steps to secure the 115th position.
During his presentation at the press conference, Access to Information (a2i) programme Policy Adviser Anir Chowdhury said: “We have used five ways to secure this position in the survey – 1. We have created dashboards for different government organisations and also created a kind of competition among them. 2. An internal relationship has been created between every ministry and government organisation through this competition and this has made every institution interested in delivering their services digitally from the analogue form. 3. With support from UNDESA, we have started working with the huge amount of government information and data and to realise Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have started ICT for SDG project. As a government institution, we have become more matured while working with data and information. 4. Communications have been made with citizens through different services offered by the government via different channels. 5. We have earned the capacity to develop different strategies to build technological structures.
Bangladesh’s name has come up among the first tiers within the international sphere in a very short time, mainly because of better than expected improvements in its right management, skills development in using ICTs, high speed internet services, availability of digital contents, and uninterrupted power supply. The result of these initiatives have been reflected in the United Nations E-Government Survey-2018. In the past years, Access to Information (a2i) has taken up different initiatives to make public services available at citizen’s doorsteps using ICTs. This has been possible by not only on updating information in different government websites, but also through digitisation of different government services using ICTs. Over 5,000 Union Digital Centres have been established across the country which also helped multiply the benefits of using ICTs. Through these initiatives, time spent, cost incurred and visits made to government offices for availing government services have significantly reduced. Thanks to this continuous improvement, Bangladesh has won many prestigious recognitions including the “World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize”.
Information and Communication Technology Division Secretary Juena Aziz, Access to Information (a2i) Project Director Md. Mustafizur Rahman (PAA) and other top officials from Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), ICT Division, UNDESA and a2i, and journalists from different media were also present at the event.