Published:  01:26 AM, 06 January 2024

"From Vision to Reality: Bangladesh's Pathway to a Smart Nation"

Bangladesh's Vision 2041 strategically aligns with the transformative shifts of the fourth industrial revolution, prioritizing a digital paradigm to ensure seamless services in every essential sector, including healthcare, education, commerce, and social safety. The vision encompasses technological breakthroughs, including artificial intelligence, while actively pursuing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The roadmap further embraces cutting-edge innovations like robotics, quantum computing, self-driven cars, and integration into the global market. Over the past decade, the widespread adoption of smartphones and improved  internet accessibility has propelled Bangladesh towards the visionary goal of a Smart Bangladesh. On December 12, 2022, the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the goal of transforming Digital Bangladesh into a Smart Bangladesh by 2041. This comprehensive initiative encompasses an ecosystem built on four key pillars: Smart Citizen, Smart Government, Smart Society, and Smart Economy. Remarkably, in recent years, Bangladesh has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the field of information technology. This rapid transformation has not only modernized lifestyles across bustling urban centers and rural landscapes but has also positioned the nation as hubs with facilities rivaling those of developed countries.

As Bangladesh embraces the digital age, the role of technology in reshaping the country's future cannot be overstated. The success of the "Smart Bangladesh-2041" initiative is deeply rooted in the adaptability of its citizens and the innovative spirit of its entrepreneurs. Smart citizens are a key factor in building a successful Smart Bangladesh. They serve as influential elements affecting other factors within the framework of a Smart Bangladesh. Smart citizens are envisioned to be literate and proficient in harnessing new knowledge and innovation to transform not only their lives but also the lives of their community members. However, smart government, another pillar of the initiative, signifies the integration of technology into administrative processes, enhancing governance by making it more efficient, transparent, and accessible. The digitization of public services, from passport issuance to land deed processes, reflects the government's commitment to leveraging technology for citizen convenience. Nevertheless, the introduction of a virtual court system further exemplifies the transformative impact of technology on traditional institutions. Therefore, Smart Society aims for an inclusive environment, making technology benefits accessible to all. Services like driving license acquisition and birth/death registration digitization enhance citizen convenience. Wonderfully, technology's societal impact, evident in the COVID-19 crisis, played a crucial role in maintaining lifestyles. Eventually, to build a smart economy, the government focuses on cashless transactions, increasing per capita income, and reducing poverty. Bangladesh excels in the global software and app market, particularly in the booming e-commerce sector and the impactful use of online banking. The integration of technology into business, along with a dynamic generation of social media-savvy entrepreneurs, highlights the economic potential of the digital age.

Again, if you neglect to embrace the adoption of technology and take necessary steps, you will miss out on opportunities at double the speed. This story takes place in a rapidly changing tech world, where being adaptable is crucial for success. the information technology development in Bangladesh, marked by reduced internet bandwidth costs, robust IT infrastructure, and increased power generation, mirrors a huge revolution. Technology, now a powerful ally, empowers individuals personally and plays a big role in addressing societal challenges. However, in education, medicine, economy, politics, security, and culture, information and communication technology has sparked a revolutionary transformation in Bangladesh. The nation's rapid digitization distinguishes it as a developing country, demonstrated by its resilience during the challenging COVID-19 crisis, showcasing adept utilization of technological advantages. The vision of Smart Bangladesh is to foster an egalitarian society, eradicating disparities and ensuring equal opportunities for all. Hence, the digital renaissance symbolizes a future marked by social development, resource efficiency, increased productivity, and an enhanced quality of life. The rising demand for IT services, particularly in areas like cybersecurity and cloud computing, is generating new opportunities in computer-based occupations, fostering innovation, and contributing to overall growth.

Lastly, the way Bangladesh is progressing serves as a global example. Citizens are the main driving force accelerating this progress under the charismatic leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh's journey in information technology signifies a digital renaissance, promising a future characterized by social development, resource efficiency, productivity, and an enhanced quality of life for all. This transformative journey is ongoing, and Bangladesh stands on the precipice of continued ascendance in the digital age. As technology continues to shape the nation's destiny, the potential for innovation, growth, and societal impact remains boundless, signaling a promising era of advancement and prosperity for the people of Bangladesh.

Muhammad Abdus Salam (Shadhin)
PhD Researcher, Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Assistant Professor, Department of Management Information Systems (MIS)
Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU)

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