by Our Correspondent in Dhaka;
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the global leaders to forge a strong partnership on digital cooperation for the future generation to achieve the common goals.
“Nearly half of the world’s population does not have access to basic internet. We must narrow this gap,” she said while delivering a pre-recorded statement for a high-level virtual event on the sidelines of the 75th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.
Hasina said the current novel coronavirus pandemic has revealed the strength of digital services and also exposed the digital divide. She was talking in the event titled “Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations”.
Bangladesh has witnessed a boom in the internet due to its push for digitalization as the government was pursuing a campaign for Digital Bangladesh by 2021, she said.
The South Asian country’s internet users stood at 103.48 million, she said. “Our digitalization has afforded our people huge opportunities to become change-makers,” she added.
The Prime Minister said the government’s focus on digital connectivity has facilitated economic development and catalyzed social changes, including women’s empowerment. “It’s helping SDGs implementation and fighting against COVID-19,” she said.
Hasina pledged to establish digital academies and centres of excellence in every secondary school of the country by 2030 considering emerging job markets led by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Bangladesh set its goal to turn the country developed by 2041.
Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, Co-founder of Alibaba Group and also Co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal, Inventor of World Wide Web (www) Tim Berners-Lee, CEO of XPRIZE Foundation Anousheh Ansari, Rwandan ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire on behalf of Rwanda President Paul Kagame, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, among others, spoke at the event.
The premier joined the event at the invitation of Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Houlin Zhao, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).