Home Bangladesh Nepal BD have unique opportunity to boost co-op in IT Sector: ICT Sec
Bangladesh - Diplomatic - September 3, 2023

Nepal BD have unique opportunity to boost co-op in IT Sector: ICT Sec

Special Correspondent: Nepal and Bangladesh have the unique opportunity to enhance cooperation in the IT sector.  Both countries enjoy excellent bilateral relationships and should explore avenues of partnership and knowledge exchange, said Md. Shamshul Arefin, Secretary of Department of ICT of Bangladesh Government.

Speaking at the meeting as the chief guest on “Strengthening Nepal-Bangladesh Bilateral Tech Relations”, he said Nepal’s growing IT sector and Bangladesh’s innovative strides prepared a fertile ground for collaboration that can yield mutually beneficial outcomes. “Tech collaboration is not just about signing agreements; rather it is also about forging lasting relationships through research and development and knowledge sharing. Let us foster an environment where curiosity thrives to bring about meaningful change to enhance the quality of life of our citizens,” said the ICT Secretary.

In collaboration with Genese Solution and NAS-IT, the event organized by Embassy of Nepal in Dhaka at its premises. Senior IT professionals, business leaders, academicians, policymakers, and investors in the tech community of Bangladesh and Nepal were present at the event.

In his welcome speech, the Ambassador of Nepal to Bangladesh, Ghanshyam Bhandari, said that Nepal’s booming IT sector was generating numerous career opportunities, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and contributing to the overall economic growth of the country. The development of the sector is driving innovation and digital transformation across various areas, such as healthcare, education, tourism, and finance. Ambassador Bhandari quoted a recent study conducted by Kathmandu-based IIDS that valued IT service export industry in Nepal at approximately 515 million USD in 2022, representing an outstanding growth of 64.2 per cent compared to 2021. It is heartening to see that Nepal-Bangladesh partnership in the field of technology has been growing steadily. For instance, Pathao, a ride-hailing platform that began its journey in Bangladesh, has changed how people commute in Kathmandu after its launch in 2018, he said.

Ambassador Bhandari mentioned that IT companies like Genese Solution have been offering enterprise solutions to business houses in Bangladesh. “Lately, there has been an increasing interest of investors and entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to explore new avenues in this area,” he added.

Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Anil Kumar Dutta, said the Nepal government was keen to collaborate with Bangladesh in areas like cybersecurity.

He said Nepal had already enacted the Electronic Transaction Act and was working on introducing a new IT bill and the bill on cyber security. He said the Nepal government has approved the Digital Nepal Framework and was implementing the Digital Nepal Acceleration project. Saying that more than 600 IT companies were operating in the country, Dutta stressed that the government was going to establish data centres in all seven provinces of Nepal.  President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Russell T Ahmed, said that Bangladesh earned USD 30 million by exporting ICT services in 2009 when the Digital Bangladesh programme was announced.

 Today, Bangladesh earns over US 1.5 billion every year by exporting ICT services, he added.  Stating that Bangladeshi companies now produce complete core banking solutions, Ahmed said there was much room for collaboration between Nepal and Bangladesh. “We are in the same boat. Rather than competing, let us collaborate and grow together,” he added. Anjani Phuyal, founder and Global CTO of Genese Solution, a UK-based digital solution company, in his keynote presentation, underscored the immense potential of Nepal’s IT service export industry that contributed to 1.4 percent of the country’s GDP and 5.5 percent of the foreign currency reserve in the last year, as per a recent study. The industry was valued at USD 308 million in 2020, which rose to over USD 515 million in 2022.

Phuyal suggested that Nepal and Bangladesh could promote tech collaboration in areas including digital infrastructure enhancement, e-governance solutions, digital education and skill development, healthcare transformation, cybersecurity solutions and innovation and research, among others.

He also called for cross-country institutional collaboration among the governments, private sector and IT entrepreneurs. He moderated an exclusive interaction with government officials and IT business leaders on Nepal and Bangladesh’s digital priorities, initiatives and policy support for tech infrastructure development and promotion.

General Secretary of Nepal Association for Software and IT Services Companies (NAS-IT), Nirdesh Dwa, remarked that Nepali companies are getting more international exposure now. “There are cross-border opportunities for Nepali and Bangladeshi companies. We can learn from high-tech parks in Bangladesh and encourage collaboration between the private sector and academia,” he added.

The event aimed to create a platform for meaningful collaboration and knowledge exchange to explore potential synergies and coordination between the two countries in the information technology (IT) field. It provided a forum to explore mutual growth opportunities through enhanced tech cooperation among key stakeholders from the private and public sectors of both nations.

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