Policymakers, leaders, and negotiators from various sectors convened on the first day of the JCI Smart Bangladesh Summit to discuss the essential steps needed to build a Smart Bangladesh. On the opening day, both local and foreign speakers provided valuable insights and guidance.
Empowering Responsible and Tech-Savvy Citizens
The speakers emphasized in the first session that building a smart Bangladesh requires not only increasing the use of technology but also ensuring responsible and proficient utilization. Additionally, they stressed the importance of making technology products affordable to facilitate the development of a smart Bangladesh. In the inaugural session, titled "Empowering Responsible and Tech-Savvy Citizens," held shortly after the Smart Bangladesh Vision was announced, esteemed individuals such as Manik Mahmood, Head of Innovation Cluster of A2I, Rayana Hossain, Managing Director of Isho, media personality and activist Abdun Noor Tushar, Yahya, Chairman of Life Spring Foundation, and Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, shared their perspectives. Barrister Olora Afrin moderated the session.
Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, highlighted the importance of digital literacy as a foundation for building a smart Bangladesh. He emphasized that the digital world has no boundaries, making digital literacy crucial for the younger generation. Azman further emphasized Grameenphone's commitment to innovation, as no country can progress without it. He expressed that Smart Bangladesh cannot be achieved without embracing innovation.
Abdun Noor Tushar, media personality, stated that providing quality devices and technology training is vital for enabling smart citizens to contribute meaningfully to society.
Yahya Amin, founder of Life Spring, cautioned that while embracing technology, it is essential to prioritize safety and ethical use, urging the government to pressure social media platforms into adopting localized community guidelines instead of universal ones.
Driving Economic Growth through Innovative Financial Strategies
During the second session, titled "Driving Economic Growth: Do Innovative Financial Strategies," held in the afternoon of the first day, speakers highlighted that being an entrepreneur requires more than just money—it demands the right idea and a mindset for progress. The session featured esteemed individuals such as Farhad Zahid Sheikh, Chief Strategist of A2I, Mamun Rashid, PwC Bangladesh Country Client and Markets Lead, Khalid Hossain, Head of Digital Banking at Mutual Trust Bank, Saima Rahman, Founder and CEO of S Ventures Consultancy, Pranab Mitra, Analyst at Floris Ventures, and Syed Mosaib Alam, Chief of Staff at Shopup. The session was moderated by Altamis Nabil, an author, trainer, and social activist from the Be Positive Foundation.
Farhad Zahid Sheikh, Chief Strategist of A2I, emphasized that although ample funding is available for various ICT division projects and innovative ideas, preference is given to exceptional ideas with future business potential. Investing in such ideas has the power to bring significant societal changes.
The speakers collectively underscored the significance of innovative ideas and their potential for driving economic growth. They emphasized that society can benefit immensely from these necessary ideas.
Technology Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building
In the third session of the Smart Bangladesh Summit and Expo organized by JCI, titled "Technology Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building," entrepreneurs from diverse sectors and A2I officials emphasized the indispensability of collaborative efforts across all sectors for developing technology infrastructure and enhancing capacity. The session, which took place from 4:50 PM to 5:35 PM, was moderated by Fazle Munim, Manager at Ernst & Young's Government and Public Sector.
Esteemed speakers, including Ishtiaq Sarwar, Managing Director of Amar Pay, Hafizur Rahman, Technology Analyst at A2I, Tasnuva Ahmed, Director and COO of Astha IT, Lt. Col. Rakibul Hasan, COO of Link-3, and Pribadi Suryanth Marshall, Founder CEO of Privy Indonesia, deliberated on the multifaceted development of technology in Bangladesh.
Hafizur Rahman, a technology analyst at A2I, shared that the government is committed to empowering the private sector, evident through the establishment of the National Data Center. This initiative encourages local businesses to utilize domestic data centers in the future.