on Post COVID-19: Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Employment in the context of current status of Skill Development and readiness for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

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Webinar on Post COVID-19: Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Employment in the context of current status of Skill Development and readiness for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) (Sub-episode 3) jointly organized by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) held on 3rd October ,2020.

The Chief guest of the webinar, Mr. M. A. Mannan, Planning minister of Government of Bangladesh emphasized on collective efforts of the academia, industry and the Government to use the different tools of 4IR to address the challenges and harness the opportunities to promote innovations, investments and growth in line with sustainable development goals and Bangladesh’s aspirations to become a developed country by 2041.

President, CCIFB Syed Mahmudul Huq moderated the event; he said that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into immense pressures on individuals, enterprises and societies pushing them into accelerating the pace of use different tools of 4IR. He mentioned that countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan could successfully manage and mitigate the fallout of the pandemic by utilizing different tools of 4IR like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and other emerging technologies. He said that by deploying the same tools and technologies, we could create new products, new industries and new jobs.

Dr. Mehdi Anwar, Professor of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Connecticut, USA and the keynote presenter of the event highlighted the challenges posed by cyber-enabled 4IR and exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic which require industries in Bangladesh to re-orient themselves and adopt online platforms to remain globally competitive.

Professor Satya Prasad Majumder, Vice Chancellor, BUET, the planning for 4IR requires identification of possible challenges posed to local industry, assessment of technology gaps, and trained workforce.

Ambassador Riaz Hamidullah, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who has been working as the focal point for Bangladesh for World Economic Forum, emphasized the need to map the key industries across manufacturing including agro-processing and service sectors in Bangladesh that could use digital or automated processes and technologies; and stand to benefit out of enhanced/optimized use of some of the key 4IR technological tools, applications and ideas.

Dr. Rashid Hamid, Team Leader UN 4IR Study, discussed on global importance of 4IR and state of readiness of Bangladesh as he emphasized any success in 4IR requires a resilient and advanced internet infrastructure which requires implementation of appropriate policies, understanding of data transfer and localization, reliable power grid and/or distributed and sustainable electric power and the tools.

Mr. Abul Kasem Khan, Chairman, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) emphasized on engaging Private Sector and stakeholders in Policy Design for improving investment climate, policy continuity for improved predictability on business climate and confidence, from business deregulation, financial and tax reforms, improvement in cost of doing business conditions and therefore, a high powered national competitive strategic action process to tackle the new realities.

Dr. Rubana Huq, President of BGMEA spoke how anticipated transition to automation and cyber-enabled modalities will have great economic impact on the nation and in the near term on RMG industries.

Dr. Asif Naimur Rashid, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Robi Axiata Limited pleaded that the current 4IR policy in the country should be anchored from a central policy owner at government level whereas it is be now distributed across several ministries with very limited visibility or control. He also suggested the present policy needs indicate specific incentives for 1st movers/ risk takers trying 4IR on industrial scale and there must indication of reutilizing factor of the spare labor in other sectors.

Mr. Aurélien Sostaponti Head of Industry and Cleantech Department, Business France in charge for South Asia including Bangladesh, shared the ongoing practices and planned strategy to incorporate aspects of 4IR to promote business between France and Bangladesh.

While speaking as the Chair of the event, BIDA Executive Chairman Mr. Md. Sirazul Islam, reiterated BIDA’s commitment to work with the industry, academia and research institutions to face the challenges and harness the opportunities as offered by emerging technologies under 4IR.

At the end Mr. AKM Hafizullah Khan, Project Director, Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Project (ESDP), BIDA offered vote of thanks.

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