Speakers at a webinar in the capital on Thursday stressed the need for prioritising long-term policy, modernisation of education, infrastructure development, industry-academia collaboration and skills for taking advantage of the 4th industrial revolution.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) arranged the webinar titled ‘4th Industrial Revolution in the wake of COVID-19’.
Addressing the function as the chief guest, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the telecommunication sector is an ocean for 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) as some 65 percent people in the country are below 35, which is an added advantage in terms of the 4IR.
The number of internet users was only 8 lakh in 2008 and only 8 GBPS bandwidth was used in 2008, but now 2,100 GBPS bandwidth are being used, he mentioned.
He said 5G will be available mainly in major cities of Bangladesh by 2023. “The country’s education system and curricula need to be modified to cope with the advancement of 4IR.”
DCCI President Shams Mahmud in his welcome speech said the 4IR is evolving fast and reshaping the global industrial, trade and economic landscape. Bangladesh still lags behind in adopting 4IR technologies in the industrial ecosystem and this adoption will accelerate the country’s growth momentum.
“Despite the challenges of low-skilled job loss in the short-term, launching 4IR technologies will unlock a new era of growth and employment across all sectors of Bangladesh. To seize the opportunities of the 4IR, the government may form a high-level national committee engaging relevant agencies and experts from public and private sectors.”
He recommended considering 4IR perspective in the upcoming national industrial policy adding that a robust 4IR technology policy is needed to support the application of Big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Robotics and IoT for adding value to industrial and economic competitiveness and connecting digitally-enabled global value chains.
The DCCI President put emphasis on sector-wise reskilling, upskilling and development of human resources in line with the 4IR demand.
Additional Secretary to the Industries Ministry Ms Parag said the SMEs of Bangladesh are using technology now and they are producing various diversified products. “The 4IR will open up new avenues especially in the recycling industries.”
New technology and automation will create new job opportunities and skill development, she said adding that considering every aspect, the ministry is drafting the National Industrial Policy. “Covid-19 pandemic taught us how to be digitized. We’ve no options but to adopt the 4IR or we may lose competitiveness in the international market.”
Dr Anowarul Fattah, a professor of EEE Department at Buet, emphasised motivating entrepreneurs about how to adopt the 4IR.
He called for creating inter-university linkage, inter-ministry and industry collaboration for capacity building as well.
The BUET professor suggested the establishment of a centre and initiating some pilot projects to create awareness among industries.
Sajid Amit, associate professor at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, in his keynote paper highlighted that manufacturing industries are transforming almost the entire system of production, management and governance.
According to the World Economic Forum, about 800 million people worldwide may lose jobs by 2030. “There may be a risk of job loss for low-skilled workforce for 4IR, so we need to take reskilling and upskilling schemes to sustain jobs.”
He recommended focusing on a skill-based education system and long-term policy measures.
President and CFO of Pathao Ltd Fahim Ahmed, general manager of SME Foundation Md Sirajul Haider, associate professor of Department of Organization Strategy Leadership at Dhaka University Md Rashedur Rahman, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Asif Ibrahim, UNIDO Country Representative Zaki Uz Zaman, DCCI Senior Vice President N K A Mobin, former DCCI vice-president Kh. Atique-e-Rabbani, BGMEA director Mohammad Abdul Momen also spoke on the occasion, said a media release.