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Thursday, 18.04.2024
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

The political landscape of Bangladesh has been marked by the ambitious vision put forth by the Awami League (AL) in its election manifesto for the 12th Jatiya Sangsad election. Central to this vision is the transformation of the nation into a “Smart Bangladesh” by the year 2041. This futuristic concept draws inspiration from the smart city concept popularized by IBM, aiming to create a high-tech, advanced country where digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are seamlessly integrated into various aspects of economic, political, and cultural life.

The pillars of this envisioned Smart Bangladesh are articulated as smart citizens, smart government, smart economy, and smart society. Each component plays a vital role in fostering a comprehensive and inclusive knowledge society. To delve deeper into this transformative vision, it is crucial to analyze the AL manifesto and assess its feasibility, potential benefits for the country and its citizens, and the critical question of whether the promises made can be fulfilled.

The foundation for a Smart Bangladesh was laid with the Digital Bangladesh vision outlined in the AL’s 2009 election manifesto. Since then, the government has made strides in transforming the nation into a knowledge society, leveraging digital technologies to enhance various sectors. The Smart Bangladesh vision builds upon this foundation, incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT to create a forward-looking nation.

The AL manifesto emphasizes the importance of smart citizens who are literate and adept at utilizing new knowledge and innovations. The proposed strategy involves ensuring universal education, with a particular focus on languages, advanced mathematics, and science at secondary and higher secondary levels. Scholarships for outstanding performance in science and mathematics aim to incentivize academic excellence.

The economic component of Smart Bangladesh envisions a high-growth, sustainable, and inclusive smart economy. Targets include increasing annual export earnings to $150 billion by 2030, diversifying products, and exploring the potential of the blue economy. Job creation is identified as a key priority, with a goal of generating 15 million new jobs to reduce youth unemployment to 3% by 2028.

To support economic activities, the manifesto addresses the crucial aspects of power and transportation. The government pledges to ensure an adequate power supply, aiming to generate 40 thousand megawatts of electricity by 2030. The promise to enhance transportation facilities includes the expansion of expressways, railways, riverways, and airports.

The AL envisions a smart government characterized by efficiency, effectiveness, and service delivery. Initiatives to ensure good governance involve enhancing accountability and transparency, upholding human rights, the rule of law, and freedom of the press. The manifesto also commits to bringing individuals involved in financial crimes, such as bank money usurpation and money laundering, to justice.

A harmonious and welfare-oriented smart society is at the core of the AL manifesto. It promises universal pension, healthcare, and education. The integration of citizens into a digital health system with unique IDs aims to provide quality health services. Additionally, an international standard vaccine research center is proposed to produce vaccines for preventing various diseases.

In the pursuit of social justice, the manifesto outlines commitments to manage workers’ rights according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and emphasizes continued efforts for women’s empowerment. As a specific goal, the AL aspires to ensure one-third of the country’s political leadership comprises women.

The AL’s manifesto paints a comprehensive picture of a future Smart Bangladesh, encompassing education, economy, governance, and societal well-being. However, the feasibility and potential impact of these promises require careful examination.

The emphasis on universal education and the promotion of science and mathematics is commendable. However, achieving this goal demands significant investments in educational infrastructure, teacher training, and curriculum development. The effectiveness of scholarship programs in encouraging academic excellence will depend on their implementation and accessibility.

The economic targets set by the AL, including the ambitious export earnings goal and job creation, are laudable but challenging. Diversification of products and exploration of the blue economy require strategic planning and investments. The success of these economic initiatives hinges on global market conditions, geopolitical factors, and the government’s ability to create an enabling environment for businesses.

Ensuring a stable power supply and enhancing transportation infrastructure are critical for economic activities. The commitment to generating 40 thousand megawatts of electricity by 2030 is ambitious and requires substantial investments in power generation, transmission, and distribution. Similarly, the expansion of transportation facilities necessitates coordinated efforts in infrastructure development.

The promise of a smart government emphasizes transparency and accountability. Achieving these objectives requires systemic reforms, the implementation of technology-driven solutions, and a commitment to upholding democratic principles. Ensuring justice for financial crimes demands a robust legal framework and an independent judiciary.

The vision for a welfare-oriented society with universal access to pension, healthcare, and education is ambitious and reflects a commitment to social justice. However, the implementation of these programs necessitates meticulous planning, resource allocation, and effective delivery mechanisms. The goal of women’s empowerment, while commendable, requires sustained efforts to overcome societal challenges.

While the AL’s manifesto outlines a compelling vision for a Smart Bangladesh, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges and uncertainties associated with its implementation. Trust in the ability of the government to deliver on these promises is a critical factor.

The challenges facing Bangladesh in achieving the Smart Bangladesh vision are multifaceted. These include economic complexities, global uncertainties, and the need for sustained political will. Overcoming these challenges requires a collaborative approach involving government, private sector, civil society, and international partners.

Trust in the AL’s ability to deliver on its promises hinges on its track record, transparency in governance, and a commitment to accountability. Establishing mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating progress is crucial for maintaining public trust. Regular communication with citizens about the status of initiatives and challenges faced contributes to transparency.

The dynamic nature of economic, technological, and global conditions necessitates adaptability. The government must be prepared to reassess strategies, make course corrections, and incorporate feedback from various stakeholders. Flexibility in approach enhances the likelihood of successfully navigating unforeseen challenges.

Building a Smart Bangladesh requires the active involvement of civil society and collaboration with international partners. Inclusive decision-making processes, consultation with experts, and leveraging international expertise contribute to the effectiveness of initiatives.

Transparent communication is integral to maintaining public trust. The government should provide regular updates on progress, challenges faced, and adjustments made to the Smart Bangladesh initiatives. Engaging with the public through various communication channels fosters a sense of shared responsibility.

the vision of a Smart Bangladesh articulated in the AL manifesto is undeniably ambitious but also promising. Achieving this vision requires a multifaceted approach, addressing challenges in education, the economy, governance, and societal well-being. Trust in the government’s ability to deliver on promises is essential, and mechanisms for accountability and transparent communication must be established.

As Bangladesh strides towards the goal of becoming a Smart Bangladesh by 2041, the journey will undoubtedly be marked by successes and challenges. The commitment to inclusive development, harnessing technology for progress, and fostering a knowledge society provides a blueprint for a future that prioritizes the well-being and empowerment of its citizens. Ultimately, the realization of this vision will depend on sustained efforts, adaptability to changing circumstances, and a collective commitment to building a smarter and more prosperous Bangladesh.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Jennifer Hicks

Quelle/Source: Weekly Blitz, 05.01.2024

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