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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Four rural access centres for Bangladesh

Remmy Nweke

The Commonwealth Secretariat assisted Government initiative would set up four rural Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access centres in Bangladesh.

The assistance to the government of Bangladesh is worth 20 million Taka (£153,000) about (N36,927,363.01) is to develop four rural information and communication technology (ICT) access centres in the South Asian nation to promote the use of ICT for community development and commerce.

The Bangladesh Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, disclosed this at a two-day consultative meeting, while opening the event in Dhaka on ‘Establishing a Rural ICT Strategy for Bangladesh”.

“There is a development divide between the rich and the poor. Intelligent use of ICTs for the poor will lead to job growth in the country. ICT development, if implemented properly, can create digital dividends for millions of people in Bangladesh,” the minister said, at the just ended workshop organised by the Secretariat’s Special Advisory Services Division (SASD).

Renowned Indian ICT for development (ICT4D), Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam, is the key Commonwealth expert working on the Bangladesh project.

The project is funded by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, Dr Arunachalam’s duties include helping to formulate an integrated National ICT Strategy for Rural Development, which includes small and rural businesses in Bangladesh.

“Such a project could have a positive impact on the development of new economic activities and job creation in Bangladesh,” stated George Saibel, SASD’s Director. “It is also linked to pro-poor growth and rural development in Bangladesh. This project will strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to the challenges of globalisation by enhancing its ICT competitiveness.”

Ram Venuprasad, SASD Adviser (Enterprise Development), said: “It was promising to see local NGOs and development organisations agreeing to work in partnership to pool their resources to achieve this goal of ICT for enterprise development.”

Representatives of more than 50 non-governmental organisations, international development organisations and government agencies attended the workshop.


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