At a June 1 event convened by the Digital Public Goods Alliance, Government of Norway, Government of Sierra Leone, and United Nations Development Programme, global leaders jointly committed to advancing the use of digital public goods. Among them was Bangladesh’s State Minister, ICT Division, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Zunaid Ahmed Palak.
Minister Palak shared that, “In order to respond to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call of building an equitable, high-income Smart Bangladesh by 2041, this requires an uncompromising and relentless focus on ensuring digital equity enabled by DPGs and digital public infrastructure at scale.”
Today, we share more about Bangladesh’s actions related to advancing digital public goods at home and sharing best practices.
Build and maintain new software DPGs
The first is ekShop, the world’s first integrated assisted rural e-commerce platform, and national e-commerce infrastructure backbone. ekShop was launched via the Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme of the ICT division of the Government of Bangladesh and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2019. It empowers cottage, micro, small, and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) led mainly by women entrepreneurs with open commerce platforms. Currently, 77% of the rural products marketed through ekShop are produced by women. More than 4,616 farmers, 16 e-commerce companies, and 4.9 thousand wholesalers are registered to the platform. ekShop also launched in Turkey in 2021 and Yemen in 2022.
The second is the National Intelligence for Skills, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship (NISE) platform. NISE is a one-stop data platform initiative that acts as a connecting bridge to bring stakeholders together to fulfill the needs of one another and subsequently make data driven decisions to stimulate industrial growth. This ensures effective data driven policy planning when it comes to the future of work.
Bangladesh has a labour force of 82 million, with 2 million youth joining the workforce every year. NISE functions as a matchmaking platform aimed at ensuring balance between the supply and demand side of skills, education, employment, and entrepreneurship. On the supply side are 32 Governmental Departments under 23 relevant Ministries and 13,000 Skills Service Providers. These are matched with demand from 30+ industry associations, chambers of commerce, thousands of industries, and recruiting agencies. Launched in 2021, and in collaboration with the UNDP, NISE has been replicated in Somalia with the Ministry of Communication and Technology and in Jordan with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship.
Advocate for DPGs and facilitate collaboration
The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) was proposed by the Honourable Prime Minister of the Government of Bangladesh, and UNDP Administrator in 2016. SSN4PSI is a collaborative platform where governments, private sector organisations, experts, and academics exchange knowledge, experiences, and expertise on public service innovation.
The South-South model mirrors the unique value of digital public goods – that they are locally adaptable and therefore better suited to address country-specific and regional needs than out of the box proprietary technologies. The SSN4SPI currently has 45 members and has held 20 matchmaking workshops which aim to surface best practices.
The Digital Public Goods Alliance is proud to welcome the Government of Bangladesh as a member whose efforts to not only build and maintain DPGs, but to integrate them into their own government services and share them with others will create knock-on benefits.
To read more about Bangladesh’s work related to DPGs, please visit our Roadmap.