Md. Nasir Uddin Ahmed
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had ushered independence into this country. His daughter, the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina now takes the country towards development, keeping the values of Bangabandhu and the spirit of the Liberation War, at the core of the pathway towards development. In order to ensure that our pathway towards development is sustainable, the Honourable Prime Minister’s son and Information and Communications Technology Advisor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, has opened up new possibilities of digital transformation and a new world of ICT.
The country is immensely lucky to have a young, vibrant and talented leader such as Sajeeib Wazed Joy who is leading the way towards a Digital Bangladesh. The dedication and inspiration with which he has taken forward the Honourable Prime Minister’s vision for a digital Bangladesh is noteworthy. Sajeeb Wazed Joy had the foresight to predict that the world to come would be dependent on information technology and prepared himself accordingly. He is taking forward the agenda of information technology within the ICT Division with an exemplary level of leadership and perseverance. At present, Sajeeb Wazed Joy is on the forefront leading the development of introducing 5G and expansion of the digital infrastructure which will push Bangladesh higher on the rankings of global development. As a result of this, Bangladesh has successfully scaled the list of countries where the spread of digital technology is being achieved at a faster pace.
Bangladesh will enter the fourth industrial revolution equipped with the expertise and digital infrastructure to utilise artificial intelligence, big data analysis, block chain and the Internet of Things (IOT). Revolutionary levels of change have already been made possible through the influences of high speed mobile internet and the advent of mobile financial, health, education and industrial services; and such changes will continue through the work of the ICT division.
In the past few years, Bangladesh’s digital economy has witnessed unprecedented levels of achievements. Information technology has become widespread in the country, from the secretariat to the villages. As a result of which the public is receiving better services and the activities of the ICT sector is also transforming. The information technology sector exports goods and services across 67 countries globally. The export earnings from this has crossed 1 billion US dollars and it has been determined that by 2025 the total earnings of this sector will cross 5 billion US dollars. Already, the country has undertaken the construction of 28 Software Technology Parks. By 2025 it is estimated that the ICT sector will employ 2 million people in the country.
Currently, Bangladesh’s market for software services stands at 10 thousand crore taka. In addition to this, in the face of previous disasters and the current global pandemic, the proper functioning of welfare infrastructure on the digital platform in terms of relief distribution and food supply were ensured. In order to bring to fruition the farsighted vision of the Honourable Prime Minister, her successor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy is taking forward the ICT sector of Bangladesh. Under his dynamic leadership, guidance and direct supervision, the ICT sector is working towards a promising future for the country. I want to convey my best wishes to the harbinger of progress of the digital age of Bangladesh, the son of our Honourable Prime Minister and ICT Advisor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
On 27th July, 1971, his birth brought in hope and light in the midst of the dark gloom of the Liberation War.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy spent his childhood and adolescence in India. He studied at the St. Joseph’s College in India and during his undergraduate years he enrolled at the University of Bangalore to attain a degree in Computer Science. Afterwards, he transferred to the The University of Texas, Arlington, USA and received his Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Engineering. He then completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. After a prolific academic career, he went on to establish himself as an IT Professional at the Silicon Valley in the USA. The expertise he gained from his professional experiences and the knowledge received from world renowned universities, along with his talent and natural leadership has helped him propel the achievements of Bangladesh’s ICT sector.
To the world, Bangladesh’s ICT achievements are a surprise. In recognition of the progress made by Bangladesh in the digital world, the ICT for Development Award was presented to the Prime Minister’s Information and Communications Technology Affairs Advisor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy. Additionally, the progress made by the country’s digital economy in the past few years was highlighted when Bangladesh was placed as a Top Mover in Huawei’s 2019 Global Connectivity Index list.
One important aspect of the Awami League’s 2008 election manifesto was the establishment of a Digital Bangladesh. The one to first introduce the concept of Digital Bangladesh in the 2008 election manifesto was IT expert, Sajeeb Wazed Joy. Bangladesh’s growth towards becoming a knowledge based digital society has been fast paced since the establishment of the Awami League government in 2009. Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy has played a huge role in formulating the 2009 ICT policy.
Currently, he is the craftsman behind the prosperity and advancement of the ICT sector as he spearheads the development of more effective infrastructures, new policy formulation and sector roadmap.
He is not only the dreamer behind the concept of Digital Bangladesh but also the one who is leading the execution of this dream. Inspired by our Honourable Prime Minister, he is advancing Bangladesh’s ICT sector with competitive and sustainable developments. The steps taken in the last twelve years under the government’s digital agenda, have strengthened the information technology infrastructure more than ever before.
Under the guidance of the Honourable Prime Minister and the effective supervision of the ICT Advisor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, we have been able to launch the ‘Bangabandhu Satellite – 1’. Furthermore, preparation for the launch of the second satellite is ongoing. In the coming year, we are hoping to see the advent of 5G technology.
Digital development has had an immense impact on the people of this country. In approximately 600 or more government and public services the use of information technology has grown, examples include – payment of electricity bills in union digital centres, e-mutation, completion of passport forms, visa application, police clearance, e-challan, pension and numerous other services. For these tasks government web portals and information windows are being utilised, which is recognised as one of the world’s largest web portals. For the implementation of the nationwide e-mutation Bangladesh has been honoured with the prestigious “United National Public Service Award – 2020” by the United Nations.
The incorporation of information technology as a mandatory subject from Class – 6 up until Class – 10 has been a major turning point. Another revolutionary decision taken by Sajeeb Wazed Joy has been the introduction of “999” emergency service that is helping millions across the nation.
During the pandemic, the use of Internet and E-commerce has witnessed a spike of more than 50%. Along with health services, relief and emergency food distribution services are available through the new helpline “333”. In order to combat the impacts of the pandemic, the E-Commerce platforms are carrying out several initiatives, thanks to the singular efforts of Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Furthemore, the ICT ministry has initiated platforms such as – BD App, Contact Tracing App, Voluntary Doctor’s Pool, Digital Classrooms, etc. In 8000 educational institutions across the country, the Sheikh Rasel Digital Lab has been established. Overtime, all educational institutions will come under this umbrella. Efforts are being made in order to introduce information technology to children from a young age and the visionary behind this mammoth task is Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
On 25th February, 2010 through gaining the primary membership in Rangpur district, his paternal homestead, he formally entered the political landscape. He does not accept any income for his role as ICT Advisor. He is married and a proud father to a daughter. This humble intellectual and visionary person loves to play guitar and is a photographer by passion but most of all he loves to eat his mother’s cooking. He is an inspiration in unleashing the potential and power of the youth. He always encourages the youth to fight against corruption. For any development project, he always thinks about the return on the taxpayer’s money. Two important future plans which Sajeeb Wazed Joy harbours for this country is firstly, the creation of a cashless society which means that all economic transactions will take place through digital mediums and secondly, the shift of all government services as online based services. He believes that successful implementation of these services will ensure more transparency in economic transactions and the 100% benefit of services will be reaped by the public. As a result, on one hand the government’s income will increase and on the other hand corruption will be eradicated.
On the occasion of the birthday of ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy, successful son of our Honourable Prime Minister, we all wish with his merit, foresight and his strategic planning he will take the ICT sector to new heights. He is the pioneer of the new generation, the architect of the Honourable Prime Minister’s dream of Digital Bangladesh, he is a visionary leader and the inspiration for a better tomorrow.
Author: Ex-Information and Cultural Affairs Secretary