African IT assocs’ fact-finding mission to Bangladesh

With more than 200 exhibitors and over 400,000 visitors from more than 30 countries, this year’s Digital World 2015, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was bigger and better than ever before. From 9 to 12 February, Bangladesh showcased its achievements in ICT, including in the IT and ITES industry. The fair also served as a platform for the NTF III Bangladesh project, showcasing how it helps the sector’s exports development.

Digital-World-450x234The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) is a multi-year, multi-phase Dutch-backed project with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to boost export competitiveness in key countries including Bangladesh.

Through the NTF III programme, a delegation of representatives from the Kenya Information Technology & Outsourcing Society (KITOS), the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU), the National IT Agency of Uganda (NITA Uganda) and the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Association (UBPOA) was invited to take part in the flagship event jointly organized by the ICT Division of the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology of the Government of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), with a view of sharing knowledge with Bangladesh IT association including learning how BASIS had organized the fair and have developed an effective Public Private Partnership model.

The BASIS board met with the delegation to explain their growth over the recent years leading to a 800 member strong, industry association. The East-African delegates were particularly interested in the processes developed around revenue generation and membership management.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the ICT State Minister of Bangladesh, welcomed the delegation and said that “a strong partnership with the government in terms of strategy and execution is essential to the development of the industry. My Ministry is playing this role and we hope that our friends from Uganda and Kenya benefit from the same support.”

Arancha González, ITC Executive Director, in a statement from Geneva expressed support for this knowledge and experience sharing and stressed “the importance of exchanges between developing countries that face similar hurdles in growing trade in services. Services play a huge role in the functioning of today’s value chains. This is why ITC is helping build capacity of developing country SMEs and associations to better benefit from the potential growth and trade opportunities services offer.”

Esther Muchiri, Vice-Chairperson of KITOS, said that “this mission has been a total eye opener as we learnt so much. The journey of BASIS and what they have managed to achieve so far is very inspiring. The visits and meetings that were organized for us have given us a new perspective and ideas.”

Rogers Karebi, Secretary of the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Association (UBPOA), showed his enthusiasm after four days at the Digital World.

“We had a very productive and informative trip to Dhaka and a lot was learnt that will help implement the NTF III project in Uganda, and beyond that, enable us to bring our association to the next level”.

Both delegations have returned to Uganda and Kenya with a full work plan to implement the findings from their mission. The NTF III programme will be helping by applying ITC’s Aims For Results methodology, which is used to strengthen Trade Support Institutions across the globe.

BASIS and a group of leading Bangladeshi SMEs will have the opportunity to visit Kenya and Uganda to interact with their respective Associations in September 2015.


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