In the dynamic landscape of the digital economy, nations worldwide are embracing the transformative power of technology to foster inclusive growth, economic prosperity, and societal development. One such nation making significant strides in this digital journey is the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Bangladesh signed the charter to become a Member State in the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO). This landmark decision reflects Bangladesh’s commitment to accelerating digital transformation and harnessing the opportunities of the digital age.
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Bangladesh Gets DCO Membership
Bangladesh formally accepted the 15th membership of the DCO on September 19, 2023, at Bangladesh’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York.
DCO Secretary-General Deemah AlYahya signed the agreement at UN headquarters in New York, which took place on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly.
The State Minister for ICT Junaid Ahmad Palak signed the charter, on behalf of Bangladesh, for becoming a DCO member state. Access to Information (A2I) Policy Advisor Anir Chowdhury was, among others, also present.
A Visionary Step Towards Inclusive Digital Growth
The Digital Cooperation Organization is a pioneering international intergovernmental organization dedicated to advancing the growth of an inclusive and sustainable digital economy. With its focus on empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs and promoting digital prosperity for all, the DCO aligns perfectly with Bangladesh’s vision for its digital future.
At the signing of the charter, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Bangladesh’s Honorable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology, highlighted the organization’s role in accelerating digital transformation. By joining the DCO, Bangladesh aims to share best practices, collaborate on common challenges, and contribute to building a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy.
The DCO Secretary-General’s Perspective
Ms. Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General of the Digital Cooperation Organization, commended Bangladesh’s remarkable progress in digitalization, internet penetration, and digital literacy. Bangladesh’s Digital Bangladesh Framework 2021-2025 and Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 exemplify the nation’s commitment to becoming a digital knowledge-based economy and a global hub for digital services.
Ms. AlYahya expressed excitement about Bangladesh’s membership, emphasizing the DCO’s role as a global platform for digital cooperation. Collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the implementation of transformative digital solutions are central to the organization’s mission of bridging the digital divide and enabling digital prosperity worldwide.
class="wp-block-heading">Bangladesh’s Digital Achievements
Bangladesh, with a population exceeding 173.2 million and a GDP of USD 460.20 billion, has consistently ranked among the world’s fastest-growing economies. The nation’s achievements in the digital realm have been nothing short of impressive. The Digital Bangladesh Framework 2021-2025 and the Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 are strategic roadmaps designed to make Bangladesh a digital-first economy.
In its pursuit of becoming a digital-first economy and a global hub for digital services, Bangladesh has meticulously outlined a multifaceted strategy that addresses critical aspects of digital transformation. These strategic pillars not only reflect Bangladesh’s commitment to digital innovation but also underscore its dedication to creating an inclusive and sustainable digital ecosystem.
1. Policy Intervention:
Bangladesh recognizes that policy intervention is the cornerstone of any successful digital transformation. By formulating and implementing policies that create an enabling environment for digital innovation and growth, the nation sets the stage for businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators to thrive. Such policies facilitate investments in technology, infrastructure, and digital education, fostering an ecosystem conducive to technological advancement.
2. Co-Creation Principles:
The concept of co-creation lies at the heart of Bangladesh’s digital strategy. It acknowledges that driving inclusive growth through emerging technologies requires collaboration among various stakeholders. By promoting partnerships between government, industry, academia, and civil society, Bangladesh leverages collective expertise to identify challenges, co-design solutions, and implement initiatives that benefit society as a whole.
3. Digital Literacy:
Enhancing digital literacy is paramount in Bangladesh’s digital journey. Digital literacy equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to participate actively in the digital economy. It ensures that citizens can effectively use digital tools, access online services, and leverage technology for personal and professional growth. By investing in digital education and training programs, Bangladesh empowers its population to harness the full potential of the digital age.
4. Skilled Workforce:
A skilled workforce is the driving force behind the effective utilization of digital technologies. Bangladesh recognizes the importance of nurturing a talent pool equipped with the skills and expertise required to navigate the digital landscape. Through educational reforms, vocational training, and upskilling initiatives, the nation is actively preparing its workforce to excel in the digital era, enabling them to contribute meaningfully to the economy.
Collaboration, both domestically and internationally, lies at the core of Bangladesh’s digital agenda. The nation understands that the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age are global in nature. Therefore, joint collaboration with other nations, international organizations, and global tech giants is instrumental in driving progress. This approach ensures that digital initiatives are deployed in a timely and coordinated manner, maximizing their impact and reach.
class=”wp-block-heading”>The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO)
The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) is a pioneering international intergovernmental organization with a resolute commitment: to foster social prosperity and catalyze the growth of the digital economy. By uniting the efforts of its member states, the DCO endeavors to propel digital transformation and advance common interests that will have a profound impact on our interconnected world.
DCO’s Vision and Mission
“A world where every country, business, and person has a fair opportunity to prosper in a cross-border and sustainable digital economy.”
“Achieving social prosperity and growth of the Digital Economy by unifying efforts to advance digital transformation and promote common interests.”
Growing the digital economy
The DCO is set to bridge the digital divide, enabling prosperity for all in the digital economy. By promoting cross-border collaboration and sharing best practices, we strive to establish the ideal infrastructure, policies, and education solutions within member nations. Our goal is to foster inclusive and equitable digital economies, ensuring that individuals, businesses, and societies can thrive and innovate. Globally, we work to fortify digital transformation agendas, recognizing that a digitally inclusive world benefits us all.
Empowering Youth, Women, and Entrepreneurs
At the heart of the DCO’s mission is the commitment to empower youth, women, and entrepreneurs. Recognizing that the digital divide poses a significant challenge, the organization is dedicated to providing these groups with access, skills, and support to harness the potential of the internet and digital technologies. By doing so, the DCO connects them with global opportunities, ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital era.
Accelerating Innovation Through Collaboration
The DCO’s founding members share common interests in the digital economy, interests that can only be fully realized through collaboration. By bringing together nations that are closely aligned, the organization accelerates coordination and cooperation in the digital realm. This collaboration facilitates the establishment of similar standards and regulations, enabling businesses to expand rapidly and creating exciting opportunities for innovation.
The DCO’s actions and initiatives are guided by a set of core values:
- Impact: The organization is committed to making a tangible difference in people’s lives. Every initiative, policy, and advocacy effort is geared towards delivering real, positive impact to individuals and communities.
- Inclusivity: Recognizing the digital divide, the DCO is driven by inclusivity. It seeks to bridge gaps by bringing together diverse groups from both sides of the divide, ensuring that digital benefits are accessible to all.
- Ambition: In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the DCO refuses to settle for the status quo. Instead, it sets ambitious targets and strives to achieve them, ensuring that no country, person, or business is excluded from the future digital economy.
The DCO’s commitment to its members’ common interests extends to a wide range of initiatives, including:
- Digital Skills Training: The organization promotes digital literacy by supporting training programs that equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in the digital age.
- Data Protection: Ensuring the responsible use and protection of data is a top priority. The DCO collaborates on policies and regulations that safeguard data privacy.
- Intellectual Copyright: Protecting intellectual property rights is crucial for innovation. The DCO works on frameworks that uphold these rights in the digital realm.
- Regulation and Taxation: Developing fair and effective regulations and taxation policies in the digital economy is a complex task. The DCO engages with governments and stakeholders to address these challenges.
- Entrepreneurship: Fostering entrepreneurship is essential for economic growth. The organization supports initiatives that empower digital entrepreneurs to thrive.
Permanent Headquarters and Leadership
The DCO’s permanent headquarters are located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Its supreme authority is the Council, comprising representatives designated by the Ministers of Communications and Information Technology (or equivalent entities) of the DCO’s member states. Currently consisting of 15 member states, the Council operates on a periodic chairmanship basis, with the Kingdom of Bahrain currently presiding. Secretary-General Deemah AlYahya, who assumed office in 2020, leads the organization with a forward-looking vision for a digitally prosperous world.
DCO 7 Founding Member States
- Pakistan, and
- Saudi Arabia
Other 8 DCO member states
8. Rwanda-December 2021
9. Morocco-April 2022
10. Djibouti-May 2022
11. Cyprus-July 2022
12. Ghana-February 2023
13. The Gambia-February, 2023
14. Qatar-September, 2023
15. Bangladesh-September 19, 2023
The Digital Cooperation Organization is not just an organization; it’s a catalyst for positive change in the digital age. With inclusivity, ambition, and collaboration at its core, the DCO is paving the way for a more equitable and prosperous digital future for all.
class=”wp-block-heading”>Key points about the DCO include:
The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) is a relatively new international initiative aimed at fostering collaboration and cooperation in the field of digital technology and innovation. The organization’s primary focus is on promoting digital connectivity, bridging the digital divide, and facilitating the use of digital technologies for economic and social development.
- Establishment: The DCO was officially launched in 2021. It represents a collaborative effort among several countries to harness the potential of digital technologies for the benefit of their economies and societies.
- Member Countries: The DCO includes member countries from different regions, united by a common interest in advancing digital cooperation. The exact composition of member countries may evolve over time as more nations join the initiative.
- Objectives: The primary objectives of the DCO revolve around promoting digital transformation, increasing access to digital services, and leveraging technology for sustainable development. This includes initiatives related to digital infrastructure, e-governance, and digital literacy.
- Digital Divide: A central concern for the DCO is addressing the digital divide, which refers to the gap between those who have access to digital technologies and those who do not. The organization seeks to bridge this divide by expanding digital connectivity and ensuring that underserved communities benefit from technological advancements.
- Cooperation and Partnerships: The DCO encourages cooperation not only among its member countries but also with international organizations, the private sector, and civil society. Collaboration with these stakeholders is seen as essential for achieving its goals.
- Digital Economy: The organization recognizes the importance of the digital economy and aims to create an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship. This includes supporting startups, promoting digital trade, and facilitating cross-border data flows.
- Digital Governance: Issues related to digital governance, such as data privacy, cybersecurity, and digital rights, are also within the purview of the DCO. It seeks to develop guidelines and best practices in these areas.
- Global Impact: While the DCO is a relatively new player in the international digital cooperation landscape, its ambitions are global. It aims to have a positive impact not only on member countries but also on the broader global community.
Bangladesh’s decision to join the Digital Cooperation Organization marks a significant milestone in its digital transformation journey. It signifies the nation’s commitment to leveraging technology for the greater public welfare and creating equitable opportunities for all, leaving no one behind. As Bangladesh embarks on this collaborative digital endeavor, it aligns with the global vision of a world where every nation, business, and individual has a fair opportunity to prosper in the digital economy.
In an era where digital connectivity and innovation are driving economic growth and societal progress, Bangladesh’s participation in the DCO underscores the importance of international cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and best practices. As a Member State, Bangladesh will contribute to shaping the future of the digital economy, making it more inclusive, equitable, and accessible to all.