Bangladesh is better known to the world for her natural beauty, Cox's Bazar longest unbroken sea beach, Sundarbans mangrove forest and wildlife, jute, tea, garments, handicrafts and creative hardworking human resources. Most people do not know it is also the most rapidly growing and fast expanding newest IT destination of South Asia. With more than 70 million young educated skilled populations the country is ready to work for every type of IT job of modern age.
The stronghold IT destination of Bangladesh has not come to reality in one day, rather it took decades together. Many people do not know that the first computer was used here in 1964, which in fact was the first computer of this region. That was also the beginning of code writing for programmable devices here.
However, software development and providing IT-enabled services (ITES) industry started to grow in Bangladesh in the early 1980s. The software industry is rather young compared to other industries in this country. Though most of the software companies here were established in the late 1990s or 2000s, but some of them already started their journey in the 1980s. The Bangladesh Government, in its Export and Import Policies, has formally emphasized the ICT sector including software industry and declared it as one of the ‘thrust sectors’, and thereby has strengthened footage of the software industry from the middle of 1990s taking initiatives at the state-level.
Apart from government support, the initiatives of private sector entrepreneurs under the leadership of Bangladesh Computer Samity have really propelled the software and ICT industry as a whole of Bangladesh to grow rapidly since early 1990s. Bangladesh has recently been focused by other countries as an outsourcing target. The European Union (EU) has officially announced that, Bangladesh is one of the best 20 outsourcing target countries of the world.
Figure 1: Scale of IT market in Bangladesh
Export of Software and ITES from Bangladesh
Table 1: Value of Export of Software and ITES from
Bangladesh: An Outsourcing Destination
Though majority of the companies are exporting to North American Market (principally USA), there is encouraging performance by a good number of companies to export in European and East Asian (mainly Japanese) markets too.
Language of instruction in engineering, computer science and business studies at undergraduate and graduate levels is English, providing the country with a competitive edge for outsourcing software projects. This is the most deciding factor that the European Union has ranked Bangladesh as one of the top 20 outsourcing destinations in the world as said herein above.
Supply of Workforce to Software and ITES Industries in Bangladesh
Bangladesh now confers academic degrees including postgraduate and doctoral degrees in the ICT subjects in more than 100 institutions including universities, colleges and institutes. According to the Ministry of Education, there are 73 universities in Bangladesh and more than 60 universities offer IT-related courses. These universities, colleges and institutes yearly produce more than 5,500 graduates major in IT-related fields. About 2,500 among them are students who majored in computer science or software engineering. Students of prestigious universities such as University of Dhaka and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology are conferred with many awards every year in various international contests on computers and software.
Beside the universities, colleges and institutes, there are about 300 training/education centers that provide IT technology and technique, which contribute to develop human resources for software and ITES industries in Bangladesh. These centers supply abundant workforces to the ITES industry such as graphic design, DTP, website design, engineering drawing, website publishing and network maintenance.
Government Policies & Supports
Government and private sectors are increasingly going for mass automation with an aim to embrace e-Governance with its huge base of skilled ICT human resources. Cyber Law and Intellectual Property Rights Law are well-defined, up-to-date and have been formulated in the parliament to cover the non-disclosure agreement required in most outsourcing projects. Moreover, the policy makers are emphasizing on the necessity of financing software ventures by banks and other financial institutions. EEF, a unique venture capital projects finance the Software and ITES venture with interest free equity partnership. Banks also provide soft-loans for export projects.
Govt. has already opened VoIP and is in the process of allowing WiMax for data communication. Growth of telecom sector has been extremely high and penetration of Internet has increased 5 times in last one year.
The proposed Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park, which is envisioned as an integrated, ultra modern techno township, is situated at Gazipur, alongside the Dhaka-Tangail expressway covering an area of 232 acres. Another ICT village is being planned to be implemented at Mohakhali of the Capital City of Dhaka with the public-private partnership. More ICT villages and Special Economic Zones are also planned. One of the proposed ICT villages is to be located at Khulna, which is divisional city in the western part of the country.
Joint Venture programmes and Offshore Development Centers in Bangladesh are booming at a rapid pace, as well as gaining stronger reliability from foreign partners and clients. On the other hand, the horizon of usage and demand of software in the local market is being broadened with a speedy expansion.
Official Name of the Country