e-Quality Centre for Inclusive Innovation launched with a vision to #zerodigitaldivide

On 25th September, 2023 the H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated the ‘e-Quality Centre for Inclusive Innovation’ at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during a significant side event. Developed by a collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Government of Bangladesh and the a2i of Government of Bangladesh and UNDP, the e-Quality Centre had a primary objective: to address the global digital divide through the principles of South-South Cooperation.

This flagship initiative, proposed by Bangladesh, is set to leverage cutting-edge technology, research, and innovation to bridge the digital gap in Global South countries. The comprehensive approach included facilitating global technology transfer, conducting policy research, and providing financial support. The overarching goal is to create a future where no one is excluded from the benefits of the digital age.

Remarks of H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, underscored Bangladesh’s remarkable journey toward digital empowerment, inclusive growth, and the evolution from ‘Digital Bangladesh’ to ‘Smart Bangladesh’. He emphasized the importance of technology transfer, cooperation among developing nations, and the imperative of digital empowerment across all segments of society. The e-Quality Centre, according to him, represents the embodiment of Bangladesh’s aspirations and its commitment to a world where technology acts as an equalizer, and progress is a collective endeavor.

The e-Quality Centre is poised to play a pivotal role in realizing the vision for a digitally inclusive Bangladesh and a world free from the digital divide. The center is expected to facilitate robust partnerships, attract investments, and champion the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Its impact is projected to extend beyond national borders, contributing significantly to a digitally inclusive global community.

Bangladesh’s digital success, led by a2i and supported by South South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI), is shared in Fiji, Philippines, Somalia, Turkey, Yemen, Jordan, and South Sudan, focusing on citizen centric service delivery. The SSN4PSI Network facilitates global collaboration, while the International ICT Innovation (i3) fund provides project-specific funding for ICT initiatives’ replication and expansion. The “Envisioning a world with #ZeroDigitalDivide through e-Quality Centre for Inclusive Innovation” event featured distinguished speakers with key roles. H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Foreign Minister, Government of Bangladesh and H.E. Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Government of Bangladesh led discussions.

During the side event, operational aspects of the e-Quality Centre were presented, and insights were shared by ministers, high officials, and representatives of various UN organizations. Participants expressed hope that the e-Quality Centre would soon become a vital force in addressing these issues. The event also acknowledged the winning projects of the i3 fund. The i3 fund was awarded to the following countries: Gambia, Uganda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Ghana and Somalia. H.E. Ousman A. Bah, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Republic of the Gambia And representatives of the permanent mission (UN) of those countries were present to receive the i3 award. Remarks were given by the i3 fund recipient countries which included H.E. Ousman A. Bah, Minister, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Republic of the Gambia; H.E. Euridice Semedo Medeiros, Minister, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe; H.E. Ahmed Osman Derie, State Minister, Ministry of Communications and Technology, Federal Republic of Somalia and others.  H.E.  Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Minister of State, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh provided closing remarks.

Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i, presented on the operationalization of the e-Quality Center. Mr. Amandeep Singh Gill, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Technology of UN; Mr. Robert Opp, Chief Digital Officer, UNDP and others delivered remarks. The event aimed to address global digital disparities and promote inclusive digital innovation for a connected and equitable future.