Digitalization and New Frontiers of Service Delivery: Opportunities and Challenges

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) organized a three-day international conference titled Digitalization and New Frontiers of Service Delivery: Opportunities and Challenges from 20 to 22 June 2022 at the BRAC Center Inn Auditorium, Dhaka.

Researchers, practitioners and policy actors from around the globe shared their experiences and insights on a wide range of issues on digitalization and development.

The inaugural session introduced the conference’s core theme: Digitalization for Inclusive Development. The conference was officially inaugurated by Prof Vincent Chang, Vice-chancellor of BRAC University. The sessions included keynote speeches by Stefan Dercon, Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i, Government of Bangladesh, that delved into examples from both global and local perspectives analysing the key challenges, opportunities, and lessons in ensuring inclusive digitalization.

The second session framed the digitalization of service delivery from the perspective of power, institutions, and economics, drawing examples heavily from Bangladesh’s attempt at service delivery digitalization. Mushtaq H. Khan, Professor of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Sajjad Zohir, Executive Director, Economic Research Group (ERG) and Senior Advisor at BIGD, BRAC University delivered presentations in a discussion moderated by Asif Mohammad Shahan, Associate Professor of Development Studies, University of Dhaka.

This session, chaired by Shahriar Hoque, Director, Technology, BRAC, critically investigated various measures of digital literacy. Presentations were delivered by Mehnaz Rabbani, Head, Operations and Strategic Engagement and Partnership; Semab Rahman, Research Associate; and Avinno Faruk, Research Associate, from BIGD, BRAC University, followed by presentations by M. Shahadat Hossain Siddiquee, Professor, University of Dhaka and Pritika Reddy, Academic Researcher, Fiji National University.

Unique identification is required in availing of many e-gov services in Bangladesh. Since NID (National Identification Number) covers only the adult population, universal coverage of civil identification remains a prerequisite for digitalizing e-services to individuals and families. This session delved into these issues with talks and presentations from both the public and academic sectors.

This session discussed existing interventions to enhance women’s access to technology and earning opportunities through the use and scope of digitalization. The session also delved into some of the barriers that digitalization creates for women.  Sajeda Amin, Senior Associate, Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program, Population Council moderated the discussion, where presentations were delivered by Md. Raied Arman, Senior Research Associate, BIGD, BRAC University, Lopita Huq, Research Fellow, BIGD, BRAC University, Pragyna Mahpara, Senior Research Associate, BIGD, BRAC University and Nova Ahmed, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North South University.

Special Session | Introducing BIGD Research Program and Fund – Women’s Economic Empowerment & Digital Finance

Session 11 | Algorithmic Governance, Data Protection, and Citizens’ Identity

Learn more about the closing session from blog post:

Session 12 | Knowledge Agenda for Shaping a More Inclusive and Transformative Digitalization Future