How Bangladesh Has Made the Successful Shift from Being a Donation Nation to a Donor Nation

12 September, 2022

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Dhaka, Bangladesh–(Newsfile Corp. – May 30, 2022) – E-governance is fast gaining traction as functionality that helps make the shift towards services that are more efficient and reliable by public trust. Simply put, it implies the use of ICT in transforming and supporting the functions and structures of the government system. A strategic e-governance program is bounded by four core pillars-connectivity, content, capacity, and capital.

A fitting example of a successful e-governance program is how a2i has enabled Bangladesh to be resilient to various economic challenges. As a result, the country, which was earlier viewed as a donation nation, is making a successful transition to being a donor nation.

a2i serves as the flagship program of the Digital Bangladesh agenda. This inclusive digital transformation unit works across the whole government and helps its citizens create faster, hassle-free, and reliable public services.

The program hails its early beginnings in the Prime Minister’s office, originally mandated to bring about a change in civil service. One of its initial projects included an empathy training program that gave government officials a first-hand experience of an ordinary citizen trying to secure government service.

The success of this initiative helped usher in a new concept called the Time, Cost, Visit (TCV) Audit-a review aimed at simplifying the process of accessing services by eliminating unnecessary steps and innovating interventions to save both cost and visits for citizens. The audit also gave way to learning how to further innovate the process via the infusion of newer technologies. Perhaps of equal importance was the fact that reducing TCV provided a clear byword for innovation that civil servants at all administrative tiers – from policymakers to field officers – irrespective of ministry or domain, could easily understand and rally around.

As a result, citizens of Bangladesh have saved over $16 billion, nearly 12 billion workdays, and 7.5 billion visits in the last decade due to the more efficient delivery of public services alone.

Int. Communication strategist for a2i Ashfaq Zaman explains that the a2i program is anchored on Bangladesh’s Vision 2041, which envisions the country to be a fully developed and SMART nation by the year 2041.

“Our mission is to enable the government to be citizen-centric-a single platform that offers multiple innovative solutions to its constituents,” Zaman adds.

Soon to be formally established as Bangladesh’s national innovation agency, a2i is set to roll out a newly repurposed national helpline, which will give way to better communications between citizens and the government. It is also set to revolutionize the education system with the blended learning accelerator, the first of its kind in South Asia, and increase engagement via its digital centers and integration of data-driven, affordable health care into future plans.

The ingredients of success for a2i in Bangladesh can be replicated quickly and easily in other Southern developing countries. As a member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance as well as through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, a2i’s innovations are being replicated in the Philippines, Fiji, and Somalia.


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