The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in Vienna organized ‘Economic Diplomacy Week’ in collaboration with Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), IT Association of Slovakia (ITAS), and Honourary Consulate of Bangladesh to Budapest, Hungary on 30 June- 01 July 2022 by holding back-to-back Business Meetings in Austria, Slovakia and Hungary under the theme ‘Thriving IT Industry of Bangladesh and its Prospects’.

On 30 June 2022, in the morning, a 'Business Roundtable' took place at the premise of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) in Vienna. The event was participated by Mr. Russell T. Ahmed, President, BASIS, H.E. Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Mr. Johannes Brunner, Regional Manager, Asia Region, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC), Mr. Clemens Wasner, Board Member of AI Austria (Artificial Intelligence Austria), Mr. Thomas Spazier, Director, Advantage Austria and Mr. David Winkler, EEE Austria among others.

While delivering the keynote presentation, BASIS President Mr. Russell T. Ahmed highlighted the immense ICT export potential of Bangladesh that it is ready to offer-- tagging it as the next ICT powerhouse. He added, “Bangladesh ICT sector is thriving, driven by its quality and stable human resources, propelled with government conducive policies”. He outlined the entire gamut of Bangladesh ICT industry and highlighted the possible areas of cooperation and B2B opportunities with Austria. BASIS President's presentation was followed by an open discussion session.

In his speech, Ambassador Muhith, citing Bangladesh Government's incentives for foreign investors and the phenomenal infrastructure development in the last decade under the leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, stated that ‘Bangladesh is enjoying ‘Demographic Dividend’ now and ICT sectors of both countries can be benefited from this.

Mr. Brunner, Regional Manager of AFEC appreciated the rapid growth of Bangladesh particularly in the Information Technology sector and mentioned that Austria will be happy to become a partner in this journey.

On the afternoon of the same day (30 June 2022), the 2nd session of Business Meeting took place at Bratislava of Slovakia at the office of the IT Association of Slovakia (ITAS). Mr. Russell T. Ahmed, President of BASIS, Mr. Rahat Bin Zaman, Minister & Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) and Mr. Tanvir Ahmad Torophder, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission in Vienna, Vice President of ITAS Mr. Pavlo Fric, and the Secretary General of ITAS Mr. Gabriel Fedorko were present in the meeting. During the meeting, ITAS expressed keen interest for further cooperation with Bangladesh as they have shortage of about 20,000 people in their IT Sector.

Based on the discussion in the meeting ITAS stated that they are positively looking for enhanced cooperation with Bangladesh in the IT sector by making official engagements including signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BASIS soon. BASIS President, Mr. Russell T. Ahmed also invited ITAS of Slovakia to bring a delegation for attending the SoftExpo 2022 experiencing the groundbreaking successes of Bangladesh ICT sector and exploring the ICT business opportunities.

On 01 July 2022, the 3rd session of Business Meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary with the presence of Dr. Gergely Pataki, Honourary Consul of Bangladesh to Hungary, Mr. Bence Vinkó, Managing Director of Epam Systems Hungary, Mr. Jenő Törőcsik. Managing Director of Telemedia Holding, Mr. Gyozo Vincze, CEO, IBF Hungary, Mr. Eric Molnar Jr., Editor-in-chief, European Diplomacy and Economy, Mr. Erik Molnar, Honourary Consul of Namibia to Hungary, Mr. Russell T. Ahmed, President of BASIS, Mr. Rahat Bin Zaman, Minister & DCM and Mr. Tanvir Ahmad Torophder, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission in Vienna.

In his welcome speech, Dr. Gergely Pataki briefed the audience about the recent development and economic growth of Bangladesh particularly the journey towards digitalization. In his opening remarks, Mr. Rahat Bin Zaman mentioned that Bangladesh and Hungary enjoy excellent political relations which need to be translated into tangible economic collaborations including in the ICT Sector, while both the countries saw remarkable economic growth in the last decade backed by political stability and continuation of industry-friendly policies.

Mr. Russell T. Ahmed made the keynote presentation at the meeting. In his presentation, he narrated Bangladesh's emergence as one of the most attractive destinations for ICT investment, especially in Startups, as well as a significant source of IT/ITES solutions and services. He said that Bangladesh is ready to cater the need of the developed world, especially Central Europe. The Hungarian side expressed their interest for further cooperation with Bangladesh in IT sector. They assured continued and enhanced cooperation in the coming days.

BASIS President Mr. Russell T. Ahmed invited the Hungarian side to participate in the upcoming SoftExpo arranged by BASIS in Dhaka during 15-19 November 2022

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