SANEM Annual Economists' Conference

Experts focus on cutting inequality, raising literacy

Getting benefits of digital economy

| Updated: February 06, 2023 16:55:23

Photo courtesy: bdnews24.com Photo courtesy: bdnews24.com

Reducing inequality and enhancing literacy are essential to help people get the benefits of digital economy, said speakers at a programme on Sunday.

Time-befitting changes in education system and better coordination among the government and private stakeholders are also crucial in this regard, they added.

They came up with the observations at a session on digital economy on the concluding day of the two-day 6th SANEM Annual Economists' Conference (SAEC), organised by the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM) at the BRAC Centre in the city's Mohakhali area.

Dr Atiur Rahman, former Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor and Professor of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka, chaired the session.

Researchers from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka presented four papers on different aspects of digital economy, including freelancing, e-commerce, and digitaisation of trade.

In his speech, Atiur Rahman said all sectors are going through rapid changes due to digital transformation.

"Everything is being transformed with the rise of digital technologies," he said, referring to a survey that revealed that majority of young people nowadays do not go through printed newspapers.

This is how everything is changing, he also said.

The economist also focused on bringing time-befitting changes in the education system, so that digital literacy rises.

Covid-19 has been a crucial turning point for many digital businesses, like digital commerce and gig work, he added.

BB Joint Director Shamima Nasrin presented a paper titled "Do Digitalization and Technological Progress Expedite the Digital Inequality in Emerging South Asian Countries?"

According to her, education and skill development are ways to deal with developing inequalities. The South Asian countries mostly have low-level digital literacy, which may cause rise in digital inequality.

Poor competence in English language is also a great obstacle for many in the region to use internet, the paper added.

Other researchers presented their paper virtually.

A paper - "Nexus between Digitalization, Productivity, and International Trade Participation: Firm-level Evidence from India's Unorganised Sector MSMEs" - was presented by Dr Neha Jain, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).

Nimaya Dahanayake, Research Assistant at the Sri Lanka's Centre for a Smart Future, presented a paper on "How Has Covid-19 and the Economic Crisis Shaped Platform-Mediated Gig Work in Sri Lanka? Evidence from a Field Survey".

Sugandha Huria, Assistant Professor of the IIFT, presented another paper on "E-Commerce & the Indian Retail and Manufacturing Sectors - An Empirical Analysis with a Specific Focus on Organised Sector MSMEs".

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