The recent outrage in freelancing and outsourcing industry has turned into a revolution. It seems like it is not taking a step back. The revolution that is going on within the young community for IT freelancing and outsourcing, shows us new prospects to grow the economy of Bangladesh. In recent years, freelancing alone brought $20 million into Bangladesh and the amount is growing day by day.
Silent Revolution in Bangladesh
It might make you wonder, how did this happen? It was a revolution that was not instigated by the government for long years. Rather, it happened silently. But, due to recent government’s pledge to put “e” to all activities, things have been fastened in a large scale.
Why did this happen? If we observe the situation in Khulna, then you’ll see that many industries closed down, due to corruption and inability to sustain. The older generation in Khulna is not that well off due to this fact. The younger generation is more educated by the mass, as the older generation envisioned that education will be their only asset in future. The surrounding industry failed to employ them properly. But, they did not sit idle. They had to come up with something that would not make them leave Khulna. So, steadily the revolution unveiled.
But, there are still many problems that haunt Bangladeshi freelancers and outsourcing partners. If they are provided the opportunity, the freelancing and outsourcing revolution will take several steps ahead. But, to provide this opportunity, government has always been very conservative. Just take an example of SEA-ME-WE fiber optic cable connection. It was denied twice by late governments on the fear of national data privacy. But, it was realized that, it was really a very conservative decision we ever made. Currently, the internet infrastructure is stronger than before. But, ability to access premium online service still has some way to go. And this is actually not that long.
Outsourcing is a $3.4 Trillion industry and we are not even taking even 1% of it. Our neighbor India is taking major share of these outsourcing opportunities. The situation we have here in Bangladesh was created 10 years ago in India. So, it is obvious that we still are a decade backward, in terms of India. But, that does not mean we have to stay a decade back. We have the know-how and the skilled forces that can take us a generation ahead, if we can give them the opportunity. Otherwise, with countries like Vietnam and Philippines that are directly competing with us, will gain better momentum than us. But, imagine if we could take just 1%, it could be way more than what we earn through Garments Industry and remittance from non-resident citizens.
Bringing Women in
If you look at our societal norm, you’ll find that we have not yet grown into a liberal society, even after many changes. The average poor and middle class society aka the major portion of our population is still very conservative. We still have gender-based separate sitting arrangement in bus. Most women in poor societies and some women in middle class societies are still not allowed to roam freely in society. Women are the first gender that gets the priority for education dropout. Those who make it, also dropout from career, when they have their first, if not, second child. No one can say that, this change in career as good or bad. Because, raring child and taking care of the family by women has been a century (if not millennia) long tradition. Even in advanced countries, women cannot avoid this phenomenon. So, ultimate center of concentration of a woman becomes her home.
But, they are the weaker half (48%) of our population. I mean, weaker by the number not by merit or skill. If you can not engage this portion of the population in earning, then there is no way a nation can grow. But, accepting our norm of the society, how can we generate jobs for them without making them leave home? I think you all know the answer.
Bringing Senior Citizens in
Again another portion is the senior citizens who become dependent on the earning member in the next generation. Because, they are not suitable to do any physical work. So, they jump out of the earning member population and usually never come back. But, how can we make them earning member without having to make them do physical work? I think you all know the answer.
Bringing the Handicapped in
Sometimes we think that the handicapped are the weakest portion of the population. But, we should remember that they are not 100% handicapped. I have seen many handicapped people showcasing extreme knowledge, talent, and skills. But, they are not capable of doing regular jobs. Accepting their handicap situation, how can we bring them into the money earning demography? I think you all know the answer.
Bringing All of Them in
When we are talking about Freelancing and Outsourcing, we are mostly talking about the youths. Yes, they are our future. But, think how far we can go with freelancing and outsourcing, if we can involve all the unemployed population in Bangladesh. i.e.
- The Unemployed Youths
- Women (Homebound, Conservative, Mothers, etc)
- Senior Citizens and
- Handicapped people.
The Dream to be a Medium Earning Country
So, to live the dream as a medium earning country, Bangladesh government should try it’s best to make this industry grow as fast as it can. One of the major barriers to the Freelancing and Outsourcing industry is the online and international payment system. Currently, Payza has been introduced, but Paypal and other sorts of online and international payments are still not possible. Bangladesh Bank here has been playing a conservative role for long time. But, things are progressing and we might see them available in near future. Yes, there are defaulters, corrupter and money launderers. But, for these filthy people, the vast opportunity for the whole population cannot wait.
The slogan for Digital World 2012 was “Knowledge to Prosperity”. In past year, Dolancer created some Zombies in Bangladesh. But, as they are now gone, people realize that IT Freelancing and Outsourcing can never bring prosperity without knowledge. So, I do believe that this slogan is also contemporary. The event has promoted the IT Freelancing and Outsourcing for mostly the youths. But, there are many prospects when we look beyond.
About the Blogger: Asif Anwar