MNA National Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the youth to be part of decision-making steps with their ideas and innovations to build a future which would be more resilient and sustainable both at this COVID-19 pandemic and also during the post-pandemic period.
“The COVID-19 is forcing both the pace and scale of workplace innovations. These silver linings are thin compared to the scale of the disruptions though,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while virtually inaugurating ‘Dhaka–OIC Youth Capital 2020’ and its first event the ‘Resilient Youth Leadership Summit’ from her official residence Ganobhaban through videoconferencing connecting youths from OIC countries and beyond.
The theme of this mega event is “Parity and Prosperity: For a Resilient Future.”
Sheikh Hasina said there is now one choice — human being could choose rigidity in economic and executive control or it could choose flexibility and dynamism for innovation and new ideas in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
“Probably, somewhere in the middle lies the proverbial ‘golden mean’. The youth has the great opportunity to be part of this decision-making by engaging themselves with ideas and innovations to build a future which they think would be resilient and sustainable,” she said.
Hasina said the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on leaders everywhere – governments, private sector, the international community and beyond. “What leadership needs during a crisis is not a predetermined response plan but behaviors and mindsets of the people involved in the process,” she said.
Terming COVID-19 crisis a watershed, she said its aftermath could see a paradigm shift in “restructuring the global economic order” in various means.
Firstly, she said, it intensifies the pre-existing signs of unease, expressed in calls for protectionism and more restrictive trade, immigration and visa policies. But it also highlights the need for global cooperation for the basic survival of humanity.
Secondly, the Prime Minister said, signs and signals are clear that the COVID-19 could end up surpassing the financial crisis of 2008-2009 in economic damage. But it also opens new avenues for networked financing and wealth creation.
Thirdly, Hasina said, there has been economic intervention already on a scale that has not been seen for decades.
By April 10, governments across the globe had announced stimulus plans amounting to over 10.6 trillion US dollar—the equivalent of eight Marshall Plans, Hasina mentioned.
“Bangladesh has already announced a 12.1 billion US dollar package for vulnerable segments of the population, business and agriculture which is 3.7 percent of our GDP,” she said.
The Prime Minister pointed that COVID-19 has shown that vitality of the youth must cherished. “It has been observed that people live in cherishing natural environment are fighting this pandemic better. Hence, we must work together to uphold basic features of the environment in our everyday life.”
Talking about the Rohingya crisis, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has given shelter to more than 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar.
She thanked the OIC and all the member states for extending their generous assistance towards one of the most persecuted populations in the world.
“Despite systematic denial, we’re trying to make arrangements for their safe, secure and dignified return to their motherland with the help of the international community,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the government’s Vision 2021 for a “Digital Bangladesh” has not only been the blueprint for unlocking digital creativity of the 53 million youths, it succeeded in fast-tracking Bangladesh’s pre-Covid-19 GDP growth rate up to 8.13 percent.
“Bangladesh has so far made remarkable progress in alleviating poverty, attaining food security, improving health and sanitation and mainstreaming gender and empowering women.”
She mentioned that global assessment projects Bangladesh as one of the three fastest growing economies globally over the next three decades. Bangladesh is projected to become the 26th largest economy by 2030, and 23rd by 2050.
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, Youth and Sports Minister of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov and President of Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) Taha Ayhan also spoke on the occasion.
The launching ceremony of this grand event was originally scheduled to be held in Dhaka with the presence of state-level dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and influential youths from all over the world on April 12.