Zunaid Ahmed Palak is the Honourable Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. He has held this position since January 2014 as the youngest Minister of Bangladesh and currently serving his second term. He has been involved in active politics of Bangladesh for the last 25 years. He became a Member of Parliament (National Assembly of Bangladesh) in January 2009, being the youngest Parliament Member of Bangladesh till date. He was Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of ICT Ministry and Private Members’ Bill and Co-Chair of Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change from 2009 to 2013.
Born in 1980, Zunaid Ahmed Palak has led the ICT Ministry with great vigor and is taking forward the vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ with commendable foresight and phenomenal initiatives. Under his leadership Bangladesh is setting up 39 High-tech Parks and incubators launched the world’s 7th largest Tier 4 Data Centre to support technology companies.
Initiatives such as setting up of Sheikh Russel Digital Labs, specialized computer labs in educational institutions of all the districts are helping to accelerate the expansion of computer education, digital literacy, job opportunity, employment skills, and language competency of Bangladeshi students. Startup Bangladesh Limited was launched in March 2020 as the first venture capital company wholly owned by the Government of Bangladesh and one of the first few in the world. Porichoy, the e-KYC and identity management platform; EkPay, Bangladesh’s largest leading payment processor; National Emergency Service 999; and National information service 333 are other notable initiatives of the ICT Ministry. To mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage economic and entrepreneurial activities, the ICT Ministry launched programs
such as Call4Nation (a nationwide call for developing solutions to combat the pandemic – reaching over 1,000+ application), Food4Nation, Eduhub, Maa Platform (a2i), and online education solutions for Education Ministry by Startup Bangladesh Ltd. COVID Accelerator, organized by Startup Bangladesh Limited in collaboration with Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park was focused on building resilience of Startups during COVID-19.
During his tenure, more than 18,000 government offices across the country were brought under a dedicated high-speed intranet and one of the world’s largest web portal consisting of 25,000 government websites was established. These initiatives have been recognized and Bangladesh has won several awards and accolades including ICT’s Sustainable Development Award and World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10 Award from International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), the Public Service Excellence Award from World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) at World Congress of IT at their Global ICT Excellence Awards.
World Economic Forum listed him as a young global leader for his astute leadership in regard to developing the country. He was also listed as “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government” in 2018 by Apolitical, a London-based international organization. He received the National Award on Environment in 2010 in recognition for his role in the large-scale tree plantation movement.
Minister Palak is a lawyer by profession and is enrolled as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.