The Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB), in collaboration with the PRABRIDDHI – Local Economic Development (LED) project, funded by the Governments of Bangladesh and Switzerland, co-implemented by the Local Government Division (LGD) and Swisscontact, successfully launched its revamped Virtual Platform to foster local economic development and showcase the best practices for municipal development in Bangladesh. Mr. Md Tazul Islam MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Co-operatives launched the virtual platform at Hotel Amari on 2 June 2024.  

The virtual platform aims to enhance the outreach of the Municipal Association of Bangladesh and promote the Local Economic Development (LED) model in the country. It connects 329 municipalities through a redesigned website, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. This initiative will help scale the Local Economic Development approach to other prospective municipalities and contribute to national development goals, including achieving Upper-Middle Income status and creating a Smart Bangladesh. 

Following the launch of the virtual platform, the minister also inaugurated a three-day Digital Capacity Building Training for 40 municipal staff members to equip them with the digital literacy needed to utilize the virtual platform effectively.

Speaking at the event as the chief guest, Mr. Md Tazul Islam MP, Minister, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Co-operatives said, “In alignment with the “Smart Bangladesh” vision, MAB – an umbrella organization for 329 municipalities – is enhancing its digital presence and outreach with the support of the PRABRIDDHI project. This newly designed virtual platform enables all municipalities in the country to easily connect, share their local economic development activities with the public, and draw inspiration from each other to implement similar initiatives in their own areas. Consequently, the local economic development process will further accelerate”. 

“On this occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Switzerland, a long-standing friend of Bangladesh for their continued support towards the development of the country. I also want to thank Swisscontact, which, under the leadership of the Local Government Division, is implementing these timely initiatives through the PRABRIDDHI project,” he added.

Special guest Mr. AHM Kamruzzaman, Additional Secretary (urban wing), Local Government Division, remarked ” The core approach of the PRABRIDDHI project, which aims to achieve economic development at the local level in alignment with the Eighth Five-Year Plan and Vision 2041, is something we hope to gradually implement in all municipalities under the supervision of the Local Government Division. We have already witnessed the success of this project. If it continues in the long term, we can expect a lasting impact on the country’s economy. Thus, I urge the government of Switzerland to continue its support. As the unified organization of municipalities in Bangladesh, MAB must play a significant role in local economic development. I hope that through this virtual platform, MAB will be able to disseminate the activities and success stories related to the PRABRIDDHI project and local economic development to all municipalities across the country.” 

Special guest Mr. Md. Kamal Hossain, Joint Secretary, Local Government Division and Project Director, PRABRIDDHI remarked,” In order to establish area-based development, fostering opportunities for private investment in urban areas, establishing conducive business environments, and strengthening the capabilities of local government institutions are imperative. The “PRABRIDDHI” project, focused on local economic development, emerges as a novel initiative to promote economic progress at the municipal level. I anticipate that through this innovative virtual platform, MAB will effectively disseminate activities and success stories pertaining to local economic development to all municipalities nationwide. Consequently, development will be realized incrementally in every corner of the country.” 

Mr. Nadim Rahman, Senior Programme Officer, the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh stated, “Switzerland is proud to support MAB in launching this innovative virtual platform through the PRABRIDDHI project. This initiative exemplifies our commitment to fostering local economic development and enhancing the capabilities of municipalities across Bangladesh. By facilitating knowledge-sharing and collaboration, we aim to empower local governments to drive sustainable growth and create more resilient communities. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact this platform will have on the country’s economic development,”.

 “I am honored to be part of this momentous occasion. The launch of this virtual platform represents a leap forward in our mission to promote local economic development and showcase the remarkable achievements of municipalities in Bangladesh. By providing a forum for knowledge-sharing and collaboration, MAB expects to accelerate the pace of development and create a brighter future for all residents. Together, we can build stronger, more resilient municipalities that thrive in the face of challenges and seize opportunities for growth and prosperity.”, stated Mr. Dewan Kamal Ahmed, President, MAB and Mayor, Nilphamari Municipality. 

“I am thrilled to witness the launch of this innovative virtual platform, which marks a significant milestone in our collective efforts to foster local economic development. Through this platform, MAB aims to empower municipalities across the country to share their experiences, best practices, and success stories, ultimately contributing to the economic growth and prosperity of our nation. This initiative underscores our commitment to building stronger, more vibrant communities and highlights the crucial role that local governments play in driving sustainable development.” mentioned Mr. Md. Khalid Hossain, Secretary General, Municipal Association of Bangladesh and Mayor, Madaripur Municipality.

Mr. Markus Ehmann, Team Leader of PRABRIDDHI – Local Economic Development, Swisscontact further added “The PRABRIDDHI project, implemented by the LGD and Swisscontact, extends support to the municipalities of Bangladesh. Together with MAB, we want to improve the economic well-being of citizens of our partner municipalities. By enabling robust advocacy, peer exchange, and knowledge-sharing among municipalities, we are setting a new standard for collaborative growth. This platform will empower municipal leaders to implement innovative LED practices, fostering stronger, more resilient local economies”.

Guests from the ministry, other municipalities, MAB and Swisscontact also graced the event. The event also featured a demonstration of the redesigned website and other social media platforms. Additionally, the invited participants enjoyed a laser show.

The PRABRIDDHI project, co-implemented by the Local Government Division (LGD) and Swisscontact, is currently being implemented in seven municipalities: Bogura, Jashore, Shibganj, Bhairab, Dinajpur, Kushtia, and Cox’s Bazar.

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