At GITEX, Pakistan makes a pitch for investment in its Information Technology (IT) sector
Pakistan made its mark on day two of GITEX GLOBAL 2022, dubbed the world’s largest tech show, where the audience at a session titled ‘Pakistan Innovation Day’ heard from the country’s IT minister as well as big wigs of its tech sector.
Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque said Pakistan’s tech sector has grown 150% since July 2020, despite the pandemic, urging international firms to attend ‘Tech Spring’ in March 2023 in Lahore to witness this for themselves. The event will focus on blockchain, AI, Internet of Things as well as e-commerce.
Haque said the Pakistan’s startup sector has seen phenomenal growth in funding and is also financially attractive for outsourcing. It benefits from a young population, high smartphone penetration and a unique geographic location. What’s more, it is the third largest English-speaking population with a conducive business environment, he added.
“We are on the road to sustainable digital transformation and to fast track this we are taking policy initiatives such as Digital Pakistan, Cyber Security, Cloud First and AI.”
Earlier in the day, Haque had also spoken at a panel discussion on ‘Digital Inclusion: Aligning Regulators & Network Providers to Bridge the Digital Divide’ at GITEX that expects to see 100,000 attendees this year.
At Pakistan Innovation Day, the audience also heard from Mohammed Asif Peer, CEO of Systems Limited, who highlighted the opportunities Pakistan presents.
He said Pakistan has 26,000 IT graduates “and with the help of the IT ministry, with the help of the federal government, the country is really focusing on up-skilling and reskilling all these IT graduates and professionals that we have.
“We can take this as a real opportunity to shine and give our resources to the world and the world can take a benefit from Pakistan as an IT destination.”
He also said that with 195 million mobile subscribers, 72 million social media users and with 19% of adults making online purchases/payments, there are endless use cases in the tech space.
Host Osman Nasir, former managing director at the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), added that growth in the tech sector is not just coming from big cities – there has been 145% growth in the past one year in registration of small companies in small towns, he said.
Muhammad Sear, digital government lead at EY, was also invited to give an outsider’s view on the country’s tech space.
Lauding the country’s professionalism and growth, he said Pakistan needs to move on from leveraging itself as a source of cheap labour and outsourcing destination and look at becoming innovators.
“Most of the focus is on manpower and how can be wean outsource destination, but what if you become innovators? Building solutions and products seen in the world as innovative products.
“This will change the way you are seen in the world and it also means more money as innovation has no price tag,” he told the audience.
“If you can somehow change the mindset around two things – looking at your economy through a digital economy lens, and innovation, this could be a game changer.”
Salim Ghauri, co-founder and CEO at NETSOL Technologies, also spoke at the event. He said cloud companies will have big opportunities in Pakistan as the government prepares to shift all of its data to the cloud.
Pakistan’s section at GITEX was titled ‘Tech Destination Pakistan’, with roughly 30 companies exhibiting, including Systems Limited, Inbox Business Technologies, and TallyMarks Consulting (TMC) among others.
GITEX Global 2022, currently under way at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will conclude on October 14. The event, in its 42nd year, is its largest yet, featuring 5,000 companies spanning 26 halls and 2 million square feet of exhibition space.
Source: Business Recorder