ISLAMABAD - With the emergence of the new government, Pakistan’s shift towards the development of ‘Digital Economy’ is increasing day by day.
Pakistan currently has an abundance of manpower and if the new government can utilize the country’s huge reserves of human resource to develop its ‘Digital Economy’, then according to Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) Pakistan’s GDP can be increased by a whopping $50 billion per annum.
Although Pakistan’s digital participation metrics are lagging behind its neighbors, its digital penetration index is on the upward trajectory.
However, there is still huge untapped potential when it comes to leveraging this digital transformation for economic growth. Google’s recent white paper on Pakistan’s increasing influence link in the smartphone market is another indicator pointing towards huge potential in Pakistan’s digital landscape.
Lars Anthonisen, Head of Large Customer Marketing, South Asia Google wrote that Pakistan is emerging as a key digital-first country with the fifth largest population with increasing number of entrepreneurs. With over 150 million mobile phone subscribers, Pakistan is among the fastest growing mobile markets in the world.
With such huge potential, Pakistan is currently one of the top-5 growth markets for the connectivity industry. Currently, many entrepreneurial businesses in Pakistan are providing solutions for many problems via digital innovations which in turn is helping to accelerate the growth of economy.
However, with such a promising talent, it should be noted that the government’s socio-economic policies are not catered for an entrepreneurial environment.
Simply put, in order for the digital sector of Pakistan to develop, the Pakistani government must provide an ecosystem that develops and nurtures the digital skillset of the youth.
There have been some attempts in recent times where the government has introduced the concept of E-education in schools but the pace and scope of these attempts have been very limited. Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), in its report, stated the following recommendations that need to be implemented for a better ecosystem for Pakistan’s digital economy:
- Deployment of technology in the healthcare sector - Develop digital skills in the workforce - Develop a financially inclusive economy which can increase the GDP and create more jobs - Streamline the use of technology in the agriculture sector for a more efficient output - Create more economic zones for the IT sector which can increase digital entrepreneurship - Improve and expand the reach of broadband services - Develop and adopt the concept of Big data and subsequently use Artificial Intelligence for more sustainable development - Develop Blockchain technology for better tax collection and voting system
If the government can prioritize transformation of the digital landscape of Pakistan by reducing socioeconomic inequalities, creating an entrepreneurial-friendly ecosystem and streamline the use of technology according to the recommendations which have been put forward by OCCI, then Pakistan can witness a definitive upward trend in its digital economy , fulfilling the predictions that we have been hearing about IT taking Pakistan out of predicament and towards a more prosperous future.