Potential of digitization


In a report, the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has concluded that digitization has the potential to add $60 billion to Pakistan’s economy within the next seven to eight years. The report titled “Recommendations for Digital Transformation in Pakistan”, presented to the President of Pakistan, aims to help the country on its digital journey and covers suggestions on e-commerce, fintech, IT exports and web 3.0 technologies etc.

The points and factors highlighted by the OICCI vis-à-vis digital potential of the country are not rhetoric as Pakistan’s vibrant technology sector has grown significantly in recent years and is poised to further growth provided a congenial atmosphere is created for the purpose. The country produces over 20,000 IT graduates each year, has nurtured over 700 tech start-ups since 2010 and has the fourth highest earning IT work force in the world. As Pakistan is passing through one of the worst phases of its life, IT remains the only sector offering employment opportunities to the highly qualified youth and that is why more and more students are opting for IT education as against the previous trend of medicine and engineering. As highlighted by the OICCI, the potential is there and it can help the country tackle its economic and financial challenges but for that to happen we need to remove hurdles in the way of IT growth and provide incentives to the sector. Experts say there are three areas of action required for Pakistan to fully capture its digital opportunity: i) develop infrastructure to support the local tech ecosystem; ii) create a conducive environment for IT exports, and iii) promote innovation and digital skills.

The OICCI report offers key recommendations to policymakers, including suggestions for digital infrastructure and connectivity, government, private sector and mass digital usage, emerging web 3.0 technologies and digital regulations to accelerate innovation in Pakistan. According to a research report, a 10% increase in broadband penetration results in increasing the GDP by 1.4% and this speaks volumes about the need and benefits of investment in the IT and telecom sectors. However, all this can be achieved only if there is political stability and continuation of policies, which is a big question mark in the prevailing environment in the country.