Capacity building in emerging technologies a must to boost IT exportsBreaking

May 02, 2024

Pakistan is intensifying efforts to create a conducive environment for information technology companies to thrive and help boost IT exports. Pakistan's Information Technology and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) Export Strategy envisages taking exports to $10 billion over the next three years, and creating a strong environment that would enable IT businesses to prosper both nationally and globally. It emphasises that Pakistan has a significant potential to increase its IT/ITeS export revenues to $10-$18bn by 2028. Achieving this target would position Pakistan as a prominent global IT hub, and lead to a growth of the domestic industry to over $6bn per year, reports WealthPK. "The impact of the IT sector on developed and developing economies is transformative. It is emerging as a major force behind economic growth and is redefining the structure of economies in various ways," said Asfand Yar Khan, Director General (IT) of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication.

"This includes encouraging financial inclusion and the growth of the financial sector; facilitating knowledge spillover that spurs innovation; accelerating growth in capital and labour productivity; improving traditional business operations' efficiency; and creating new opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, particularly for women and marginalised groups," he told WealthPK. Asfand Yar said: "There is a need of targeted initiatives to promote IT exports, including market diversification strategies, participation in international trade events, and facilitation for IT companies to access global markets." "Recognising the importance of a skilled workforce, we should emphasise capacity building in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cybersecurity," he said. He said collaborations with educational institutions and industry stakeholders could bridge skill gaps and enhance competitiveness. Asfand Yar said creating a favourable business environment was paramount to attracting investments and fostering growth. "Measures are required to streamline regulatory processes, provide incentives for IT startups and enhance infrastructure for digital connectivity."

Asfand Yar said that encouraging innovation and research was crucial for sustainable growth in the IT sector. "The collaboration between IT companies, research institutions and startups to drive technological advancements and create cutting-edge solutions is necessary." In addition to government initiatives, private sector players are actively contributing to the growth of Pakistan's IT exports. Collaborations with international tech giants, establishment of tech parks and innovation hubs, and research and development investments indicate a vibrant and dynamic IT landscape in the country. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, IT exports recorded $1.7 billion during the first seven months (July-January) of the ongoing fiscal year (FY24), a 13% increase from $1.5 billion during the same period of the previous year. Net IT exports in January 2024 were $240 million, up 35% YoY, but down 9% month-over-month. The net IT exports in January 2024 also exceeded the last 12-month average of $199 million. In 7MFY24, net IT exports grew by 11% YoY to $1.5 billion.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan