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Pakistan Ranks at 105 on WEF’s Technology Report

news2Publication: The News International
Date; Thursday, April 11, 2013
Web Address:- http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-170565-Pakistan-ranks-at-105-on-WEF%20s-technology-report

News Desk

Thursday, April 11, 2013
From Print Edition

ISLAMABAD: Despite efforts taken to improve information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure in developing economies, there still remains a digital divide in how countries harness ICT to deliver competitiveness and wellbeing, Global Information Technology Report’s 12th edition said.

Published under the theme, ‘Growth and jobs in a hyperconnected world’, the report was released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum.

The report suggests that national policies in some developing economies are failing to translate ICT investment into tangible benefits in terms of competitiveness, development and employment. This is in addition to the profound digital divide that already exists between advanced and developing economies in access to digital infrastructure and content.

Pakistan continues to lag behind in the rankings. Unable to achieve a sustained rapid economic growth may put Pakistan’s ICT-competitiveness in jeopardy, unless the right investments are made in ICT, skills and innovation.

Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, said: “As other countries are improving rapidly, Pakistan has shown little change, which is a matter of concern,” he said. “Pakistan ranks 37 places behind India. The big challenge for the next government in Pakistan will be to put more emphasis on ICT environment and regulatory framework.”

He added that the role of ICT is crucial to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness. ICT has revolutionised the way businesses are done and the country has not been able to capitalise on this.

On the economic impact pillar, Pakistan failed to show progress in creating impact of ICTs on new organisational models by losing 10 points (91).

Similarly, the government’s failure to create social impact through ICT also showcases its poor understanding of innovation ecosystem and value creation for the citizens in the digital age.

The government failed to create value through ICT use and improving efficiency, where Pakistan lost an alarming 16 points (121 among 144 countries). Not being able to improve any regulations on venture capital availability has also created a bottleneck for an innovation economy in the country. This signifies Pakistan’s lack of correlation between innovation and competiveness with finance, thus further isolating Pakistan from moving towards a knowledge-based economy.

Some of the areas where Pakistan lost its ICT competitiveness are: the government’s procurement of advance technologies, which ranked 109 this year as compared to 91 in 2012. Although, Pakistan has improved fixed broadband internet tariff substantially by making Pakistan the 68th most competitive broadband provider in the world, individuals using the internet are shrinking. Pakistan lost 22 points in 2013 and ranks at 120 on individuals using the internet.

Pakistan achieved significant gains in the last decades, when it embraced mobile technologies and led the region by providing human resources capital and technical knowhow to the global pool of mobile communication providers. However, this gain has been diminished due to lack of advancements and inconsistency in decision making to adopt new technologies at the right time.

On the overall political and regulatory environment, the efficiency of legal system in challenging regulations has also deteriorated, where Pakistan is ranked 97 as compared to 79 in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Intellectual property protection has also been neglected and Pakistan lost 13 points by securing 103 on the network readiness index.

Some of the areas where Pakistan has shown improvement are the business and innovation environment pillars, where the business sector has ensured the availability of latest technologies for ICT competitiveness by improving 10 points and securing the 83rd rank among 144 countries.

“This analysis shows how matching investments in ICT with investment in skills and innovation can help economies cross a magic threshold, beyond which return on investment increases significantly,” Bruno Lanvin, executive director of the e-lab at INSEAD and co-editor of the report, said.

“Individual countries need to identify what separates them from reaching that threshold if they have not reached it yet in order to fulfill long- term growth, competitiveness and innovation targets.”

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