Publication: Daily Times
Date; Thursday, April 11, 2013
Web Address:- http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C04%5C11%5Cstory_11-4-2013_pg5_9
WEF’s Global Information Technology Report 2013
Pakistan’s ICT ranking downgraded to 105th
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s global ranking in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been downgraded from 102nd in 2012 to 105th in 2013, according to World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2013 released on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that in Pakistan Ministry of Information Technology was headed by two former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, the country was unable to show a remarkable improvement in the country’s ICT development.
Published under the theme, Growth and Jobs in a Hyper connected World, 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.
A partner institute of Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the WEF, Mishal Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Amir Jahangir said, “As other countries are improving rapidly, Pakistan has shown little change, this a matter of concern. Pakistan is 37 ranks behind India. The big challenge for the next government in Pakistan would be to put more emphasise on ICT environment and regulatory framework. The role of ICT for a sustained economic growth and job creation is crucial to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness. ICT has revolutionised the way businesses are done and the country has not being able to capitalise on this.”
Some of the areas where Pakistan lost its ICT competitiveness are; govt’s procurement of advance technologies, which ranked 109 this year as compared to 91 in 2012. Although Pakistan has improved the fixed broadband Internet tariff substantially by making Pakistan the 68th most competitive broadband provider in the world, individuals using Internet, which depicts affordability of Internet for citizens is shrinking. Pakistan lost 22 points in 2013 and ranks at 120 on individuals using Internet. The report highlights that the gains in broadband affordability are being achieved by cannibalizing the individual Internet users.
Pakistan achieved significant gains in the last decade, when it embraced the mobile technologies and led the region by providing human resources capital and technical know how to the global pool of mobile communication providers. However this gain has been greatly diminished due to lack of advancements and inconsistency in decision making to adopt new technologies at the right time. The Importance of ICTs to government’s vision has deteriorated from 92 to 117 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Making ICT as one of the least priority areas for the govt. in Pakistan.
On the economic impact pillar, Pakistan failed to show progress on creating impact of ICTs on new organizational models by losing 10 points (91). Keeping businesses in mostly traditional areas and connecting Pakistan with the global knowledge economies.
Similarly, government’s failure to create social impact through ICT also showcases it’s 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 competitiveness with finance, thus further isolating Pakistan from moving towards a knowledge-based economy.
Pakistan also lost 15 points on the E-participation index, where government engages citizens through online services and grievance mechanism, thus resulting in stronger red-tapism slower economic progress.
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 improvements are on the business and innovation environment pillar, where the business sector has ensured the availability of latest technologies for ICT competitiveness by improving 10 points and securing 83 rank among 144 countries.
The report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which measures the capacity of 144 economies to leverage ICT for growth and well being, finds Finland (1st), Singapore (2nd) and Sweden (3rd) take the top three places. The Netherlands (4th), Norway (5th), Switzerland (6th), the United Kingdom (7th), Denmark (8th), the United States (9th), and Taiwan, China (10th) complete the top 10.
“Digitisation created 6 million jobs and added US$ 193 billion to the global economy in 2011. Although in aggregate positive, the impact of digitisation is not uniform across sectors and economies – it creates and destroys jobs,” said Booz and Company Partner and sponsor of the report Bahjat El-Darwiche. “Policymakers wishing to accentuate the positive impact of digitization need to understand these different effects if they wish act as digital market makers in their economies.”
This report demonstrates that economies that fail to implement comprehensive national broadband strategies risk losing ground in global competitiveness and may fall behind in the delivery of societal benefits from ICTs. Plans that incorporate both supply and demand-side measures offer countries the best opportunity to advance broadband adoption, said Global Technology Policy, Cisco Vice President and sponsor of the report Dr Robert Pepper.
The NRI uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the forum in collaboration with partner institutes. This Survey of more than 15,000 executives provides insight into areas critical for networked readiness.
The WEF is an independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.