Pakistan’s ICT Industry: Is it progressing?

Over the past decade, Pakistan’s ICT sector has experienced a “prolific boom” as an increase in ICT infrastructure and affordability has led to better accessibility. Currently Pakistan’s technology export rate (which includes aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals and scientific instrument products) has increased from 1% in 2007 to 1.8%, where it has remained relatively constant for the past three years. In comparison, the United States’ technology export rate is 18.1% of its manufactured exports. Additionally, Pakistan’s ICT expenditure accounts for 4.4% of its total GDP.

While ICT production does not seem to be as high as other more developed nations, Pakistan is making an effort to increase its production in order to use ICT at an enabler for development in other sectors, such as health, education, etc. Additionally, Pakistan is looking to decrease its urban/rural digital divide by investing 700 million dollars towards infrastructure and networking. In order to accomplish this Pakistan will need to upgrade their local software and applications, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for the Pakistanis, which will positively impact Pakistan’s economy. Additionally, companies such as Telecommunication Company Limited, which is investing in one of the largest international submarine cables to help Pakistan meet future telecommunication needs, are increasing investments in order to create better quality and faster ICT products.  

It is clear from Pakistan’s 2012 IT Policy draft that an increase in ICT production would positively affect the education, health, agriculture and empowerment sectors, which would in turn have a positive impact on the economy. Creating jobs, decreasing child and maternal mortality, increasing agriculture productivity and increasing knowledge and training will not only help Pakistan’s social environment, but also increase their GDP, their exports and increase foreign direct investment. It seems that ICT production may be the key to Pakistan’s transformation from an underdeveloped country to a global competitor.

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