Tech will help us revive faster
Imran Chaudhry, CEO of Cinergie Group, summarises the efforts by Prime Minister Imran Khan's government to step up the economy of the country
For the entire world, the past one year has been extraordinarily challenging to say the least. As we look back, it is apparent that those who were able to adapt and pivot quickly have fared better than others, and those best integrated and positioned with technology were able to evolve the fastest.
For Pakistan, along with pre-existing economic challenges, the burden of dealing with a global pandemic escalated the importance of being adaptable. In 2020 both the private and public sectors were woken to the need for immediately modernising the tech sector in the country. Many wheels have already been put in motion, and this year we should start seeing the benefits of those initiatives and policies.
The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is certainly not tone-deaf to the need for technological development in the country. Just recently, he addressed a crowd at Malakand University saying that "we have to fully participate in that [technological revolution] as we have been left behind." His government has already supported or initiated many programmes and changes in policy, from creating the Civil Drone Authority and accelerating the start of 5G by next year, to recently launching the Special Technology Zones Authority.
Ultimately all these measures are geared towards sparking an economic growth and providing vital support to other sectors that can benefit from advancements in technology, whether it is agriculture, security, or transportation and logistics. However, a focus area that I find particularly exciting and promising in Pakistan is fintech. Led by Dr Reza Baqir, the State Bank of Pakistan has been championing the growth and interest in this space. Later this month, the first Pakistan Fintech Summit is being hosted in collaboration with the State Bank. In addition, they have also recently launched the Roshan Digital Account to facilitate investments and banking needs in the country, and more ventures remain in the pipeline.
Admittedly, perhaps the pace of technological growth in Pakistan has historically not been impressive. Yet fuelled by the challenges of recent times, it has garnered the due attention of the government. If the previous year caused an awakening, this year has already commenced with requisite action and course correction. The results will follow shortly in the coming couple of years. At present, this should make the Pakistani tech space very attractive to investors, especially those based in the Gulf region in close proximity to Pakistan who can leverage Dubai's recent advancements in positioning itself as a global tech hub.
Those of us residing in the UAE are blessed to have easy exposure to individuals, companies, and markets from all over the world. For that, I would like to extend my gratitude to the rulers especially His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for enabling us to proposer here, and I believe we should in turn also engage in opportunities that positively impact societies in developing countries and help others prosper as well.
I would encourage all Pakistani businesspersons based in the region to assist with the promotion of Pakistan's investment opportunities. With the Expo 2020, we have a wonderful opportunity to showcase Pakistan, and must utilise that for fostering of foreign relations and the introduction of technology investors and services into the country.
On the occasion of Pakistan Day, I wholeheartedly wish Pakistan and its people all the best and remain extremely hopeful and convinced of good fortunes ahead.
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