According to a new analysis commissioned by Google, digital transformation can help Pakistan unleash up to Rs.9.7 trillion (59.7 billion USD) in annual economic value by 2030, comparable to nearly 19 percent of the country’s GDP in 2020.
According to the research, Pakistan has a robust technology sector, which was unveiled at a recent Google / P@SHA online event called “Unlocking Pakistan’s Digital Potential.” Since 2010, the country has nurtured over 700 digital start-ups, employing over 300,000 IT workers and producing over 25,000 IT graduates yearly. Since 2020, technology exports have increased by 15% per year and are predicted to reach USD3.5 billion (Rs. 610,750,000,000) in 2022. Pakistan’s online population is quickly increasing, with the internet penetration rate expected to reach 54 percent by 2021.
Despite these many achievements, Pakistan can go further in its digital transformation journey. The report, prepared by economists at AlphaBeta, identifies three main pillars of action Pakistan could take to reach the projected growth opportunity. This includes developing infrastructure to support the local tech ecosystem, continuing to create a conducive environment for IT export, and promoting innovation and digital skills in the country.
There are eight key technologies that hold transformative potential for businesses and workers and can create significant economic value for Pakistan. These include the mobile internet; cloud computing; big data; AI; fintech; IoT and remote sensing; advanced robotics; and additive manufacturing.
Farhan Qureshi, Regional Director, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Google, believes that despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, the future for Pakistan’s digital economy is bright.
“Digital transformation is vital for Pakistan to address the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and build long-term resilience and growth. At Google, we aim to play our part by equipping Pakistanis with helpful products and tools, tech know-how, and online safety skills. Going forward, we will continue working with partners like P@SHA and the various government agencies to help fulfill the Digital Pakistan Vision” said the country Director.
His Excellency Dr. Arif Alvi, President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan added “I was encouraged to see AlphaBeta’s finding that digital transformation could create Rs. 9.7 trillion in annual economic value in Pakistan by 2030. Realizing this goal and the vision of Digital Pakistan will require a whole-of-nation approach, from both the public and private sectors. The efforts of groups like Google and P@SHA will be key. It is heartening to note that, according to AlphaBeta’s report, over 410,000 jobs are supported in Pakistan’s economy through the use of Google’s products.”
Badar Khushnood, Chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) for IT & IT-enabled Services (ITeS) also shared, “P@SHA represents thousands of technology companies and has been at the fore-front of the #DigitalPakistan revolution. Our industry has seen record-breaking growth over the last few years and we strive to take it to the next level. P@SHA envisions to unleash the potential of IT and ITeS industry in Pakistan from all perspectives! To stay true to our vision, we focus on leading the industry narrative. From policy advocacy to ecosystem enablement and in-depth research and insights, P@SHA interventions have had a significant impact over the last two decades.
P@SHA continues to work closely with relevant public and private sector stakeholders to not only accelerate growth in software and services exports but also fast-track digital transformation in domestic sectors of the economy as well. Google and P@SHA’s relationship continues to grow and we look forward to further strengthening this win-win synergy for Pakistan’s brighter and more vibrant digital ecosystem.”
Krinza Momin, Former GDSC Lead & Jr. Data Scientist at Afiniti who also joined the event to share about Pakistan developer community also shared “With the efforts that Google is plugging in for Pakistan, I am glad that we have platforms such as Google Developer Student Clubs, Google Developer Groups, Women Techmakers and Google Developer Experts to be a part of. These programs enabled me and many others to have conversations with industry experts in Pakistan and worldwide which also created global avenues for us to learn from. Pakistan can truly position itself around startups and innovation to fuel economic prosperity and efforts like this event by P@SHA and Google make the destination one step closer”.
Qureshi continued, “In order to be effective, digital transformation has to be inclusive. It is essential to make digital training opportunities accessible also to underrepresented communities and vulnerable groups. We recently launched a pilot program with the National Rural Support Programme to equip more Pakistanis with online safety skills and digital literacy and reached more than 1,000 students in just two months. Our Grow with Google programme has trained over 5,500 SMEs on how to leverage digital tools to support the development of a digitally skilled workforce.”