Engineer Ahmad Hassan, the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI’s) standing Committee on R&D Chairman said on Tuesday that exponential growth expected in coming decades in 14 latest technologies had necessitated Pakistan-like countries to equip its youth in these sectors to get its due share from the emerging opportunities in addition to enhancing foreign remittances.
Technology has a major role to play in giving impetus to a country’s economic growth. But Pakistan lags in adapting to innovation to spur growth. A fast-paced adaptation of technology can drive Pakistan’s economy out of the lurch. “In today’s world, artificial intelligence and smart technologies are affecting how we live, produce and consume.”
Talking to WealthPK, Khan Muhammad Wazir, Director General Ministry of Science and Technology, said innovation was the key to the development of every start-up as the world was going through a revolution that placed great emphasis on how quickly people could use their knowledge to innovate.
He said for robust economic growth, technological adaptation was a must. “The developed world’s success is because it has continually invested in technology. If a country wishes to achieve success and attain power, it will have to end hunger and poverty and ensure sustained economic growth, and that is possible only through adopting innovative technologies to boost production.”
Addressing a meeting of the business community here, he said that the world’s future was directly linked with 14 technologies including mobile-connected devices, gene editing, digital wallets, blockchain, cloud computing, gene sequencing, internet of things, artificial intelligence, living therapies, battery technology, reusable rockets, robotics, autonomous mobility, and 3D printing.
Muhammad Wazir underscored that technological development was a necessary aspect of the economic process. “Competition and the desire to find a better, more efficient way to produce goods and services, drive firms to take advantage of every new technological advancement.”
“More technological improvement means the more efficient production of goods and services and higher economic growth. The good thing about technology is that it can be exported to other countries with ease. Due to global rivalries over economic power, multinational firms compete to employ as much technology as possible in their production processes, which means more robust and cross-border trade activity,” he explained.
“Moreover, advancement in technology opens up opportunities for better jobs, and increased career prospects necessitate increased training and education of workforce in technological know-how.”
He continued: “Innovation decreases the production costs and increases the quality and quantity of products, which then fetch handsome and hefty foreign exchange, and also greatly help finance a country’s imports, thus ensuring balance in foreign payments.”
Underlining the socio-economic impact of these technologies, he said international investment companies which were framing their long-term strategies had already focused on disruptive technology. The ministry of science and technology director general said technological advancement was the outcome of consistent investment in research and development.
“Unfortunately, Pakistan has never shown much interest in research and development despite guarantees of outstanding outcomes. Whether it is agriculture or industry, we have always used outmoded techniques in the hope of better results. Because of this lack of interest to improve technological capabilities, Pakistan fails to compete in the global markets as far as its goods and services are concerned.”
“However, if Pakistan chooses the path of a knowledge-based economy, it can increase agricultural productivity, value-added industrial production, and cutting-edge services. Additionally, this will have a favorable knock-on effect on infrastructure, education, and public health. In this way, Pakistan will be able to narrow down the output gaps between its economy and that of the developed countries,” stressed Muhammad Wazir.
Citing the CEO of Ark invest, Hassan said that five innovation platforms were currently evolving and converging at the same time. “These are artificial intelligence, robotics, energy storage, DNA sequencing, and Blockchain technology”, he said and added that policymakers in collaboration with national R&D institutions must carve out futuristic policies because of emerging global developments in the fields of technologies and innovations.
“It is imperative to drag out Pakistan from the current economic crisis and make it strong enough to absorb the future challenges”, he added.