IT Minister visits Mobile World Congress, what does it mean for Pakistan?

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March 4, 2019
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Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Khalid Maqbool has recently concluded his visit to Barcelona, Spain, where he attended Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019. MWC is the world’s top mobile fair and this year’s edition took place from February 25th to 28th.

The Minister interacted with the CEOs of various global tech firms at the event and also attended the Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) Ministerial Program. But was he able to convince any of the tech entity to bring foreign direct investment in the ICT sector of the country in the near future?

MWC is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry which consolidates a thought-leadership conference featuring prominent executives representing global mobile operators, gadgets makers, vendors, and media outlets. So, for the better part of Pakistan’s IT minister’s three-day visit, he hoped to gauge the country’s current standings in the ICT sector and to engage with global ICT policy-makers and regulators for understanding the best practices for evolving the ICT sector of Pakistan to keep up the pace with global leaders. However, all we have heard so far about his meetings at MWC on various local media outlets we can assume that his visit was promising but not quite fruitful.

During his three-day visit, Dr. Siddiqui met with ministers and senior administrators of various governments, leaders of global technology giants and senior officials of Multilateral Policy Making Organizations, presenting the potential of Pakistan’s ICT sector and the overall market.

Dr. Siddiqui also met with the leadership of Huawei, VMWare, Whale Cloud (Alibaba Group), and Telenor Group, requesting them to enhance their footprints in the country. This seems an intriguing effort, nonetheless. However, the companies cannot agree to invest in the country or open a regional support center without an invitation for the country visit to see actual ICT grounds. In this regard, building a proper channel for further communications with these companies could have been a good start.

Local industry leaders were also present at the exhibition booth of Pakistani Software Exports Board, with whom the Minister met. He also interacted with the Founder of Sehat Kahani at Innovation City booth. The Minister received positive nods and support assurances to cultivate new investment and export opportunities for the ICT sector in Pakistan, however, nothing tangible has been announced until now.

For now, let’s hope that the Ministry follows up with these companies after this significant networking activity, or this visit to Spain would only end up as a mere sightseeing tour.

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