In the Global Information Technology report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the year 2015, Pakistan has crawled into the top hundred, obtaining the 97th spot.
The Global Information Technology Report is a special project within the framework of the WEF’s Global Competitiveness and Risks Team and the Industry Partnership Programme for Information and Communication Technologies. It is the result of collaboration between the World Economic Forum and INSEAD. The report has been published since 2001 and from the start it has measured the drivers of the ICT revolution using the Networked Readiness Index. For each of the 143 economies covered, it allows areas of priority to be identified to more fully leverage ICTs for development.
Pakistan has seen a lot of ups and downs in its ranking in the Global IT report since it was first mentioned. In 2012, our ranking slipped from 102 to 105. In 2013, our ranking further slipped to 111. This year is a great improvement, as we have gone up 14 places to achieve the 97th spot in the world rankings. This ranking reflects on the growing trend of technology awareness in the country. Pakistan has about 30 million internet users and according to a recent report the number of 3G/4G users touched the 18 million mark. Our CMO’s have invested $1.1 billion to expand 3G/4G internet services.
This year’s report has four important messages: first, the ICT revolution holds the potential of transforming economies and societies and of addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time. Second, this ICT revolution is well under way in some parts of the world where its is accelerating as a result of the ubiquity of broadband Internet, the democratization of technologies, and the accelerating pace of innovation. Third, the ICT revolution has not so far reached large parts of the planet. Many of those who stand to gain the most from it are not yet connected. In order to better leverage ICTs for development, a higher level of preparedness and better infrastructure and access are needed for which government leadership and vision are critical. Finally, the report mentions about the digital divides that exist within countries. Even in the most advanced economies, only certain segments of the population are benefiting from ICTs. Many are left behind because of their age, limited digital literacy, lack of access, or remoteness.
However, the solution to fixing the digital divide won’t be to just blindly try to increase the ICT use. The report, therefore, concludes with a call for action. Government officials will need to work with the concerned stakeholders to come up with long-term strategies that can bring about lasting changes so that a greater portion of the population leverages ICT.