ISLAMABAD, April 10: Pakistan’s global ranking in Information and Communication Technology has dropped from 102nd position in 2012 to 105th slot in 2013, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report released on Wednesday.

The report titled ‘Growth and jobs in a hyper connected world’ has placed Pakistan under a warning note that if sustained rapid economic growth is not achieved, the country’s ICT-competitiveness may be in jeopardy.

Amir Jahangir, CEO of Mishal Pakistan, a partner institute of Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum, said that while other countries are improving rapidly, Pakistan has shown little change, which is a matter of concern.

The report highlights that Pakistan is behind India, and the big challenge for the next government in Pakistan would be to put more emphasis on ICT environment and regulatory framework.

The role of ICT for a sustained economic growth and job creation is crucial to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness.

“ICT has revolutionised the way businesses are done and the country has not been able to capitalise on this,” said Mr Jahangir.

Some of the areas where Pakistan lost its ICT competitiveness are government’s procurement of advance technologies, which ranked 109th this year as compared to 91 in 2012.

Although Pakistan has improved the fixed broadband Internet tariff substantially by making Pakistan the 68th most competitive broadband provider in the world, individuals using Internet, which depicts affordability of Internet for citizens is shrinking. Pakistan lost 22 points in 2013 and is ranked at 120th on individuals using Internet.

Pakistan achieved significant gains in the last decade, when it embraced the mobile technologies and led the region by providing human resources capital and technical know-how to the global pool of mobile communication providers.

However, this gain has been greatly diminished due to lack of advancements and inconsistency in decision-making to adopt new technologies at the right time.

The WEF has said that the importance of ICT to government’s vision has deteriorated from 92nd to 117th in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Pakistan also lost 15 points on the E-participation index where government engages citizens through online services and grievance mechanism, thus resulting in stronger red-tapism and slower economic progress.

On the overall political and regulatory environment, the efficiency of legal system in challenging regulations has also deteriorated, where Pakistan is ranked 97th as compared to 79th in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

Some of the areas where Pakistan has shown improvements are on the business and innovation environment pillar, where the business sector has ensured availability of latest technologies for ICT competitiveness by improving 10 points and securing 83rd rank among 144 countries.

The Report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which measures the capacity of 144 economies to leverage ICT for growth and well-being, finds Finland (1st), Singapore (2nd) and Sweden (3rd) take the top three places. The Netherlands (4th), Norway (5th), Switzerland (6th), UK (7th), Denmark (8th), US (9th), and Taiwan, China (10th) complete the top 10.

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