Pakistan hopes to leap up list of ease-of-doing business

Updated October 17, 2019

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Ambassador to US Asad Majeed Khan says Pakistan is pushing its IT sector to US companies and investors. — USIP screengrab/File
Ambassador to US Asad Majeed Khan says Pakistan is pushing its IT sector to US companies and investors. — USIP screengrab/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to take the next stage of development with hopes to leap up the list of ease-of-doing business by 20 to 30 notches, Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan has said.

In an interview with David Bloom of The Forbes magazine, he said Pakistan is pushing its IT sector to the US companies and investors, hoping international deals will translate to a bottom-line boost for the country’s struggling economy.

The interview under headline “A more peaceful Pakistan puts on an IT charm offensive in Silicon Valley” says that the most visible part of this fact came earlier this month with a daylong Silicon Valley conference in San Jose, California, backed by the Pakistani government.

“If I were to look at our overall economic performance, the IT sector comes out as one that has performed the best,” said Mr Khan, who was also one of the conference speakers.

More than 200 attendees heard pitches from 14 Pakistani start-ups seeking venture capital, along with panels on microelectronics, software development, artificial intelligence, gaming, medical innovation, and venture capital funding.

Over the years, the government has not done as much as it should have in terms of focusing on expanding the IT sector, said Ambassador Khan.

The Forbes said “in part that’s because the country’s charismatic new prime minister, former international cricket star Imran Khan, has made the economy his top priority”. The economy is his primary and principal focus, Ambassador Khan said. The manner in which he’s approaching foreign policy is rooted in his desire to turn around the economy and provide jobs to the people.

As part of a broader set of initiatives, the country is trying to grow its already substantial tech sector and attract international investment, especially from the United States and neighbouring China.

Pakistan already generates at least $4 billion a year in IT exports, though the ambassador said the number is likely to be higher because some IT-related payments get lumped in with international remittances.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2019