The federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, has revealed that a strategic plan and roadmap for 5G technology in Pakistan is being formulated, keeping in view the aspects of Spectrum Management, Infrastructure Development, Review of Telecom Regulations, and 5G applications/use cases.

He announced this while addressing a virtual meeting of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).

“The government is committed to reduce digital divide between rural and urban communities, and focuses on youth empowerment and gender equality,” he said.

Minister Haque said that the Government of Pakistan has brought in many reforms aimed at creating a better environment for tech-based businesses in the country. He also creditedthe country’s landmark achievements in the ICT sector in recent years to the effective policies of the incumbent government.

The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) had held a forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly, inviting the Ministers from the seven member countries. The aim of the event was to discuss the role of the DCO in building an inclusive digital age within which more nations may prosper.

Ministers from all the seven founder member countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan) attended the meeting. The Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, of the United Nations (UN), Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, also attended the session.

Minister Haque said that the rise of the digital economy, which has been accelerated by the pandemic, has transformed the world but its global potential is yet to be fully realized. Countries face new challenges as the global scale of the digital economy and the power of private sector actors grow.

“Digital Cooperation Organization has emerged as one of the most promising collaborative forums to promote digital partnerships among like-minded countries,” he said

“Being a founding member of DCO, the Government of Pakistan fully endorses that DCO is actively pursuing its vision of achieving social prosperity and growth of the digital economy by unifying efforts to advance the digital transformation agenda and promote common interests of the member states,” he explained.

Minister Haque also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts towards digitization and said that the country has re-energized its digital transformation journey with the launch of Digital Pakistan that aims to enhance connectivity, improve digital infrastructure, increase investment in digital skills, promote innovation, and technology entrepreneurship under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The government strongly believes in the mass adoption of emerging digital technologies and innovative applications to enable cross-sector socio-economic development and transformation of economic activities, governance models, social interactions, and the achievement of sustainable development goals,  Minister Haque said.

He mentioned that Pakistan has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia in Mckinsey & Co’s latest report on the Pakistani ecosystem. During the fiscal year 2020-21, Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 47.4 percent, and crossed the $2 billion mark for the first time.

The World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan among the best countries in terms of the affordability of ICT services. Meanwhile, Pakistan has been ranked as the second-largest supplier of online labor in software development and technology according to the latest ILO report. It substantially improved its position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report.

Minister Haque said that the government envisions accelerated the digitization and transformation of Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy to spur economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication launched a program to build a network of National Incubation Centers. It has successfully established five National Incubation Centers in the federal capital and all the provincial capitals, while inducting more than 440 promising startups.

He said that the DCO provides an ideal platform for Pakistan and other countries to learn from each other by working together and collaborating at the regional level, which has a significant impact across the globe. He thanked the UN and the DCO for organizing the session and inviting the UN member countries to work with the DCO to achieve their shared goal of digital transformation and promoting joint initiatives to leverage ICT potential for socio-economic growth.