Pakistan flaunts IT potential

By Usman Hanif
Published in The Express Tribune on October 14, 2022

KARACHI:  Pakistan is fast emerging as one of the IT hubs in the world on account of its human resource potential.

“Pakistan is considered as the emerging hub of the IT industry across the world with its increasing contribution to the global banking system through innovative services and out-of-the-box solutions,” said NdcTech Limited CEO and President, Ammara Masood while addressing an audience at the Bank of the Future Forum 2022.

She added that the global fintech services provider, Temenos, has designated Pakistan as the regional hub for targeting the penetration of its services in different countries including banks and the financial sector.

MD Systems Limited CEO, Asif Peer affirmed that “Pakistan’s IT industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years”.

Talking to the media, Peer noted that “Pakistan can’t survive by relying only on manufacturing-led exports. The country needs services-led exports which can be done through IT and IT-enabled services. This is the only viable method to enhance the country’s exports.”

According to 2021 Kearney’s Global Services Location Index, Pakistan is ranked as the second-most financially attractive location in the world for offshore outsourcing services, and the second-largest supplier of online labour in software development and technology as per the ILO Flagship Report 2021.

“The government and IT companies are working aggressively to promote IT exports at the international level. This can be seen most recently from the mega pavilion of Pakistan set up at the Gulf Technology Exhibition (GITEX) Global in Dubai,” he said.

Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA) Chairman, Zohaib Khan apprised that “Pakistani IT companies have displayed diverse capabilities to industry players of the IT industry at GITEX 2022.”

“These services include, but are not limited to, IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS), internationally-acclaimed accomplishments and potential, human resource strengths and skill-sets, untapped export potential, business process outsourcing (BPO) capabilities, internationally-accredited tech infrastructure, services in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technologies, fintech ecosystem, web 3.0 and metaverse and software and application development competencies,” he explained.

Khan inaugurated the Pakistani Pavilion in GITEX 2022 in Dubai along with Pakistan’s Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Syed Aminul Haque.

The P@SHA chairman expressed profound optimism saying, “Tangible gains have been accomplished during the exhibition – be that export orders, investment propositions, skill development collaborations, single-country follow-up meetings, B2B alliance or ground-breaking discussions on joint ventures.”

It is pertinent to note that GITEX is the biggest show and event in the entire Middle East and GCC region for IT, ITeS and other allied technologies. This year, 29 member companies of P@SHA are participating in GITEX in collaboration with the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB). The ITT-minister has set forth an ambitious target of $5 billion in IT exports for the FY 2023 and $15 billion in the next five years.

“P@SHA is all geared-up to turn this dream into a reality,” commented Khan.

Pakistan has already posted an export growth of 150% in IT exports during FY2019 – FY2022. No other industry in Pakistan has achieved so much growth in export numbers over the last few years in comparison.

Khan maintained that “Internationally, venture capital markets have been shrinking for the past couple of years. However, despite that trend, Pakistani IT companies have received considerably enhanced funding. Therefore, it would be counterintuitive and counterproductive to not capitalise on the enormous potential of the IT industry of Pakistan – which may result in half-a-million new jobs for the youth in a short-span of three years.”

Highlighting the global trend in the banking sector, the NdcTech Limited CEO said that “Cloud banking is becoming popular in Pakistan which is not only secure but it aids banks to scale up operations without huge investments in technology infrastructure”.

“At NdcTech, we are working to introduce solutions for commercial banks which would offer seamless services to customers at their doorsteps rather than at branches. NdcTech is not only providing services to Pakistani banks but also exports its services to different countries including those in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific region,” she added.

“NdcTech became a partner of Temenos in 2021 and implemented its system in 18 different commercial banks including conventional, Islamic and microfinance banks across Pakistan. This helped the company attract various financial entities to avail its services in the Gulf region,” she explained.

Quoting ITT Minister Haque, Khaleej Times wrote that Pakistan also aims to host its own tech exhibition called ‘Techspring’ in March 2023. Haque also invited all the participating companies and countries to attend and “be delighted by their (Pakistani companies’) inventiveness, talent and professionalism”.

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