Recently a report was published by World Economic Forum titled “Readiness for Future Production Report 2018”. The report ranked countries on the global manufacturing index along the criteria of enhancement in production capacity by deploying newer technologies. Pakistan ranked a staggering low at the 93rd position as we lack the key enablers in our country that help capitalize on technological advancements. Human capital, investment, technology & innovation, and government support are just a few of these enablers which we desperately need.
Pakistan’s technology sector has enormous potential for growth. However, the environment is not conducive enough for start-ups to bring forth disruptive technologies and innovation. We’ve mentioned a few important changes that can have a significant impact on the IT sector and would generate billions of revenue for the country. Our hostile neighbor India has IT exports of more than $100 billion so why should we lag?
Investing in Start-ups
The government should facilitate budding start-ups by providing them with incubators, office-space, and other facilities. Providing financial support is integral as most start-ups collapse because they don’t have the financial leeway that they need. Such measures would promote entrepreneurship amongst the youth, and they’ll move towards innovation-based critical thinking. Creating a roadmap would help alleviate the stables of poverty and unemployment as well.
Legal Framework for IP
Currently, Pakistan doesn’t have any sound legal framework to stop the theft of intellectual property. This inhibits start-ups to operate freely as they believe their idea/product might get stolen and they’ll have no legal ground to challenge that. Understanding IP rights and IP protection would not only help current businesses but would contribute enormously to the state economy. The United States understands the importance of this legal framework, and therefore IP accounts for 72% of their overall exports amounting to more than $1.5 trillion. It’s embarrassing to know that only 10% of patents filed in Pakistan since its inception are local whereas rest are all foreign.
Investing in Education
Pakistan’s education system still utilizes century-old teaching methods, especially at the college level. Therefore, there is a need to revamp our education system with a more research-based syllabus. The main catalyst for India’s rise in the IT sector is quality research. It enabled an environment for innovation and thus promoted a culture of start-ups. Therefore, to survive in the 21st century, it’s imperative to understand that ignoring the interplay with entrepreneurship can be devastating for our human and economic development.