People may not have power but have at least one smartphone at home

People may not have power but have at least one smartphone at home

As the world’s digitalisation has become an opportunity as well as a challenge for many, some information technology experts are organising a one-day Digital Pakistan Conference at the Pearl Continental Hotel on April 15 to address the potential and grievances of the virtual marketplace.

Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club’s seminar hall, AMFCO Technologies CEO Maroof Ayub said that in this country people may not have electricity reaching their homes but they have at least one smartphone in their family, which creates a huge progress opportunity.

“Sixty per cent of our population is youth, and we can use this potential to increase our digital exports. Starting from the federal government, provincial governments, industry leaders and experts — all of them have to come together and play their roles towards a certain objective.”

Ayub said that to achieve the goal of putting Pakistan ahead in the global marketplace, baby boomers and Generation X had to favour millennials (Generation Y) and Generation Z through initiatives like this conference, in which the latter could share their expertise with the former and then they could consolidate.

Viper Technologies CEO Khushnood Aftab said that one of the major problems the country is facing is unemployment. He said that of the total female population, only 20 per cent is working while the rest — despite having skills in professions like medicine — stay at home because they are not allowed to leave the house.

“IT is something which can enable you economically while you stay at home, and perhaps let you export your services too. We need to engage people, connect them digitally. We used to hear earlier that the world will become smaller, and IT is making it happen.”

Hussein Hassanali, head of IT Audit at the Habib Bank Limited, said the State Bank had launched a financial inclusion drive but it was hard to achieve its goals until the arrival of smart phones, which granted everyone access to everyone. He said there is a lot of potential in the country but their capacity needs to be built or enhanced.

Haider Devjianie, consultant with the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies, said the country is already on the path of digitalisation, and this journey should move forward on a fast pace and cover what is left behind and what is coming. “We need to see if we can make ‘Made in Pakistan’ exports to the world using technology.”

Rahim Ahmed, director business development at Infrasol, said the conference intended to explore the potential of students, industries and services existing in the country, and ponder over how these expertises could be groomed and streamlined to attract business in terms of foreign exchange.