Inaugural Visit Of The DCO To Pakistan Delivers Progress For Digital Economy
“Revolutionary steps are being taken in the IT and Telecom sector, and DCO member countries are coming forward to invest in start-ups”: Hon Syed Aminul Haq
“I commend President Dr. Arif Alvi, the IT & Foreign Ministers and digital economy leaders that we have worked with during the visit for their impact in enabling digital prosperity for all.” H.E. Deemah AlYahya”
The Federal Ministry of IT & Telecommunication Pakistan and Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) formally agreed to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the field of Information Technology and Telecommunication between member countries, and to joint efforts that promote public-private partnership, enhance the role of women in information technology, provide digital facilities in urban and rural areas, and to provide investment opportunities for IT professionals and start-ups to meet the challenges of the digital work. Both organizations announced the “Pakistan Innovation Challenge” which will enable one million Pakistan K-12 students to learn digital skills by 2022.
The Pakistan Innovation Challenge was announced by the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunications Syed Aminul Haq and the Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) Ms. Dima AlYahya in a joint statement at the end of the three-day inaugural visit to Pakistan. The DCO, consisting of 7 founding member countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman and Jordan, aims to benefit from each other’s experiences, and observations, provide technology requirements for their citizens, and to enable market opportunities from their collective populations of 500 million people.
The 17-20 November visit reinforced the importance of Pakistan as member state of the DCO, taking place within the first year of the DCO’s establishment. The DCO progressed several strategic priorities of Pakistan, including enabling inward investment, digital economy skills and infrastructure development, export development support for digital companies and entrepreneurs, and inclusion of young people and women in the digital economy.
In a joint statement, Federal Minister for IT Syed Aminul Haq thanked DCO Secretary-General Ms. Deemah AlYahya for her visit to Pakistan and said that this visit would be an important milestone in the goals of the organization and in the world of the digital economy. Every day new values are added and the demand for the digital economy is increasing globally. In this regard, Pakistan is always ready to provide all kinds of facilities to all member countries and for joint efforts.
Syed Aminul Haq said that the reforms and initiatives under the Digital Pakistan Vision could set an example for the member countries. Pakistan can be a great hub not only for the world but also for the DCO countries due to its time zone, world class IT professionals, excellent English accent and Tax savvy conditions. He said that the member countries could benefit from the expertise of start-ups in Pakistan by investing in them while highlighting their creativity, while joint efforts were also required for the free movement of IT professionals and companies in the member countries.
“The Pakistan Government is committed to providing all our citizens with the skills to benefit from our vision of a knowledge-based digital economy. The Pakistan Innovation Challenge is a great example of how we are partnering globally to support our children and Pakistan’s future.” added Minister Ul Haque.
DCO Secretary General Ms. Deema Al-Yahya stated that Pakistan’s contribution to the global digital economy is significant, and the progress achieved together during the visit reinforced how important the Pakistan-DCO partnership is to enabling digital prosperity for all.
“This visit has generated significant energy and a renewed focus on the inclusion of young people, women and entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s digital economy. The DCO is committed to enabling Pakistan’s progress in these areas, and I commend President Dr. Arif Alvi, the Government Ministers and digital economy leaders that we have worked with during the visit for their impact in enabling digital prosperity for all. We look forward to supporting Pakistan as a valued member state of the DCO for years to come.”
The visit provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the various ministries and institutions leading the digital economy in Pakistan, with the infrastructure of the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Ignite of Ministry of IT being examples of public-private partnerships that can provide facilities and support creativity skills by leveraging private sector investment.
The Pakistan Innovation Challenge is one of the initiatives launched during the visit, being an online competition for school children to learn maths, computer science, robotics, artificial intelligence, design and innovation online. Students will compete for prizes in the competition, and design and create 3D stories, games, and inventions. The competition is delivered in partnership between the DCO, Pakistan Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Special Technology Zones Authority, and technology companies PolyUp and Innovators Garage. PolyUp is planning to roll-out the competition to one million students by 2022.