ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has jumped 11 places to 87th position from last year’s 98th in the Global Information Technology Report ranking for 2009-10, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on Thursday.
Published for the ninth consecutive year with an extensive coverage of 133 economies worldwide, the Global Information Technology Report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the development process and the competitiveness of nations. This year, Sweden, Singapore and Denmark have secured the top three places, underlining the fact that these countries have the most solid ICT base.
The US has slipped two places to fifth, while China stands at 37th position and India at 43rd, showing an improvement of 9 and 11 places respectively. Pakistan has fared particularly well in the sub-indexes of Individual Readiness – mobile cellular tariffs – at 8th position — and residential telephone connection charges at 11th position, while under the sub-index of Business Readiness, the country does good in business telephone connection charges, enjoying 15th position and business monthly telephone subscription at 17th. A marked improvement has been seen in Pakistan’s capacity for innovation, which has gone up to 56th from 73rd last year.
There have been slight improvements in the quality of educational systems, where Pakistan ranks at 99 from 104 last year, internet access in schools improving by six places to 75 and company spending on R&D getting better by six places to stand at 80. “It is evident that technology is playing a leading role in accelerating economic growth and promoting development,” said Arthur Bayhan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF). CSF, a partner institute of WEF, is a joint initiative of Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance and the United States’ Agency for International Development (USAID), established to reposition Pakistan’s economy on a more competitive global footing.
One of the recommendations put forward by CSF says that telecom operators in Pakistan should adopt strategies for creating a conducive and competitive infrastructure Cost Sharing environment. Accordingly, major cellular operators of the country have signed agreements to get involved in infrastructure cost sharing, reducing infrastructure duplication and costs, said Bayhan. CSF also recommended amplifying the bundled offers like voice and SMS with value added services including MMS, Mobile TV, Mobile Banking and GPRS.
CSF recommended that strong association has to be maintained with the universities by setting up incubation centers. Since then, many telecom stakeholders have been involved in linkages with top engineering and management universities. The exercise has served as the basis for accurate analysis and effective action to ensure that Pakistan’s telecom and IT industry contributes in the most efficient and effective manner to improve the country’s overall competitiveness rankings, said CSF CEO.