Pakistan Rises to 97th Rank in the Global Information Technology Report 2015

What is the Global Information Technology Report?

For technologists, industry watchers and citizens of a country, World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report holds immense value and is eagerly awaited by investors & decision makers alike.  This report basically outlines how great (or bad) a country is doing in adopting technology in making people’s lives better by investing in infrastructure, economic potential, human resources, competitiveness level and more in order to arrive at its conclusions.

In short, it looks at data from 143 countries, and tracks how far the country has progressed by adopting technology in fulfilling the social, economic, academic and lifestyle needs of its population. This relates to both the private sector and the government’s efforts to invest in technology to enhance competitiveness and economic progress.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is important for sustained economic growth and stable job creation, so that the youth of the country are not found without opportunities as they enter the job market. ICT has also revolutionized how businesses are done, cutting down operating costs and time, increasing a company’s competitiveness level across the board and in the industry.

Pakistan’s Global Ranking in ICT over the years

  • 2012-2013: From 102nd position to 105th position
  • 2013-2014: From 105th to 111th position
  • 2014-2015: from 111th to 97th Position

What do these numbers mean for Pakistan over the past 3 years?

The World Economic Forum has placed Pakistan 97th in a list of 143 countries it evaluated for business and innovation environment in its Global Information Technology report 2015.

Lets celebrate the good news first. In a span of just 1 year, Pakistan turned the tables around, rating significantly better than in the preceding years in ICT readiness and progress.

Here are some of the reasons why this turnaround occurred.

There are 30 million internet users in Pakistan now, half of which use their mobile phones to browse the internet according to a report by, a mobile survey company. This puts Pakistan’s internet penetration at 16%. In the last 2 years alone, the broadband subscribers have more than doubled.

Last year’s 3G/4G auction was significant for many reasons. It brought $1.1 billion investment in Pakistan by telecom operators and as of June 2015, the number of 3G users stands at 13 million users out of a population of 182 million.

This development alone has contributed significantly to Pakistan’s ICT ranking this year, a fact that the Global Information Technology Report 2015 considers as well. Startups and entrepreneurs now have a potentially bigger market to tap into since internet access and Annual Cellular Mobile Teledensity has increased, connecting more people, even from far flung rural areas of the country as well as the urban ones.

How Society is Benefiting from Increased ICT ranking

Incubators in the country are funding the most promising projects by entrepreneurs more and more, so that the society as a whole benefit from various applications that are developed for real life use. Savaree, a local ride-sharing app, Print3D, a local 3d printing startup and other homegrown entrepreneurial efforts are bringing in Pakistani solutions to some very common problems faced by a Pakistani here.

The Federal government is also making strides in ushering in an age of e-governance in Pakistan, graduating from conventional manual system to an electronic one. Many Pakistani universities are holding tech competitions more frequently to identify the most promising ideas and people, signaling increased confidence in the country’s budding technology and startup climate.

NADRA also has an online portal to get your Identity Card delivered at your doorstep. An e-challan system to check traffic violations was also adopted in KPK and Punjab. USF also recently approved a project for e-Services in some Balochistan districts. Biometric verification is being deployed for everything from medical purposes, to bank account openings, and even voting as seen recently.

And yes, more IT companies are looking to do business in Pakistan. There are rumors that Chinese and other foreign hardware manufacturers might set up shop in a post-CPEC Pakistani landscape with a business-friendly and stable climate. Haier recently signaled its decision to set up a laptop assembly line, underscoring the fact of the business community’s confidence in the Pakistani marketplace.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s still a lot to be done in making Pakistan a globally competitive destination for attracting investment. There’s still miles to go before technology becomes a necessary facet of our lives such as in the provision of services and quick redressal of complaints. The recent decision to increase internet taxes is a step in the wrong direction, something that can also negatively affect Pakistan’s upward trajectory in the global ICT rankings.

After the last few rocky years in Pakistan, WEF’s Global Information Report 2015 comes as a breath of fresh air, with the data backing up the efforts on the ground by the movers and shakers in the Pakistani tech scene. Here’s to hoping that we continue to formulate and implement policies that can make the ease of developing and deploying technology in society more easy and risk-free. And who knows, we might just be able to minimize the levels of brain drain that afflicts Pakistan currently.

Samir is the Head of Entertainment at Lens by ProPakistani. You can reach out to him at samir.ya...

  • If Pakistan is 97th, then how come out of 500 IT companies in the world, first 25 are Pakistani companies with highest turn over? How about 17 IT companies which won international awards? I think we need to analyze with Pakistani glasses.

    • Just 25 can’t speak for the whole country. Those top countries must have complete IT deployment in each business, education, health sectors etc..

    • Its not just about a few companies, this report takes into account more than that, e.g. use of internet, user growth, taxes etc. I can bet that if the taxes on internet and recharge are brought down to a TOTAL of 5%, Pakistan would se even more exponential growth in telecom sector and that 5% would generate the SAME or EVEN BETTER income for the govt. Of pk.
      And also, we may possibly reach 80th position next year if the total taxes are reduced…

  • So in year 2013-2014, we actually went back from 105th to 111th position … For this however, its good news, but there so much more that can be, and needs to be done

  • Oh hello, aren’t we forgetting something really important – like the computerisation of land records for example? If the government makes that information public, it would literally change the lives of millions of Pakistanis! The article should have made a mention of that as well because real estate, for a very long time, has been completely deprived of any technological development. The Systems’ deal was a huge step in the right direction but the article failed to cover it.

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