Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Aminul Haq, announced a groundbreaking agreement with Google that will have a significant impact on the country’s digital landscape. During his address at the Startups for Industries and IT Exports conference held at the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Minister Haq revealed that an agreement had been signed with Google to provide 45,000 scholarships, with the potential to increase to 450,000 next year.
In a move to foster gender diversity, the state news agency reported that at least 40 percent of these scholarships would be specifically allocated for women. Minister Haq highlighted that the number of scholarships granted by Google had already witnessed an impressive increase from 15,000 last year to the current 45,000, and this surge was a result of fruitful consultations between the ministry and Google.
Furthermore, the Minister shared news of a significant development for the gaming and animation industry. A state-of-the-art building, constructed at a cost of $1.6 million, has been established at NED University to facilitate the growth and promotion of the gaming and animation sector.
The conference witnessed the presence of notable dignitaries, including Zubair Chhaya, Vice Patron of KATI, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Senior Vice President Nighat Awan, Chairperson of the Standing Committee Maheen Salman, and several other industry experts, students, teachers, and start-ups. The event served as a platform for meaningful discussions on the future of Pakistan’s IT industry, emphasizing the government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for startups, gaming, and animation.
Minister Haq shared the long-term vision of the IT Ministry, aiming to push Pakistan’s IT sector forward and unlock its potential by the year 2050. The Minister also highlighted the substantial increase in investment in Pakistan, reaching $373 million in 2021 from $75 million in 2020, a testament to the growing confidence in the country’s IT capabilities.
The Minister recalled his efforts to streamline the mobile phone manufacturing industry, resulting in the establishment of mobile phone production within a few months of taking office. He emphasized that the government is committed to nurturing a vibrant start-up ecosystem, as evidenced by the expansion of incubation centers from five to eight over the past three years.
Speaking at the event, former KATI chairman Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan acknowledged the hard work of entrepreneurs and start-ups, emphasizing the importance of research and development in the IT sector. He also emphasized that the current environment presents ample opportunities for start-ups without the need for significant investments.
Zubair Chhaya, Deputy Patron of KATI, welcomed the exponential growth in Pakistan’s IT exports, which reached $2.6 billion by the end of the previous fiscal year, up from $1 billion when Minister Haq assumed office. Chhaya compared this achievement to the IT exports of neighboring countries, highlighting Pakistan’s significant progress.
In her speech, Maheen Salman stressed the importance of aligning educational curricula with industry needs to enhance employability. She acknowledged the efforts to provide professional training and support for start-ups, citing their transformation from mere projects to successful ventures.
Nighat Awan, Senior Vice President of KATI, called for the abolition of duties on machinery and IT sector-related products to further facilitate expansion within the industry, promoting innovation and growth in the country.
The conference concluded with an optimistic outlook for Pakistan’s IT industry, as the government’s initiatives and collaborations with industry leaders like Google promise to accelerate the country’s digital transformation, empower women in tech, and position Pakistan as a global player in the digital economy.