BANGKOK: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday invited foreign investors to support his government’s efforts to accelerate digitization of the country and create a knowledge-based economy for socio-economic development.
In his key-note address at the Connect Asia Pacific Summit 2013, which began in Bangkok on Monday morning, the Prime Minister said Pakistan accords highest priority to development of information communication technology (ICT) for the provision of quality services, education, employment, generation and women empowerment.
He invited foreign companies to be partners with the Pakistan government in harnessing the country’s rich potential that is open for business and keen on working with international investors.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan Telecom infrastructure comprised over 125 million mobile connections, about three million fixed lines, three million WLL subscribers, 19.8 million Internet users, 15.7 million mobile Internet users and 2.8 million broadband subscribers.
He said the government through Universal Service Fund Company, national ICT R&D Fund Company and Virtual University had initiated a range of successful programmes to promote ICT opportunities to achieve these goals. He said some of these programmes are models and are being replicated by other countries.
The Prime Minister said with the population of 180 million, Pakistan was strategically located on the crossroads of south and central Asia and energy-rich Middle East.
Earlier, addressing the summit, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra said the summit is being held to achieve a common goal to develop better and wider links between nations and peoples.
She said the ICT has progressed by expanding to cover other utilities, appliances in household and databases around the world and we need to ensure that people of all nations have greater access to it.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the Asia-Pacific is vast and diverse region, which has numerous centers of innovation in manufacturing and Information and Communication Technologies.
He said several nations in the region have experienced rapid economic growth yet there is a stark contrast in prosperity and development between high income countries and the least developed.