I&T: President meets heads of leading firms
I&T: President meets heads of leading firms

DUBAI: President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday said Pakistan was committed to offering promising business opportunities for foreign investors through one-window operations in sectors of innovation and technology (I&T).

In a meeting with heads of leading innovation and technology firms here, the President said the one-window facility under Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), on which legislation has been made, was aimed at encouraging and facilitating the foreign investors to expand their information technology footprint in Pakistan.

President Alvi said the STZA had been set up by the federal government with a mandate to provide world-class digital and physical infrastructure across the country and putting Pakistan on the global technology radar.

He emphasized that jumping onto the technological bandwagon and investing in human capital development would ensure the country's economic stability.

President Alvi invited the companies to invest in Pakistan's diverse sectors particularly in e-business, adding that enhancing broadband penetration would help boost economic activities.

He said as a fundamental enabler of inclusive economic growth, the STZA was charged with delivering on key strategic goals of inclusive socioeconomic development and economic opportunity, particularly for youth.

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Those who called on the president included Mark Mobius, founder of Mobius Capital Partners; Anthony Cheung, founder of Dragon Tech Ventures Management Limited; Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum from Galaxy Racer (E-sports) and Khalid Elgibali, Division President of Mastercard for Middle East & North Africa. Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood were also present.

The business heads expressed keen interest to make investments in Pakistan in their respective domains and also briefed them about their companies.

Chairman STZA Amer Hashmi emphasized upon the importance of creating opportunities for the Pakistani youth in the high-potential E-sports industry. He said it was high time that the government recognized, supported and facilitated their interests to encourage futuristic entrepreneurship opportunities.

The president later witnessed the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between Pakistan's Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) with Mastercard, Galaxy racer (E-sports) and Shorooq Partners VC Funds.

According to MoU, the Galaxy Racer would host a few of the biggest E-sports tournaments in Pakistan with titles such as Tekken, PUBGM and FIFA, offering a total winning prize of US $ 100,000 USD in December.

The Mastercard signed the strategic digital country partnership with STZA in Pakistan to expand the nation's digital economy and develop advance technology sector.

In collaboration with the STZA, Mastercard would develop Pakistan's first cashless Special Technology Zones, which looked to develop deploy smart city solutions, support small and medium enterprises, boost artificial intelligence and cyber security capabilities and promote the use of agri-tech.

The Sharooq would contribute to the ecological venture through technological development in Pakistan.

However, addressing an Investment Conference organized by Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), President Alvi said Pakistan was focusing on the digital empowerment of people to enable them to benefit from the economic advancements of the information technology sector. He said the government was making efforts to strengthen and develop the IT sector to cope with the challenges of the fourth revolution of information technology.

The president expressed satisfaction that due to the efforts of the government, the information technology exports last year witnessed a surge of 50 per cent.

He said Pakistan was a country with a 200 million population and a huge youth bulge and expressed confidence that the country was making tremendous progress in emerging sectors.

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Dr Alvi said the government was working with stakeholders and outstanding policies were being made to encourage foreigners to invest their capital in Pakistan. He stressed upon the importance of human development, with a specific focus on technology and database. He said the tourism sector of Pakistan was flourishing, which would also generate an economic boom.

Separately, addressing at an event related to Roshan Apna Ghar initiative for expatriates, the president said Pakistan as the fifth most populated country of the world had set its targets high to attain development in various fields.

He said a prosperous Pakistan was emerging at the global arena and urged the overseas Pakistanis to benefit from the secure investment policies of the country. He said not only resources, but the vision and right policies greatly contributed to the development of a nation.

Expressing optimism about Pakistan, he said he was greatly hopeful about the country to would make strides in the world through its progressive policies.

The president said Pakistani nation had emerged as a resilient nation after overcoming big challenges, such as terrorism and recently the coronavirus pandemic.

Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood said Pakistan's economy was on the right track with encouraging economic indicators. He mentioned that the exports and agriculture sectors of the country were witnessing high growth.

Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir said in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the SBP was facilitating the overseas Pakistanis with incentives such as Roshan Digital Accounts, which allows the capital to be repatriated.

He said banks were competing to facilitate the overseas Pakistanis on the Roshan Apna Ghar initiative and ensure their easy investment in the country.

He said Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world which had witnessed immense growth even during the challenge of pandemic.

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a two-day visit, where he would meet the UAE dignitaries and also inaugurate the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020. He was received by UAE's Minister of Justice Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, at the Al Maktoum International Airport. Begum Samina Alvi also accompanied the president.

A red carpet was rolled out for President Alvi and a contingent of the UAE forces presented a static salute to him.

The visit of President Alvi coincides with the 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the UAE.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have enjoyed close fraternal relations, rooted deep in common faith, shared history and cultural affinities. The UAE is Pakistan's largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments.

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