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Pakistan is one of the fastest-growing and maturing ICT markets in the region today. The nation's leaders recognize that digital infrastructure forms the building blocks of a more intelligent society, and that the people who work within the sector are helping to spur all local industries forward while contributing to the "Digital Pakistan Vision".

Nurturing local talent is thus essential for Pakistan to reap the full benefits of digitalization, to unlock more opportunities for people and business, and to accelerate national recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. A talent-focused and "innovation" mindset is the only way to addresses the requirements of a more digital-centric and sustainable future.

The essential role of connectivity has never been more prominent than in 2020. In the field of education, for example, new challenges arose in providing students with the means to advance their education without the use of physical labs and traditional curriculum. Without fast connections provided by advanced telecom networks, video conferencing, cloud computing, and other technologies, all work would have ground to a halt. Creating new value with synergy across these tech domains is therefore key to the development roadmap of Pakistan today.

While digital infrastructure has evolved to combat COVID-19 more broadly, we will need to simultaneously focus on equipping the country's youth with advanced technical skills. Developing these skills will create a more versatile generation who are well-suited for future employment, and who can rise to be the future leaders in achieving the targets of their country's ambitious national visions. In recent decades we have seen tremendous efforts made by the Pakistani government to grow ICT talent. Building on that progress, continued work is needed as new priorities emerge.

That starts by encouraging knowledge and experience-sharing to create more open ecosystems. These provide more opportunities for technology to evolve in ways that are beneficial to society. Promoting the value of public-private partnerships to nurture an innovation mentality and to foster talent growth is also essential, particularly in terms of practical skills development.

Technology companies working in collaboration with public and private sector partners will provide the most comprehensive opportunities to enhance the ICT talent pool. Universities must also strive to adapt their curriculum to meet the requirements of future talent cultivation, with stakeholders such as government authorities, telecom operators, and ICT vendors making contributions through collaborative initiatives and activities.

For our part, Huawei is committed to providing the full range of its capabilities in Pakistan so that people here can avail the latest breakthroughs in vital areas like 5G, AI, cloud, and more. We are keen to share our expertise with all partners in the country while encouraging talent through initiatives such as the Huawei ICT Competition, Huawei Academy, Seeds for the Future program, and others.

It is an ongoing journey as we collectively seek to foster innovation and prepare the next generation of Pakistan's ICT leaders for an intelligent world.

MARK MENG, CEO OF HUAWEI PAKISTAN

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020