Posted inEducation, IT

Can Digital Pakistan initiative establish world class digital infrastructure?

The Digital Pakistan initiative launched by the PTI government in December 2019 is surely a step in the right direction.  Digitisation supports better delivery of public services, can reduce corruption, gives the population more insight into government policies and functions, and can in turn, lead to more active political participation in nation building.  But now after arriving at the well-intentioned idea, it is often the implementation which is hard. Let’s start with a reality check. Ernst and Young estimates that 70% to 80% of public-sector core-system modernisations either fail outright or are disappointments, 20% to 30% fall in the “good” range and only five per cent are great. How do we make sure that the modernisation falls into that successful category? We have already gotten the first step right. Pakistan is one of the very few countries to establish a standalone digital body with a mandate to coordinate, enable, and partially execute the transformation. Other examples include Denmark and the UK. The Digital Pakistan initiative must start off on the right foot by ensuring that they establish world class digital infrastructure.  This includes establishing a gigabit fibre network with strong data security, smart networking, while also incorporating digital internal exchanges. To establish such a network, you need to first understand the need of experts in the field. A digital system needs to invest in people that will be innovative while they understand the need of the hour. A successful initiative tends to always “over invest in the right people and their capabilities from day one”. Penny pinching here will have catastrophic effects later and too much is at stake in terms of Pakistan’s future on this front. The second thing a digital Pakistan needs to be weary of is not to waste time reinventing the wheel. It is true that