In a recent statement to WealthPK, Babur Majid, CEO of the National Information Technology Board (NITB), highlighted the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in Pakistan. With a projected 22.30% growth in the AI market from 2023 to 2030, reaching a market volume of US$2693.00 million, Pakistan is rapidly positioning itself as a key player in the global AI landscape, as per Statista reports.
Government initiatives propel AI development
Majid underlined Pakistan’s significant strides in AI, with both the public and private sectors, along with academic institutions, recognizing its pivotal role. The establishment of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) by the Government of Pakistan demonstrates a concerted effort to coordinate and catalyze AI activities across the nation. The move is part of a broader initiative aimed at leveraging AI to boost efficiency, scale operations, and provide cutting-edge solutions.
Private sector investment fuels growth
The private sector in Pakistan is not lagging behind. Actively investing in AI-driven technologies, businesses are eyeing enhanced efficiency and operational scalability. Majid emphasized that this robust investment is a testament to the industry’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions. However, the road ahead requires a delicate balance of regulatory policies to sustain this growth.
Unlocking foreign investment and employment opportunities
During a recent panel discussion on “Sustainability in the Digital Age: Unlocking AI Potential in Pakistan,” experts emphasized the potential of AI to attract substantial foreign direct investment (FDI) and generate employment opportunities. Major-General Hafeez-ur-Rehman (retired), Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), stressed the need for a well-crafted AI ecosystem. He underscored the importance of consulting with experts to develop regulatory policies that would foster a conducive environment for sustained growth.
AI is reshaping Pakistan’s agricultural landscape
Muhammad Azeem Tariq, Senior Scientific Officer at the National Agricultural Research Centre, shed light on the revolutionary impact of AI in Pakistan’s agriculture sector. Recognizing agriculture as the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, Tariq highlighted how AI can increase productivity, reduce inputs, and improve decision-making. With the potential to revolutionize farming practices, AI empowers farmers to achieve more with fewer resources, thereby enhancing yield quality and the overall value chain.
Addressing global food security challenges
Agriculture Information Bank’s report brings attention to AI’s pivotal role in addressing global challenges, particularly the impending task of feeding an additional two billion people by 2050. With only a projected 4% increase in available land for cultivation, AI emerges as a crucial tool to optimize agricultural practices and mitigate the impact of resource constraints.
Challenges on the horizon
Despite the progress, Pakistan faces specific challenges in its AI journey. Babur Majid identified two key hurdles. Firstly, the availability and quality of data pose a significant challenge. AI algorithms thrive on large datasets, necessitating improvements in data collection and storage infrastructure. Secondly, the shortage of skilled AI professionals is a pressing concern. Addressing this, Majid emphasized the need for universities and training centers to offer specialized AI-focused courses, fostering a pool of talented AI specialists.
Pakistan’s foray into the realm of artificial intelligence showcases remarkable advancements and a promising future. The collaborative efforts of the government, private sector, and academia reflect a holistic approach to harnessing AI’s potential. As the nation tackles challenges head-on, the focus on regulatory frameworks, skill development, and industry collaboration will be instrumental in ensuring sustained growth and global competitiveness in the dynamic field of artificial intelligence.