Low ICT imports reflect slow growth of knowledge economy

STAFF REPORT KHI: Pakistans information and communication technology (ICT) imports share in the countrys total merchandise trade has been an average less than six percent for 10 years, indicating that the transfer of technology needed for knowledge-based economy is moving at a snails pace.

A latest statistics report issued on Friday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that Pakistans ICT goods imports accounted for a minuscule 4.59 percent of the total merchandise trade in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available.In 2004, this share stood at 4.82 percent, the data showed.

According to the UNCTAD chart, Indias ICT imports, albeit not significant, were the highest among all the South Asian economies, recorded at 6.31 percent. Nepal, with 4.74 percent, also fared well.

“In total, ICT goods accounted for 12 percent of world merchandise imports in 2014. This proportion ranged between 44 percent for Hong Kong, China, around 20 to 24 percent in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore and less than one percent in Afghanistan and Mauritania,” it added. The data suggested that the share of Pakistans ICT exports in the total merchandise trade was 0.19 percent in 2014, less than India (0.97 percent) and Sri Lanka (0.62 percent).The UNCTAD data showed that Pakistans ICT re-exports were somehow at a better position as they accounted for 13.18 percent of the total merchandise trade in 2014, and the figure noticeably edged up from 1.74 percent in 2004.

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