KARACHI: Pakistan has ranked 99th out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2021. Pakistan has a score of 24.4 this rating is based on 81 distinct variables that are organized into seven pillars. Human capital and research are some of the pillars, and Pakistan ranks 117th in this category.
Another part of innovation capability is the ability to use new technologies. This refers to a country’s capacity to encourage innovation as well as the results of such efforts.
Innovation deficiency in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad
Long-term economic development may result from innovation, enabling governments to achieve higher levels of performance and public well-being.
The top three nations are Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States. In terms of regional partners, Vietnam is placed 44th, India 46th, and Iran 60th. India is the world’s second-biggest lower-middle-income economy and the largest in Central and South Asia.
Although evidence implies that a country’s economic success and innovation are inextricably linked, India and Vietnam, among others, have shown that this is not always the case India’s innovation performance is above average in the upper-middle-income group. So,
what’s the story behind Pakistan’s lackluster performance?
Pakistan has been unable to make significant expenditures on R&D, education, infrastructure, and creative activities that sustain institutions despite improvements in the economy, the regulatory environment remains unfavorable, and government inefficiency is rampant.
The amount of money spent on education as a proportion of GDP is 2.9 percent. The literacy rate is 62.3 percent, somewhat higher than Bangladesh’s average (1.3 percent). The female literacy rate is much lower, at 51.7 percent.
In South and Southeast Asia, Pakistan has the lowest literacy rate. People who have a low reading level are unprepared.
for job seekers, postsecondary education, and on-the-job training
Of course, with these dynamics in play, Pakistan is doomed to fall short on the innovation front In the Human Capital Index, Pakistan is placed 134th out of 157 countries. The quantity of money spent on human capital, as well as the quality of that capital, are both inadequate. Learning, education, and training are all ways to create human capital.
Individuals with more human capital will be better able to complete their responsibilities more quickly. They’ll also be more likely to come up with new ideas.
Improving educational quality, improving literacy rates, especially among women, ensuring training opportunities to keep skills current, and having better work cultures that encourage creativity are all strategies to increase human capital.
Higher levels of human capital should raise labor productivity, as well as innovation and, as a consequence, per capita income in the economy.
The National Commission for Human Development was established over two decades ago, in July 2002. Its purpose was to boost human capital. But why haven’t we seen results, and why are we still falling behind other nations in terms of innovation?
Pakistanis do not lack the essential abilities. Perhaps the skills aren’t being used to their full potential. Furthermore, given Pakistan’s already low human capital levels, a massive brain drain has impeded the country’s ability to innovate.
Domestically, a lack of security and opportunities, as well as restricted employment advancement opportunities, have made achieving goals unattainable.
According to the 2017 census, Pakistan has a population of 207.8 million people. In 2020, the labor force will be 72 million strong, with a 50.24 percent participation rate (World Bank) Only a small fraction of the workforce has access to technical and vocational training.
Leaving the majority of workers without a chance to learn new skills or upgrade their existing ones. The government must improve awareness of these possibilities since there is an inequality in the understanding of their availability.
Significant advances in education and the early childhood development of future workers may benefit Pakistan’s youth bulge adequate fundamental abilities must be gained via education to create subsequent skill sets.
According to World Bank: data from 2018, the level of “learning-adjusted education” (the number of years that a given education is genuinely worth in terms of quality) for Pakistani students is expected to be about 4.8 years, the lowest among regional averages. This demonstrates a lack of educational quality, which is one of the factors leading to low levels of innovation.
What can be done to help people become more creative?
The government may try to develop public-private infrastructure partnerships in addition to boosting the ease of doing business and human capital.
Better transportation systems, highways, and trains, as well as more environmentally friendly energy sources and enhanced communication networks, may boost private-sector hi-tech development.
Scientific research institutions need university-industry R&D cooperation via the creation of Offices of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORICs) at universities, which has only recently gained popularity and requires further support.
Encourage SMEs to invest in or lend money to start-ups and small companies by removing subsidies and encouraging venture capital firms, business angels, and banks to invest in or lend money to start-ups and small businesses.
A healthy and efficient financial system can distribute money to would-be innovators.
The author is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics at Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration.