Introduction

The emerging information and knowledge age and the accompanying technological revolution are heralding a new economic and social order characterized by the development and exploitation of information and communication technologies (ICT) within all spheres of human endeavor. This era is giving rise to the emergence of information and knowledge based economies with traditional economic, industrial and commercial activities being made more efficient and productive by incorporating knowledge driven processes.

The knowledge and information economy has emerged as a new source for the creation of quality jobs, wealth generation and redistribution, rapid economic development and prosperity as well as a means for facilitating competitiveness. With the emerging information age, information and communication technologies are seen by a number of countries as critical for achieving progress in economic and social development. These technologies are offering developing countries like Pakistan a window of opportunity to leap-frog the key stages of industrialization and transform their agriculture dominated economies into service-sector driven, high value-added information and knowledge based economies that can successfully compete in the global village.

Pakistan has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its telecom industry. The government of Pakistan has mandated that a certain percentage of gross revenue generated by all telecom service providers be allocated to development and research of information and communication technologies with the vision to transform Pakistan’s economy into a knowledge based economy by promoting efficient, sustainable and effective ICT initiatives through synergic development of industrial and academic resources. To achieve this vision Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) has been created. This vision will be realized by pursuing the following goals:

  • Cultivate industry-academia partnership by funding concrete development and research initiatives.
  • Enhance the national ICT related human resource development capacity manifolds by facilitating industrial demand focused human resource capacity building and R&D capabilities in the country and promoting ICT related educational programs and activities.
  • Make Pakistan an attractive destination for service oriented and research and development related outsourced jobs.
  • Use ICT as a tool for wealth creation and upward mobility for economically challenged groups of citizens.
  • Spread the ICT activities on a true national level.