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Pakistan Digital City Haripur to be KP’s first IT-focused technology zone

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Pakistan Digital City Haripur to be KP’s first IT-focused technology zone

  • Project is expected to become functional in 2026 and generate $25-50 million in exports annually
Bilal Hussain
April 26, 2024
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An agreement has taken place to develop Pakistan Digital City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Haripur as a special technology zone, with an aim to generate $25-50 million in exports annually, Business Recorder learnt on Friday.

The development comes after the KP provincial government approved the zone development agreement for the project last month.

The Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) have now officially inked the agreement, aiming to make the Digital City functional from 2026.



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The project, valued at Rs8 billion, would be the first-ever IT-focused special technology zone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

According to details, the project has strategic support of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) which has identified special technology zones as a central component of its economic strategy.

STZA has officially verified and licensed KPITB’s project to establish a world-class technology ecosystem on 11 acres of land in Haripur, providing approximately 480,000 square feet of high-quality tech infrastructure.

The initiative is expected to be fully operational by 2026, generating over 4000 high-tech jobs with an export potential of $25-$50 million per year, nurturing startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the IT sector.

STZA officials expect hi-tech companies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain to utilise the facility.

“This digital city will facilitate IT, IT-enabled services, business process outsourcing companies, AI, blockchain, and startups to establish their businesses in it,” Hamza Saeed Orakzai, the Chief Market Development Officer at STZA, told Business Recorder.

He commended provincial governments for their interest in setting up world-class technology ecosystems, adding that the SIFC had been instrumental in accelerating the rollout of tech zones across the country, both in the public and private sectors.

The Pakistan Digital City is expected to host leading Information and communication technology (ICT) companies, positioning itself as a unique technology destination in a province where 50% of the population is under 30 years of age, with 6000 ICT graduates produced annually.

STZA, led by the Prime Minister of Pakistan as President of the Board of Governors, serves as the federal regulator for special technology zones nationwide. Its core mandate is to license STZs and technology companies in alignment with the Triple Helix Model of Innovation, fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government.

“In its commitment to cultivate a thriving technology ecosystem, STZA extends comprehensive fiscal and monetary incentives for 10 years to both public and private enterprises, encouraging significant financial, technical, and intellectual capital influx for knowledge ecosystem development in Pakistan,” said an STZA statement.

Aamer Saleemi, Member Zones of STZA, expressed strong support for the development agreement, stating, “The establishment of Pakistan Digital City is a testament to our commitment to supporting visionary projects that can redefine the technological landscape of Pakistan.”

Dr Akif Khan, Managing Director, KPITB, highlighted their joint aim to build a technology ecosystem for entrepreneurship, research and development, and tech-driven innovation in the country.

He emphasised collective efforts to incentivise zone enterprises and co-zone developers and develop research and training programmes for KP’s youth.

It may be noted that the announcement of setting up the Digital City in Haripur was first made in July 2020.

Later, in January 2022, then prime minister Imran Khan performed the ground-breaking of the project.
 
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