For the First Time Representatives of the IT Sectors of Bulgaria and Pakistan Come Together at a Conference
COLLABORATION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BETWEEN BULGARIA AND PAKISTAN IN TERMS OF EACH COUNTRY’S PEDIGREE
Event organized by Embassy of Pakistan, Sofia
November 16, 2018, SOFIA - The opening speech came from Mr. Marwan Alex Ayyash, Charge d’affaires at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which he emphasized on the growing outsourcing sectors and pointed to the similarities between the two countries in this respect. The conference kicked off with presentation by Mr. Shabbir Cyclewala from NAXEX, leading software company headquartered in Sofia.
His focus was on e-governance, how it works and what are the benefits. His expertise is in revenue insurance, leakage of government revenue. Pointing to specific examples Mr. Shabbir Cyclewala was quite convincing in that we should all embrace the technologies available. He engaged the audience and was able to illustrate the main hurdles we face – acceptance of the digital transformation in society, harvesting trust, building adequate administration, security and collection of data.
Pakistan is seen as a promising emerging economy with immense outsourcing potential. Important part of the strong and flourishing IT industry in the country is the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB). A very interesting part of the conference was a live conversation via Skype with Mr. Sulman Hassan, representative of the board. Specific questions in relation to networking were raised by representatives of the IT business being present at the conference. It was pointed out how the Pakistan government advocates business friendly policies and incentives for foreign investors in the IT sector, such as zero taxes on IT exports, tax holiday for IT startups, 100% of repatriation of profits for foreign investors, up to 100% equity ownership, tax holiday for venture capital funds until 2024.
Ms. Stilyana Peneva and Mr. Dimon Stamatov were able to explain the work of the Information Technology Directorate at the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications of Bulgaria. The digital economy society index (DESI) of Bulgaria was the main topic of the presentation.
Bulgaria ranks 26th out of the 28 EU Member States in DESI 2018. Overall, Bulgaria has retained its ranking from last year with some slight improvements to its score. Compared to last year, Bulgaria made progress in connectivity and the availability of digital services. In particular digital public services improved, resulting in an increased number of egovernment users. Bulgaria’s main challenges relate to the very low level of digital skills among its citizens — also among young people — and the low integration of digital technologies by businesses. In particular, the low level of digital skills combined with shortages of ICT specialists and underinvestment in digital infrastructures may be among the reasons why the digitisation process in Bulgaria is slow both in the public and private sector. Bulgaria has a Broadband strategy, an e-skills strategy and a plan for implementing the latter , a concept for the digital transformation of industry and an e-government strategy.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nikolay Dermendziev from ZEERA SOLUTIONS, Ms. Tsanka Tsaneva, Bussines Development Manager at EVROTRUST TECHNOLOGIES JSC were some of the representatives of the Bulgarian IT sector at the conference.
During the Q & A session all of the participants engaged in a dynamic and uplifting discussion on various topics related to the conference. Prof. Kamelia Stefanova, Dean of the Facultyof Applied Informatics and Statistics and Head of the Department of Information Technologies and Communications at UNWE, was one of the most active in the discussion.
There were many interesting questions about education and its place in the contemporary context of digitsation. Developing of “soft skills” and the importance of realizing that Humanitarian Studies should go hand in hand with learning to code was a key conclusion. After all these kind of skills made the event possible and it is with such conferences that countries like Pakistan and Bulgaria will be capable of finding common ground of understanding and cooperation.
Mr. Marwan Alex Ayyash, Charge d’affaires at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and students from UNWE
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