Necessity of Software and technology Parks in underdeveloped countries to stir Economic Growth

Software and Technology Parks are a type of industrial vicinage that features the knot of companies, research, academia, and business incubation facilities to promote advanced commercial development and research in key economic areas.

The 21st century is a time of revolution and evolution but mostly in the West. The developing countries are still struggling with the technology. These countries have a gap with the world due to absence of proper technology usage. The underdeveloped countries are moving towards technology and economic stagnation and no one even cares about.

For the developing economies like Pakistan, software and technology parks can prove to be one of the best means to promote professional engagement, innovation and networking between the industry and institutions of higher education and research. Efforts should be made to setup pragmatic as well as ideologically sound establishing, refining and enlarging the concept of Technology Park. The framework for technology park development should be based on the principles of cross-fertilization of ideas, gender inclusion and sharing of infrastructure and resources for the good of all as well as renewal of higher education institutions to accelerate national development. The IT parks should include all required services of a Tier-III (Intl. Standard) compliant Data Centre to host applications and services of public and private cloud. The services provided by the IT parks should be highly available, reliable and secure. The services provided by cloud should have the capability to cater hosting and IT needs of well-established businesses as well as start-ups at an affordable price range.

It has been often stated that one of the reasons for the under-development of certain regions has been due to the “tyranny of geography”. This is true in the case of many of the less developed countries. Because of the non-availability of resources, many countries have traditionally been at the bottom of the economic ladder. Some examples are the South East Asian countries, who till they started on a path of export led growth were stagnant in economic development.

Among the many problems that are faced by less developed countries is the lack of proper infrastructure which ultimately contributes to poor economic growth. Massive investments are needed to develop the infrastructure and the underdeveloped countries cannot afford it. And unless the infrastructure is not improved, the economies cannot “take off” in a significant way.

A bureaucratic climate which forces an entrepreneur to obtain a hundred authorizations to establish his/her enterprise is a problem, whatever the culture in question. More generally, when judging the quality of a business environment it is of crucial importance to go beyond the formal appearance of laws and to examine how laws are applied in practice in taking due account of the more or less informal relations regulating transactions among economic agents.

On the knowledge side, there is generally a limited research community, operating usually in an ivory tower, and a university system poorly connected to local realities, particularly to labor market needs and opportunities. Particularly problematic are the lack of technological support services and infrastructure (metrology, quality control, standards, etc)

As a consequence of this overall problematic environment, software and IT parks in developing countries are not up to the mark and are very fragmented. On the enterprise side, generally a large number of micro-enterprises operate in the informal economy, and a more or less important number of foreign-based firms, which tend, however, to be disconnected from the rest of the economy.

Software and technology Parks are needed for:

Economic growth:

World Wide Web is the key to economic growth in under developed countries. It supports growth and development as World Wide Web is the most important invention. The United States and other developed countries use all kinds of existing technological devices and practices to help them work on new ideas and implement them into reality (Sandford, 2003). Hence, more productivity.

While developing countries have limited facilities for software and technology parks hence limited usage of World Wide Web to get benefitted from the latest technology.

Pool of Jobs:

unemployment rate in under development countries is increasing drastically. It can be decreased if the focus is turned towards the technology. We present the example of a project in Africa from the name e-Ghana which provided 1,000 technology related jobs to the individuals.

Similarly if more IT parks are created, these will be able to provide employment to new fresh graduates and IT specialists, creating more employment. Nowadays, every job demands IT skills due to the prevailing advancement in technology. Today every service is available online, tapping the right skillset to develop applications to solve mundane or complicated problems will give rise to better economies. For instance, there is a project running in Kenya called e-Warehouse that allows the farmers to store their crops using cell phone services.

Globalization:

Development of technology parks will result in Globalization. If new technology is getting introduced in West, then we should be at least intelligent enough to understand and incorporate those. This increases the opportunity to set up own technology. This can be further expanded at a rapid scale if such platforms are provided in the form of IT Parks where there are proper tools, resources, machinery and facilities.

Resources and Infrastructure Development:

The major threat or challenge that under developed countries face today is the underdeveloped infrastructure. First of all a sustainable plan or infrastructure is needed to support technological development. It directly or indirectly means improvement in different areas such as IT schools, IT departments, IT universities, IT Parks, industries etc. These will together provide a sustainable environment.

Better Education:

IT is the way to provide better education. Education should be our top priority that we have to fulfil to get to the top just like western countries. Better education means better health, better lifestyle, better economy, political stability and best growth. It will also eliminate poverty.

If education is conducted in technology then the research outcomes will be superior too. If IT parks are established the need for resources will be eliminated which was an obstacle for the new generation students. But, first Pakistan needs to provide technical training to the youngsters and this is only possible with the good Software Parks and other infrastructures. We have to develop competent, technological education system.

Advanced Curriculum:

The educational levels are low in developing countries and this is a significant barrier to the diffusion and development of innovation in these countries. In fact, one can establish a clear relation between educational needs and the different phases of industrialization. In the pre-industrial phase, educational needs demand only basic literacy. In the industrial phase, more professional and medium-level skills are required. In the post-industrial phase, there is a need for a significant share of a population with tertiary education, with the rest of the population having at least functional literacy.

Software and IT Park will encourage for the development of a new advanced curriculum with the focus on technology. It is a common practice seen in under developed countries that their curriculum lacks technology factor due to less attention. Hence the graduates of such curriculum have no technology support in real world as compared to graduates from the western countries. The development of such technical resources will take part in the economic development of the country.

When software parks are established these have the potential to jump start several dimensions of development in the country and if properly manage can prove to contribute to economic development.

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Wajid Hassan is a Ph.D. Fellow in Technology Management at Indiana State University, USA. He is a Technology Evangelist and a fierce promoter of STEM Education