Lahore : Most of the current technology is designed primarily for the one billion people living in the developed world and not for the 5 billion people of the developing-world. While the affordable smartphones skilfully used, may become a powerful tool for solving the core problems and fostering development in the poor countries as the Punjab Government had been deploying it for the uplift of education, health and other social sectors for last few years.
It was stated by the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore Dr. Umar Saif while delivering his key note lecture at the University of Washington (UoW) Seattle USA the other day. Dr. Saif who is also heading Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) the first ever Pakistani invited for this distinguished address at attended by a large number of researchers, academicians, computer scientists, economists and policy makers.
The main focus of Dr. Saif’s lecture was to draw the attention of the participants to the unique challenges of the developing-world. He said “We have been practicing such smart phones interventions in Punjab that has improved the rate of immunization, attendance of teachers and students in public schools, presence of doctors in hospitals and reduced the level of corruption in government departments. The reduction in Dengue cases in short time is another evidence of smart phone application that enabled timely removal of Dengue larvae. The World Bank, USAID, DEFID and other world organizations have recognized our achievements positively. The other provinces of Pakistan are replicating Punjab’s tech interventions”
Earlier, Dr. Saif was introduced at the event as a pioneer in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) whose research was impacting lives of millions of people of Pakistan. The moderator said “Considered equivalent to the lifetime achievement awards, the keynote lectures at UoW gives opportunity to the world experts in different fields of study to share their research and vision for the future. Dr. Umar Saif a preeminent expert in the World of technology for development will be chairing the annual international conference on ICT for Development (ICTD)) next year.”
Later, Dr. Umar Saif was invited to the headquarters of the Bill Gates & Melinda Foundation in Seattle to discuss innovations that would enable financial inclusion for the people who didn’t have access to the digital money. “Using smartphones and mobile payment mechanisms, countries in Africa have been able to extend financial inclusion to the people otherwise not considered “bankable”. Dr. Saif also presented his vision for setting up a centre at ITU Lahore for research in Financial Technology (FinTech).