With the objective of enhancing digital connectivity in mind, Pakistan has submitted a $200 million project to the World Bank for the construction of necessary infrastructure to support a digital economy—the importance of which has been highlighted during the pandemic. Considering that the provision of consistent and effective connection services are only limited to major cities, the need for this project to materialise cannot be understated.

The platform to avail internet services is absent in almost 35 percent of all of Pakistan. This means that a population of 74.2 million is digitally cut off in a world that progressed into a new era of technology and another 100 million or so faces extreme difficulty in trying to connect. Not only is this incredibly disabling for those people but it goes to show the gap between Pakistan’s status quo and a modernised future. This is where the loan from the International Development Association (IDA) will help tremendously by improving the government’s capacity to incur digital development through establishing relevant infrastructure and introducing, along with altering, regulations regarding the provision of services. The financial value of the loan is more than enough to sustain such growth; it will be up to the authorities to utilise it effectively.

A few years ago, the insistence of selling only PTA approved phones, empowering local and regional mobile brands through encouraging sales and regulating the overall prices of phones led to mass consumption. People from every nook and cranny of Pakistan updated to smartphones thereby, initiating a digital revolution as a whole. If similar measures are taken with the same commitment then internet connectivity, and digital connectivity as a whole, will be well within our reach.

For right now, the implementation of the project is set to be provincial capitals as well as second and third tier cities. The strategy of gradual but consistent expansion is one that is being employed to provide services across the nation systematically.