Given the link between entrepreneurship and innovation, Pakistan experienced a rise of startups in 2021 that had never been seen before, which should suggest that creativity and invention soared as well. In 2021, the total amount of money invested in startups was above $300 million. However, the country still has a long way to go in terms of climbing the global innovation ladder.
Pakistan’s rating in the Worldwide Innovation Index for 2021 improved by eight places, however the country remains towards the bottom of the global rankings. Pakistan was ranked 99th out of 132 nations in the Global Innovation Index in 2021.
The Global Innovation Index rates the performance of economies throughout the world’s innovation ecosystems and identifies innovation strengths and weaknesses in country-specific innovation measures. It assigns a ranking to international economies based on their ability to innovate. The index includes over 80 indicators, including assessments of the political climate, education, infrastructure, and knowledge generation, to provide an overall picture of economic innovation. The significance of the 2021 innovation index is that it not only analyses the most current developments in innovation, but it also focuses on the influence of Covid on innovation throughout the course of the year.
While Pakistan’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index is poor, particular indexes show promise. Pakistan is ranked 17th out of 34 economies in the lower middle income category, and 7th out of the 10 economies in Central and Southern Asia. In 2021, the country’s innovation outputs outperformed its innovation inputs. Pakistan excelled in knowledge and technology outputs, with notable strengths in domestic market sales, high-tech imports, software expenditure, ICT service exports, mobile app production, and so on, as measured by subsectors and indexes.
Nonetheless, the country continues to be held back by low innovation scores, which are mostly attributable to the country’s inadequate education system and low literacy rates. Low literacy rates and a lack of significant investment in innovation in the form of R&D and education are two of the 80 or so criteria that contribute to the rankings’ decline. It has a poor and disappointing position on human capital and research indicators, infrastructure, and market sophistication. Other countries in the area, particularly India, stand out when compared to Pakistan. India is now ranked 46th, with room for development. The Indian government has emphasised intellectual capital, a thriving start-up environment, and the efforts of public and private research groups as contributors in the country’s improved and consistent performance on the Global Innovation Index.
The country produces greater innovative outputs proportional to its level of innovation investments, according to the Global Innovation Index, which can assist policymakers, decision makers, trailblazers, and others in enhancing innovation and creativity in the country.