I.T. Opportunities in Pakistan To Grow Ten Times
Canadian team meets Minister of Commerce in Karachi
March 31, 2006

For Immediate Release

The Canadian delegation at Expo Pakistan meeting Minister of Commerce Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan (centre behind floral arrangement) with Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada His Excellency Shahid Malik (third from left), The Honourable Sinclair Stevens (to the right of Minister) and Prasen Agali (beside Mr. Stevens), Executive Director of Magna International Inc.

Canadian Delegation at EXPO Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan, March 31, 2006 -- Pakistan is "open for business" and opportunities in the Information Technology sector are forecast to grow from $1-billion in spending this year to more than $10-billion by 2010, said Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Commerce. Mr. Khan met privately with a Canadian delegation to Expo Pakistan, which featured the Commonwealth Advantage/CATA team of The Honourable Sinclair Stevens and EVP Barry Gander. The delegation was headed by Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency Shahid Makik.

"In the past two years, Pakistan has changed dramatically," noted the Minister. "Across all sectors, business people have the freedom to expand. Areas dealing with high technology are growing especially fast. Pakistan has the lowest automotive production costs in the world." The Commonwealth Advantage delegation included an Executive Director from Magna International Inc. "In agriculture,' added Minister Khan, "while we are the world's fifth largest producer of milk, we lack the processing capabilities that Canadian firms are so good at providing." The Canadians have thus far explored opportunities in software, telephony, recreation, fishing, and industrial processes.

"The Government of Pakistan is encouraging I.T. companies to come," agreed Khalid Rafi, Chairman of Si3, Pakistan's largest IT integration company. "In one area alone -- providing IT financial security -- there are 40 banks in Pakistan that spent $300-million on IT last year, and will spend $10-billion by 2010." Si3 is one of the Founding Members of the Commonwealth Advantage, the made-in-Canada program that acts as a one-stop business-to-business matchmaker for companies looking to trade, or partner with, other firms and public sector organizations in the 53 Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth Advantage is a meeting ground where business-oriented leaders from the private and public sector organizations are linked and coordinated, leading to synergistic growth for all economies.

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Alice Debroy