PPAF holds webinar on ‘Role of Innovation for Rural Development’

11:51 PM | 22 Apr, 2021
PPAF holds webinar on ‘Role of Innovation for Rural Development’
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ISLAMABAD – Salman Shehzad, Project Director for the National Financial Literacy Program for Youth, State Bank of Pakistan said that we do not need to wait for anyone to come and solve our problems, everyone has their innovative ideas.

He was addressing a webinar conducted by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) regarding the ‘Role of Innovation for Rural Development’.

Madiha Parvez, Head Corporate Innovation at Telenor, Imran Shams, Executive Director at Central and South Asia, Accelerate Prosperity and Irshad Khan Abbasi, Group Head of Innovation, Development and Integration at PPAF were also attending the webinar.

Discussing subjects like what innovation is in the current day and age and how private and public organizations could work towards innovative solutions to develop rural areas of Pakistan. Madiha clarified, “Innovation is anything that brings ease to your life and this may not always be linked to technology”, but in the case of rural centres, the panellists reached a mutual agreement on the fact that infrastructure and connectivity restraints have to be facilitated for rural development to gain a proper shape and for start-ups to scale up.

Imran Shams added that for mountainous regions connectivity will not be 100% due to the terrain and thus, IT parks or special connectivity hubs would be key for promoting connectivity and providing opportunities for the people present in the area. Further adding that 75% of the population is less than 35 years of age, therefore to facilitate their career growth and ambitions it is mandatory to facilitate coverage in all areas.

Additionally, Madiha explained that Pakistani people are very good with “Jugad”, they find easy solutions to deal with all their problems. This in itself is innovation and it should be “sustainable and disruptive” in nature so that we can promote new ways for development and grow the economy.

Commenting on the state of the economy Salman Shehzad explained that raising the level of financial literacy in rural settings is crucial for the development of rural communities. Saying further that financial literacy gives an individual the confidence to test new ideas and the understanding to scale them up. He added that not every project is meant to be successful, failure is important and gives root to innovation. Commenting on the importance of technology he stated that technology allows accessibility and that promotes scaling up of all projects thus promoting innovation.

By the end of the session, the panellists promoted the idea of the private and public sectors to harmonize their efforts for innovation and development of rural areas. Irshad Khan Abbasi, Group Head for Innovation, Development and Integration called for everyone to support PPAF efforts and come together to start an “Innovation Fund” for the development of rural areas.