Omar Farooqui, a Saudi educationist, has expressed keen interest to invest in Pakistan’s education sector as he believes “first-mover advantage” will help his education firm to flourish in the country.
The founder of Coded Minds, a global ed-tech company, also hailed growing public-private partnership ties in education between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, saying both the countries have historically been like family to one another and education can be the “common thread to stitch them closer”.
“Both countries have immense knowledge pools and research-driven institutions. Sharing of knowledge and formation of cross-border public-private partnerships can help implement modernisation across both nations in terms of bringing 21st-century quantum leaps in their respective ways of being,” Arab News quoted him as saying.
Farooqui, a Saudi national from Jeddah, has become the first-ever educationist in the kingdom to invest in the private education system in Pakistan. His company, Coded Minds Pakistan, is set to provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education to about 6 million students across the country.
The recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia has opened many new opportunities between the two countries. According to several sources, more than 30 public and private Saudi companies are keen to invest in Pakistan, including Saudi giants like Aramco, SABIC and ACWA Power.
However, Farooqui’s Coded Minds appears to be the only Saudi private venture investing in the Pakistani education sector.
So why Pakistan? Farooqui said that by directing a Saudi-owned global company, he has a first-mover’s advantage in the Pakistani education sector.
“Pakistan has huge potential in all aspects of its business sector, but it remains an untapped market. It needs a first mover to take a chance on it, and education is one such sector, that through policy influence, can become a catalyst of change for a nation.”
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Farooqui added that he is among the “most fortunate” people that are living examples of the strong bonds between the two countries. “That’s why, I truly believe that education should always have been beyond boundaries by design, and it is something we practice every day on our platform.”
While noting the “new avatar of the Kingdom” and its growing relations with Pakistan — the second most populous Muslim country and the fifth largest country in the world — Farooqui said that the world has “no choice but to take notice of the remarkable changes”.
He added: “The Kingdom has a young, hungry population that is by nature entrepreneurial and needs a platform to speak. Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world and by natural selection relies on its human capital and large diaspora spread across the world who are willing and able to come back.
“Both in a way are intertwined in a revolution of sorts. Pakistani-Saudi brotherhood is a strategic wall that is crucial to the future of world trade.
“Pakistan’s human capital and Saudi Arabia’s black gold might be combined and can have far-reaching consequences. Pakistan can be a testing ground for significant breakthroughs in new-age technology as it becomes a marketplace of talent to tap into.”
The article originally appeared in Arab News