Pakistan has the potential to add $60bn to economy with digital transformation

Presently Pakistan's e-commerce sector lags at 1% of retail market, says OICCI Report

Pakistan is seeking to transform its economy through digitalization, and a recent round table conference in Islamabad organized by the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities of this transition. 

One of the key speakers at the conference was the President of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Amir Piracha, who presented a report titled “Recommendations for Digital Transformation in Pakistan.”

In his presentation, Piracha highlighted the potential of digitization and technological revolution, emphasizing the need for skill development to improve Pakistan’s freelancing sector, which currently lags behind in terms of revenue generation compared to other nations. He noted that while Pakistan is the 4th largest freelancing economy in the world, the subsequent revenue is low as freelancers work on low hourly rates as compared to other nations. Piracha stressed the need for necessary skill development and utilizing competitive advantage for Pakistan to identify its strengths and specialize in 1-2 key areas to build upon its digitized economy.

According to the OICCI report, Pakistan’s e-commerce sector constitutes merely 1% of the country’s retail market. However, by implementing the recommendations outlined in the report, Pakistan could create innovative employment opportunities for its young population, which accounts for 23% of the total population. The report suggests that these measures could potentially add $60 billion to the economy within the next seven to eight years.

The OICCI report emphasizes the urgent need for increased fiber optic broadband penetration, improved 4G coverage, and the formulation of an AI policy to enhance decision-making processes. The report also highlights the importance of data analytics technologies for government departments such as the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Additionally, the report emphasizes the necessity of an up-to-date cybersecurity law and strict enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights to attract global IT companies to establish their presence in Pakistan.

To improve the income of Pakistani freelancers, JS Global ICT analyst Waqas Ghani Kukaswadia suggested that Pakistan needs to increase the number of active freelancers while simultaneously raising the average annual income to over $10,000, which would result in significant economic benefits. However, Kukaswadia also stressed the need for education and certification, particularly in technical fields such as computer programming, mobile app development, and legal or financial writing. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and other stakeholders should cooperate and work for an updated curriculum in-line with global standards, one which can help address foreign client needs.

Kapeel Kumar, an ICT expert based in Karachi, highlighted that many freelancers lack the resources to acquire the necessary equipment and guidance to enhance their skills and market themselves effectively. Kumar suggested that the government could provide laptops and equipment through duty-free bulk imports at a low cost, financed by small savings turned into investments in the digital economy.

The OICCI report also identified key challenges to Pakistan’s digitization journey, including inconsistent policies, a technical skills gap, and deficiencies in policy implementation and execution. The participants of the conference also emphasized the pressing issue of foreign exchange remittance.

Acknowledging the significance of digital transformation, Minister of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal expressed his support for the OICCI’s recommendations. He formed a working group comprising representatives from the ministry and the IT sector to monitor the implementation of the report’s key milestones. Iqbal stressed the importance of public-private partnerships for the long-term prosperity of the country and its population.

On another occasion, Iqbal formed a 15-member National Task Force on AI to develop a 10-year roadmap for the accelerated adoption of AI in the business, development, governance, education and healthcare sectors.

To read the full article visit

- Advertisement -
Monitoring Desk
Monitoring Desk
Our monitoring team diligently searches the vast expanse of the web to carefully handpick and distill top-tier business and economic news stories and articles, presenting them to you in a concise and informative manner.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Must Read