In the past few years, despite the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic, there has been a robust growth of information technology (IT) in Pakistan.
According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan, the annual growth rate for IT and related services reached 18.85%, marking the highest growth rate of any industry in the region. In addition, micro enterprises, independent consultants and freelancers contributed around $500 million to IT exports while the annual domestic revenue exceeded $1 billion.
The remarkable growth of Pakistan’s IT industry is mainly due to the enabling government policies, including numerous sustainable development and accelerated digitization projects, incentives to bolster growth, 100% equity ownership and specialized foreign currency accounts for IT firms and freelancers to fulfill their operational demands, thus addressing a long-standing concern of IT enterprises regarding the easy inflow and outflow of foreign currency.
The substantial growth of Pakistan’s IT industry is also attributed to the success of many start-ups such as Careem, Daraz and Airlift in bringing business and investment to Pakistan as evident from the recent acquisition of Daraz and Easypaisa by Chinese giant Ali Baba.
With the construction of “digital-first country”, Pakistan’s IT industry still has great potential to develop. Nowadays, Pakistan has the fourth-largest growing freelancers’ market globally. The country is known for software development, business process outsourcing (BPO) and freelancing of IT-related services.
Judging from the current situation, whether Pakistan’s information industry can achieve further rapid development mainly depends on the following factors: developing and increasing the availability of affordable and high-speed internet; expanding the use of digital payments; reducing barriers to e-commerce; promoting trust in digital transactions; integration with major economic partner countries, especially China, in the IT field; and the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).