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Pakistan World’s ‘Second Largest Supplier’ of Digital Services: Economic Survey

The International Labor Organization (ILO) Flagship Report (2021) has ranked Pakistan as the second largest supplier of digital labor services, such as clerical and data entry services, creative and multimedia services, professional services, sales and marketing support services, software development and technology services and writing and translation services.

Likewise, Kearney’s Global Services Location Index (2021) ranked Pakistan as the second most financially attractive location in the world for offshore outsourcing IT and ITeS, says the Economic Survey 2022-23.

In software development and technology services, more than 19,000 IT and ITeS companies are registered with SECP comprising both domestic and export-oriented enterprises across 160 cities of the country.

There are 5,109 IT and ITeS companies registered with Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) as of March 2023 representing the exporters. Major Tech hubs of the IT and ITeS industry are Lahore (36.4 percent), Karachi (28 percent), and Islamabad/Rawalpindi (27 percent) of PSEB registered companies. The remaining 10 percent of registered companies are spread all over the country.

The relevant stakeholders are putting maximum efforts to increase the number of companies by increasing the number of Software Technology Parks (STPs) and enabling the IT and ITeS industry to capitalize the countrywide talent.

The IT sector is providing a broad set of products and services to the world’s largest companies. Pakistan’s IT industry counts world’s largest entities among its regular clients. Several international companies including global enterprises like Bentley, Ciklum, IBM, Siemens, S&P Global, Symantec, Teradata, and VMware have established global consulting services centers, research and development facilities, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) support services centers in Pakistan. Thus, generating high-paying job opportunities for talented youth and attracting FDI.

IT industry comprises of youngest workforce with the highest proportion of women as company founders and startup owners. Women are working in technical, managerial, and executive-level positions. There have been several startup success stories, such as Bykea, Careem, and Daraz.

IGNITE has established National Incubation Centers (NICs) across major cities in Pakistan. In 2021, these centers supported 60 startups, generating $373 million in capital, and reaching a valuation of $2.1 billion. In 2022, 40 startups raised $343 million in capital, reaching a valuation of $3.5 billion.

Source: Pro Pakistani