Why Global Tech Firms are scrambling to enter Pakistan's budding Digital Ecosystem
- Huge mobile data adoption has caused tech firms to pay attention to Pakistan
- Future progress will hinge upon the establishment of a world-class regulatory framework for the digital economy
In this Insights at the Edge of Government Analysis Flash, we look at the hyper growth of mobile data 3G/4G subscribers in Pakistan in the last 3 years. If you are wondering why Alibaba is currently in talks to buy a stake in Telenor Bank, PayPal and Alipay are planning their market entry, and other top technology firms like Uber have made Pakistan a priority, the huge growth in mobile data adoption is it. Mobile data subscribers have grown at a CAGR of 135% since 2014. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s e-commerce market is expected to reach $1 billion by 2020.
A world-class regulatory framework for the digital economy will be critical to position Pakistan as an emerging technology hub, attract further foreign direct investment from global technology leaders, as well as speed Pakistan’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.
Key regulatory reforms should include modernized business activity licensing classifications for e-commerce and the sharing economy, world-class consumer and data protection laws, clear policies that guarantee personal data privacy, and a sensible tax regime. A Prime Minister’s Committee for developing the digital economy, formed by representatives from leading global and home grown technology firms, would be an effective way of ensuring Pakistan gets its digital economy regulatory framework right and avoids inconsistent federal and provincial laws.