KARACHI: Even though IT exports have shown remarkable growth, Pakistan’s share in the global market remains low at just 0.3 per cent, said a podcast of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The experts from the central bank’s Economic Policy Review Department (EPRD) shed light on Pakistan’s IT sector growth and the potential it holds for the country’s economy.

The experts said despite the significant progress, there are still many challenges faced by the IT sector.

There are many reasons for this, one being that our export market concentration is very high, we have selected export markets such as the US, UAE and UK.

The experts said Pakistan needs to explore new markets for IT exports while making its products and services more competitive. Additionally, the experts underlined the need to address the small size and financial limitations of local IT firms, the low domestic demand for IT services, and the lack of exploration of non-traditional export markets.

Pakistan lags far behind other countries in terms of producing unicorns [startups valued at over $1 billion] which hampers the overall impact of startups on the economy.

They said from a modest $290m in 2013, IT exports soared to $890m in 2019 and reached an impressive $2.1bn in 2022. India’s software exports reached $320bn in FY23

The experts emphasised that the IT sector has become a crucial driver of economic growth, contributing to the development of the domestic market, foreign trade, e-government initiatives, and fintech advancements.

To catalyse economic growth through digital transformation, Pakistan needs to address the challenges of low adoption, enhance internet connectivity across the country, and prioritise efforts to improve digital literacy among its population, they said.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2023

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