Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown
The ICT services exports bucked the overall down trend in Pakistan's exports. The country exported computer service worth $102.26 million in March, 2020, up 25.77% from $81.31 million in March, 2019. Overall telecommunications, computer and information services increased 19.44% to $134.95 million in March 2020, up from $112.99 million in March 2019. Prior to the current coronavirus lockdown, PBS reported that Pakistan's technology exports increased 26.24% in the first 8 months (July-February) of the current financial year.
|Pakistan ICT Exports. Source: PBS|
The data released by the PBS showed that Pakistan earned a total amount of $887.47 million during the first eight months (July-February) of the fiscal year 2020, up from $702.99 million during the corresponding period of the fiscal year 2018-19. Computer services exports grew 31.57% to $677.23 million from July 2019 to February 2020 as compared to $514.74 million.
It is generally believed that Pakistan's PBS and central bank underestimate the country's technology exports. Some have argued that the actual IT exports were closer to $5 billion in fiscal 2018. Some of the differences can be attributed to the fact that the State Bank IT exports data does not include various non-IT sectors such as financial services, automobiles, and health care.
Pakistan has a thriving community of freelancers. Its digital gig economy growth is the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world, according to digital payments platform Payoneer.
|Gig Economy Growth in Q2/2019. Source: Payoneer|
The rapid gig economy expansion of 47% in Pakistan was fueled by several factors including the country's very young population 70% of which is under 30 years of age coupled with improvements in science and technical education and expansion of high-speed broadband access. Pakistani freelancers under the age of 35 generated 77% of the revenue in second quarter of 2019.
|Growth in Freelance Work. Source: Payoneer|
Mohsin Muzaffar, head of business development at Payoneer in Pakistan, has said as follows: "Government investment in enhancing digital skills has helped create a skilled freelancer workforce while blanket 4G coverage across Pakistan has given freelancers unprecedented access to
|Global Freelance Revenue By Age. Source: Payoneer.|
In Q2/2019, Asia cemented its status as a freelancer hub. Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Philippines made it to the top 10 list, collectively recording 238% increase from Q2/2018.
|Online Labor Index. Source: Oxford Internet Institute|
As of 2017, Pakistan freelancers ranked fourth in the world and accounted for 8.5% of the global online workforce, according to Online Labor Index compiled by Oxford Internet Institute. India led with 24% share followed by Bangladesh 16%, US 12%, Pakistan 8.5% and Philippines 6.5%.
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