Senior Advisor of the International Trade Center of the lead UN Agency for Development of Trade and Commerce (UNCTAD) Mr. James Howe Leslie called on Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman, here in Islamabad today and discussed many issues of mutual interest including E-commerce platforms and other value chain component as well as E-Solutions. The discussion was with specific reference to enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to have viable online businesses.

The Minister apprised Mr. James that Pakistan has taken many concrete steps to create ?an enabling environment for E-commerce online businesses. She said that Pakistan is spearheading e Commerce related initiative in WTO and our mission at WTO is bringing together like minded countries to take forward the E-commerce related agenda.

The minister highlighted the infrastructure in Pakistan that had been put in place in IT & Telecom sector and informed the delegate that we have created an holistic digital ecosystem So that online businesses could flourish. We have already   connected more than 40 million people through mobile broadband in the last two years. Anusha Rehman further said that we have a friendly Investment policies is particularly focusing on promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship. In this regard we have established National Incubation Center with public private partnership and going to establish three more such incubation centers in three major cities of Pakistan. We are also bringing a program through the USF to facilitate SMEs and MSMEs to bring them online. She also highlighted several initiatives being undertaken for ICT penetration in Pakistan such as “ICT for Girls” program.

She underscored the importance of training for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to go online market their products and fully benefit from the potential of E-Commerce. She also shred the details of recent GoP MOU on E-commerce with Alibaba  who agreed to impart  training to Pakistani MSMEs to come online, in addition to their  future investment strategy in Pakistan. She further invited Mr. James and ITC to collaborate with the USF and to help them with appropriate design and the actual implementation of the SME related e-commerce initiative.

Mr. James appreciated the developments in E-commerce arena in Pakistan and opined that there  is a unique opportunity in Pakistan in the area of e-Commerce. Rigorous efforts are already being undertaken which will provide impetus to E-Commerce and online businesses. He also assured continued support and collaboration from ITC to the various stakeholders of MoIT to enable sound outcomes for the Government.