UN Envoy on E-Commerce Meets with IT Minister Anusha Rehman

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

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

The minister highlighted the infrastructure in IT & Telecom sector in Pakistan and informed the delegate that:

“We have created an holistic digital ecosystem so that online businesses can flourish. We have already connected more than 40 million people through mobile broadband in the last two years.”

Anusha Rehman further said “We have friendly investment policies particularly focusing on promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship. In this regard we have established National Incubation Center with public private partnership and are 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 the “ICT for Girls” program.

The minister 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 shared the details of recent GoP MOU on E-commerce with Alibaba which agreed to train Pakistani MSMEs, in addition to their future investment strategy in Pakistan. Anusha Rehman invited Mr. James and ITC to collaborate with the USF and to help them with the planning and the actual implementation of the SME related e-commerce initiative.

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