Achieving growth in export of services

Pakistan can adopt a similar policy and develop a national brand strategy for its services sector

Achieving growth in export of services


n expanding services sector is providing sustained growth in many countries. Pakistan’s export of services during FY 24 (July-February) was $5,147 million, compared to $5,079 million during the same period in the previous year.

The service sector holds immense potential for growth. To unlock this potential, the country can follow valuable lessons from international leaders in export of servicess. Let’s review some key strategies developed and implemented by successful service exporters at regional and global level and how Pakistan can adopt the same or similar strategies.

A highly skilled workforce is the key to export of service. India and Philippines have invested extensively in their education and skill training programmes. Skill India Mission (2015) is an example. Under this initiative, the government aims to train 400 million Indians in various tasks.

The vision is to create an empowered workforce through various schemes and training courses. Besides, various private institutions provide skills development programmes in high demand areas, such as software development, web development, cybersecurity and data analytics.

Implementation of effective strategies has made India the fourth-largest exporter of digitally delivered services in the world. According to Global Trade Outlook and Statistics report by the World Trade Organiation, India’s exports of digitally delivered services stood at $257 billion in 2023, showing a 17 percent increase over the previous year.

Philippine’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority plays a significant role in skills training, offering various IT-related programmes through its network of accredited institutions. Following these examples, Pakistan can focus on strengthening its education infrastructure, promoting public-private partnership for skills development and offer industry-aligned training programmes to train future workforce.

The IT and Business Process Association Philippines is the major industry association and advocacy group having more than 400 members and six partner association. The IBPAP plays a major role in promoting the growth of IT industry by working with stakeholders in the government and the academia to ensure supply of a high-quality workforce.

Pakistan can adopt similar strategies to strengthen its educational infrastructure, promote public-private partnerships and provide industry-aligned training programmes to develop a more skilled workforce.

Pakistan can adopt strategies similar to India and Philippines to strengthen its educational infrastructure, promote public-private partnerships and provide industry-aligned training programmes to develop a skilled workforce. 

Entrepreneurs, by implementing their innovative interventions, develop solutions according to the market demand. This helps them enhance the range of tradable services. South Korea has invested significantly in its infrastructure development, specifically in high-speed internet. This has helped it lay the foundation for innovation. Individuals from any part of the country can connect to the internet for economic activities.

Singapore has streamlined business registration processes and a transparent regulatory framework. Singapore is also providing funding for startups by venture capital firms and angel investors. Pakistan can establish dedicated innovation hubs for the services sector along with simplification of business registration processes and establishing clear and transparent regulations for the services sector. Tax breaks and seed funding can help promote startups and boost collaboration between academia and research institutions to drive innovation.

Ireland is among the leading countries in financial services exports. It is using digitalisation to streamline operations and improve service delivery. Cloud computing, big data analytics and secure online platforms have helped Ireland in this achievement. Investing in digital infrastructure to improve internet connectivity at affordable rates and increasing digital literacy among the workforce are key measures that the government of Pakistan can take to leverage technology for efficiency and growth.

Building a strong brand identity establishes a unique identity for service providers among their competitors. It inspires confidence and trust among potential clients. India has successfully branded itself as a hub for IT services by adopting targeted marketing strategies and participation in international trade fairs.

Pakistan can adopt a similar policy and develop a national brand strategy for its services sector. Its unique strengths in information technology and tourism can be highlighted. Participation in international trade fairs, such as China International Fair for Trade in Services can help the entrepreneurs showcase their products and services at a global level.

These are some of the key strategies and lessons through which Pakistan can unlock the potential of its services sector. Adopting measures that have resulted in success at global and regional level can help Pakistan increase its exports, create job opportunities and attain economic diversification.

The writer is an associate research fellow at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Achieving growth in export of services