STZA Building Technology Ecosystem to Enable Pakistani Freelancers

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), Amer Hashmi, said that the organization’s goal is to create a world-class technology ecosystem in Pakistan that would benefit small, medium, and big tech companies alike.

He was addressing the Freelance Fest 2022 organized in Karachi by the Pakistan Freelancers Association (PAFLA).

A report from the World Labor Organization (WLO) states that Pakistan is quickly becoming a key supplier of digital labor for the global freelancing industry. Pakistan is now the third-largest supplier of digital labor in the world, thanks to Pakistan’s expanding freelance population.

A strategic picture of the worldwide innovation and technology ecosystem was provided by Mr Hashmi, who spoke at the festival. His words of encouragement and guarantee of STZA’s unwavering support for the country’s growing freelancing sector came at a critical time for Pakistan’s fledgling freelance industry.

“Despite enormous regulatory, infrastructure and financial challenges, the young Pakistani freelancers have demonstrated their prowess to disrupt the global freelancing trends in Pakistan’s favour” added Mr Hashmi.

Javaid Iqbal, the Chief Commercial Officer of STZA while speaking at the forum stated that the freelancers were a critical part of the innovation and technology ecosystem in Pakistan. He said that the freelancers were not only increasing Pakistan’s brand capital but also earning foreign exchange for the country and transforming the gig economy by identifying global market requirements. He called on the young freelancers to challenge barriers and accelerate their efforts, stating that they were living in a transformational era of a globally connected marketplace with infinite possibilities.

Abdul Rahim Ahmad, Chief Information Officer of STZA called for the development of a centralized, verified repository of freelancers in Pakistan. He stated that the regulatory support for the freelancers from the government and financial sector was necessary. Acknowledging the challenges faced by the Pakistani freelancers, Mr Rahim called for developing mechanisms for making it easy to open bank accounts, increasing high-speed internet coverage and availability of training and mentorship for the freelancers in Pakistan.

During the event, the STZA team had the opportunity to meet with leaders in the financial sector, academics, PAFLA, state regulators, and a number of well-known freelancers. They all committed to work together to remove obstacles and help Pakistani freelancers compete worldwide. These ties might pave the way for future collaboration between the public and corporate sectors, as well as the freelance community. He commended PAFLA for putting up the event, which brought together business executives, government regulators, and up-and-coming freelancers.

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