Freelancing industry is Pakistan is nascent but still country’s freelancers are making a significant impact in international arena. Pakistan is world’s fourth largest provider of online freelancers with estimated registered number of online freelancers ranging from 0.5 million to 1 million. Most of the work done is for international clients; therefore money earned by them is brought into the country mainly as foreign remittances.  Accurate data of money brought by freelancers is not available but estimates range from $500 Million to $1.3 Billion.  This number, although not small, is just a fraction of country’s true potential as Pakistan with its large population, increasing internet connectivity, developed IT infrastructure, broadband penetration, young & educated youth, thousands of IT graduates and million plus enrolled university students, can increase number of freelancers manifolds. This will help bringing in valuable foreign exchange into the country, and more importantly, reduce unemployment as number of fresh graduates passing out every year is a lot more than number of new jobs created.

Therefore, Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund), on the directives of its Board of Directors, intends to launch a large scale training program to train 1 million individuals, in digital skills for freelancing, across the country in next 2 years. The program is aimed to increase:

  • Number of freelancers in the country
  • Number of hours worked by freelancers
  •  Freelancer’s income
  • Financial inclusion
  •  IT exports

This massive program will be executed by partnering up with public and private sector educational institutes across the country and facilitating these institutes by providing requisite support like training material, training of trainers and web portal etc. To make sure that the training program has desired effects and caters to the needs of all stakeholders, a collaborative conference will be held in a few weeks’ time, in which input from all relevant stakeholders will be taken before finalization of program design.