Free lancers rose to 1.15m in Pakistan contribute to global freelance economy

Around 1.15 million Pakistanis are contributing in rising global freelance economy, reported Asia segment of Freelancer.com on Wednesday.
Pakistan is contributing in most in-demand job skills in Graphic Design, PHP, Website Design, Logo Design, and HTML.
While talking to South Punjab News Asia Freelancer.com's Communications Manager Helma Kusuma said, "World’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace is Freelancer.com and it has hit 30 million users for the first time ever, a major milestone that reveals the rise of new ways of working across the globe."
One of its Pakistani users is Naveed Ali who is a Graphic Designer, left his monthly US $108 job to freelance for a better life. Naveed said, "My earnings as a freelancer were much more lucrative than my full-time job. I then built my own company, and hired four team members. It has been eight years since we started and we have no plans of stopping."
There are many users like Naveed who are tapping into this new world of work and transforming their lives.
While Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Youth Affairs, Sports, Archeology & Tourism (YASAT)’s joint project, “eRozgaar Program” has trained more than 3500 candidates into digital skills of the future.
Currently, 23 centers have become operational across the province of Punjab in various universities and educational institutions with duly equipped labs. Among these centers, three are dedicated for females, which started in the mid of 2017 while more than 3,500 candidates have been trained and now earning more than PKR 50 million.
Pakistan being World’s 6th largest country, with the best facilities and remarkable resources, better than many institutions around the globe, possesses excellent youth potential to move forward and grab the economic opportunities through freelancing under the e-Rozgaar program.
In freelancing, Pakistan stands third among the World community by earning around US $1 billion, which is expected to increase to US $360 million by earning $100 per day per person with the 10,000 trainees selected for three-month programme for freelance self-employment. Facebook has also developed a specialized course track as per the needs of e-Rozgaar.

It is well known that Pakistan is one of the top four countries with the highest number of online freelancers. Therefore, the recently launched e-Rozgar scheme in Punjab is a step in the right direction. In his newspaper article, the Punjab IT Board chairman quoted a conservative figure of 150,000 Pakistani freelancers, earning combined revenue of roughly $1 billion. This fairly high number is despite the fact that so far the phenomenon of online freelancing in Pakistan has grown without any significant government support.
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One hopes that e-Rozgar centres would be the proverbial ‘first drops of rain’.
Hurdles to e-commerce
A big barrier to reaching the immense potential of online freelancing is the lack of literacy – both digital and conventional. Digitally literate online freelancers can operate even outside such centres with their smartphones. Therefore, providing basic digital literacy in schools is even more important. It will help not only online freelancing, but other e-commerce activities.
The online freelance market is a byproduct of e-commerce, which has various formats and business models. The one getting a lot of attention lately is the so-called ‘sharing economy’ (also called ‘collaborative consumption’).
Sharing economy is not really new. What is new is the internet’s ability to let everyone communicate easily with a very wide audience. The sharing economy’s business models thus leverage direct access to consumers, made possible by the internet, reducing business costs.
In sharing economy business models, typically the entire process is managed by a managing company (like Uber), which is not the actual service provider. Instead, the company is a facilitator, making safe and easy transaction possible.
To take care of the trust deficit among strangers, the managing company puts in place an independent bi-directional post-transactional review system for both sides to rate (or review) the other side.
Today, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sharing examples. Starting from collaborative online encyclopedias (Wikipedia), to sharing videos (YouTube), pictures (Instagram), cars (Uber, Careem), accommodation (AirBnB), rides (Lyft), bikes (Liquid, formerly Spinlister), household items (Snapgoods), even driveway spaces (ParkAtMyHouse), and peer financing, or crowd funding (Kickstarter) and so on.
Sharing economy
One reason why sharing economy is growing rapidly is that today’s youth are connected individuals, who have embraced broadband internet and try to get the latest smartphones that they can afford. However, most economies, including ours, are not ready for such disruptive new business models.
The current legislative and regulatory regimes were not designed for sharing economy. The issues which Uber and Careem are facing with the provincial governments in Pakistan are just the beginning. Many more similar challenges will come up in the near future.
This is not just in Pakistan. According to Digital Watch, there are court cases and rulings involving Uber in over 25 countries, most of all in the US itself. But as is always the case, things will surely settle down and the march of the technology will continue.
How this Pakistani built a billion-dollar startup
Sharing economy contributes immensely towards the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in more ways than one.
For instance, all small businesses in the early years operate on tight budgets. Cash flow is one of the reasons that a large number of startups fail. Anything to control cash flow makes survival more likely.
This includes ensuring that money is saved by not having to buy things that you need and turning your unused assets into cash. The sharing economy makes it simple to share physical as well as non-physical goods and services using the internet. A digital market is, therefore, an excellent opportunity for economic growth.
Freelancing and sharing economy are only two tips of the iceberg that e-commerce is. There is a lot more (like online shopping). In 2016, the global e-commerce market volume is estimated to have reached $22 trillion, growing much faster than the conventional commerce.
All this creates enormous employment opportunities, particularly for the bulging youth population. According to an agreement signed with Tevta Punjab in August last year, Careem is getting 100,000 unemployed youth trained in the next three years (incidentally over 80% of Careem’s drivers in GCC countries are Pakistanis – who obviously too contribute to Pakistan’s economy through foreign remittances).
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It is time that we realise the colossal benefits that the internet and ICTs can bring to our economy and start encouraging growth of ICTs – rather than taxing heavily for short-term cash generation.
The writer is former CEO of the Universal Services Fund and is providing ICT consultancy services in several countries of Africa and Asia

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South Punjab News : Free lancers rose to 1.15m in Pakistan contribute to global freelance economy
Free lancers rose to 1.15m in Pakistan contribute to global freelance economy
While Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Youth Affairs, Sports, Archeology & Tourism (YASAT)’s joint project, “eRozgaar Program” has trained more than 3500 candidates into digital skills of the future.
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South Punjab News
http://www.southpunjabnews.com/2018/09/115m-pakistanis-contribute-to-global.html
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