Pakistan: A Market with High Potential but Great Challenges
Pakistan is the 5th largest nation in the world with an estimated population of 219 million (not a small market, right?). Ranked around 40th in the world in terms of GDP - $302 billion, which is greater than Finland, New Zealand, Kuwait, Hungary and Greece. We are among the top 20 countries in terms of English speaking population. We have a very young population compared to the developed economies; median age in Pakistan is 23.8 years only. Compare it with the following countries:
64 percent of Pakistanis are younger than 30. Pakistan is said to have more young people than it has ever had, and this pattern is expected to last till 2050.
And this is not an exhaustive list of the pros that we have as a nation, but just a glimpse. Potentially speaking, Pakistan offers great prospects for business and investment. A market that cannot be ignored for long.
However, there are factors that impede our growth and keep us from realizing our true potential. These challenges marginalize the advantages that we offer as a market and a partner. We must work to address these areas in order to rebrand Pakistan and transform it into a strong and vibrant economy. Some of the key impediments to our economic progress include:
- Political instability and lack of continuity of policy
- Corrupt and inefficient judicial system
- Low literacy rate and education
- High unemployment
- Low per capita income and buying power
- Unequal distribution of wealth
- Underprivileged and underdeveloped populace
- Low “ease of doing business”
- Low GDP growth rate
Human Development or Foreign Investment?
We pay too much attention (at least in words) on image building, anticipating to attract foreign investors. Investors make pragmatic decisions on rational grounds. They either not enter a market too weak or uncertain, or do so on their own terms and conditions, which in the long run, further dampens the socioeconomic conditions of a country.
Our collective priority at this point should be to put the house in order first. We need to draw our masses out from surviving to a thriving state. Without investing in human development, developing a strong middle class, the desire for economic development and independence would remain a dream. The opportunities enjoyed by the middle class and the elite today, would not be sustainable for long, if we continue to neglect the prospects of the majority.
The proposition is fair and simple: share it or lose it!
- Worldometer - Pakistan Population
- Wikipedia - List of countries by median age
- Wikipedia - List of countries by GDP (nominal)
- Wikipedia - List of countries by English-speaking population
- UNDP - Unleashing the potential of a young Pakistan