Software Outsourcing Readiness
Pakistan may not be at the top of your list for outsourcing software development, but the government and several trade associations are working hard to change that. IT has been singled out as a “vital organ” of the national economy, with initiatives to encourage investment including a 15-year tax exemption on software exports.
If you can tolerate the risk of political disruption and have the ability to outsource without visiting your programming team, the country offers excellent talent at much lower rates than in India. Pakistani engineers can handle most programming projects, especially those using standard technology stacks of .NET and Java. Software Technology Park in Lahore is one of a growing number of IT parks, and tech startups are on the rise.
Both Urdu and English are official languages in Pakistan, due to historical ties with Britain. English is widely spoken, and is the main language of technology and international business.
Pakistan will have to battle against “brisk headwinds of political instability, policy inconsistency, challenging external environment, slow economy and rising inflation” on its path to recovery in 2020, concluded the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan think tank, in its report Pakistan Outlook 2020: Politics, Economy & Security – and that was before the impact of COVID-19 was factored in. However, economic ties are continuing to grow between Pakistan and the US, driving trade to record levels.
Former cricket star Imran Khan has struggled to meet the high expectations that swept him to power in the 2018 election, but is expected to maintain enough support to see out his five-year term as prime minister. Tensions with India remain dangerously high, and the heightened threat of conflict in the Middle East has serious implications for Pakistan's energy and internal security. Terrorist attacks have decreased in recent years, but in June 2020 four gunmen attacked the Pakistani stock exchange, killing three people.