Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed the importance of e-commerce, saying it had the potential to revolutionize market access for Pakistanis enterprises. He was addressing a ceremony held to ink an agreement between the Government of Pakistan and Alibaba Group Holdings Limited.
“E-commerce reduces time and costs of transactions tremendously. It has the potential to revolutionize market access and can generate multiple linkages for enterprises, especially in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). E-commerce is a catalyst for economic inclusion and political empowerment,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday.
Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir, Alibaba Group president Michael Evans, Global Business of Ant Financial senior vice president Douglas Feagin signed the agreement between the company and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). Alibaba Group’s executive chairman Jack Ma was also present.
“I’m very happy that my meeting with Mr Jack Ma at the World Economic Forum has come to fruition in the form of this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we are signing today,” the prime minister said. “My appreciation for the Alibaba Group comes not only from its success as an e-commerce giant but also because of its focus on job creation, its patronage to the SMEs, its promotion of entrepreneurship and its emphasis on human resource development.”
“I have always been a firm believe in the political empowerment of the people through economic empowerment,” said the PM. “In today’s world, e-commerce is a powerful tool to stimulate economic activity, effort, innovation and entrepreneurship across all productive sectors of the economy.”
The terms of the MoU state that Alibaba, Ant Financial, and TDAP will foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan with the help of e-commerce.
“Under the MoU, online and offline training programs for SMEs would be conducted by Alibaba Group in a bid to assist SMEs with on-boarding onto the company’s platforms and optimizing exports making use of e-commerce,” a press statement issued after the ceremony said.
The TDAP will help identify suitable SMEs to participate in the training programs while Alibaba will be responsible for providing industry analysis to the TDAP to assist them in their selection process.
Additionally, Alibaba, Ant Financial and the TDAP have agreed to extend the growth of financial services in Pakistan in areas such as mobile and online payment services. The parties have also agreed to adopt cloud computing services to support the online and mobile e-commerce businesses of SMEs in Pakistan.