Islamabad: Amazon has added Pakistan to its approved list of countries that can directly sell on the world’s biggest e-commerce platform – a moment of celebration for Pakistani small businesses.
“We have finally made it,” stated the prime minister’s advisor on commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Twitter. “An important milestone of e-commerce policy has been achieved through teamwork”, he said, adding that the ministry has been engaged with Amazon since last year to open up the platform for Pakistanis. “It is a great opportunity for our youth, SMEs and women entrepreneurs,” he said.
Amazon will be adding Pakistan to its sellers’ list within a few days after which business owners can create their accounts on the online platform and take their business from Pakistan to the global markets.
World is opening up for Pakistani businesses
“Amazon opening up its platform for Pakistani businesses is like the world is opening up for Pakistani businesses. It is one of the biggest opportunities for small and medium-sized companies,” Badar Khushnood, e-commerce specialist and member National e-Commerce Council (NeCC), told Gulf News.
This move would also transform and diversify Pakistan’s current export focus from B2B (business-to-business) to B2C (business-to-consumer) which offers a “huge benefit for local entrepreneurs, artisans, and small businesses” to help reach Amazon’s 300 million customers globally in 200 countries, said Khushnood who as the co-founder of e-commerce platform Fishry.com is empowering hundreds of popular B2C retail brands. “Direct selling through Amazon can unlock additional revenue for Pakistani manufacturers who were otherwise already making jeans and high-end clothing for big brands such as Levi’s and Zara.”
The efforts to convince Amazon to open for Pakistani sellers began in early 2020 after the country’s first e-commerce policy framework was approved in October 2019. Efforts of officials and experts at Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan embassy and consulates in the United States and members of NeCC and Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA) have been exemplary in achieving the e-commerce milestone for Pakistan, experts said.
Help businesses capitalise digital opportunities
“This is a dream-come-true moment for Pakistani businesses,” said Mehran Ali, an aspiring entrepreneur. He hopes the launch would expedite digitisation among small and medium businesses and help them capitalise on pandemic-induced e-commerce opportunities.
Pakistani e-commerce experts and businesses have described the development as a “game-changer for Pakistani small and medium enterprises (SME) – a dynamic sector of the economy that contributes to an estimated 40 per cent to the country’s GDP and 25 per cent to exports, according to Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA). SMEs in Pakistan comprise some 90 per cent of businesses and its total number is estimated to be 5.2 million. Experts have been calling for enhanced support and incentives for the sector that plays an outsized role in the economy.