Pakistan is at the top of South Asian economies, but by underproducing a crucial product, young entrepreneurs, it's stymied from reaching new heights.
With 104 million youth in Pakistan under the age of 25, four million of which will enter the job market this year, jobs are necessary. Pakistan is endowed with the best infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources in South Asia and it faces a youth unemployment rate of just eight percent, below the global 12 percent. What’s surprising, though, is the lack of entrepreneurial opportunities in the country.
The Pakistani government’s policies have focused on large-scale development in both private and public sectors, says the Center for International Private Enterprise, but the informal and entrepreneurial economies have not received as much attention. The potential for profitable start-ups could be a huge benefit to Pakistan’s economy and youth unemployment problems.
Current policies, however, impede these possibilities, according to a 2010 report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor:
Small businesses face a complex legal, tax and administrative environment in Pakistan, therefore most firms avoid the economic obligations associated with registered status and instead operate informally.
Pakistan has the infrastructure and resources. Now all it needs is the right policies—along with institutions that support them—and business could be booming.