Karachi has been ranked in the top 10 start-up-friendly South Asian cities in Blink’s Startup Ecosystem Report 2022. Karachi has emerged as the highest-ranked city in Pakistan, taking the position away from Lahore.
Karachi’s position has moved up in South Asia but globally it lost five spots to rank 291st. Lahore dropped a heartbreaking 48 positions to rank 305th whereas Islamabad dropped one position to 438th. This year has not been good for city rankings of smaller Pakistani cities – Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, and Jhelum are out of the global top 1,000, leaving Pakistan with only three ranked cities, versus seven in 2021.
Pakistan has dropped one spot in 2022 to rank 76th globally and maintains its second rank in South Asia. Pakistan is ranked fourth in the CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program) business region.
“With a population of over 220 million, Pakistan’s economy has massive potential to grow. For this to happen, digitalisation and successful startups will be a critical element. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, digital entrepreneurship increased side by side with investment in local startups,” says the report.
The report further states that digital infrastructure in Pakistan has seen improvement with the introduction of broadband internet coverage, including 4G. All this came together with new legal frameworks that regulate and promote digital payments, investment, and credit under the State Bank of Pakistan’s Digital Banking Policy.
“In addition, the government set up Special Technology zones offering several tax exemptions and incentives. Pakistan has come a long way with its legal framework, but there are still some areas that require more clarity when it comes to taxation or incentives for domestic investments. The country’s turbulent political climate is not helping to create certainty and stable policies to boost the local startup ecosystem.”
As per the report, “The spike in funding and startups needs to be fuelled by talent with experience in scaling startups. To sustain this need, the country needs to come up with ways of providing its startup ecosystems with qualified and trained personnel.”
The global rating evaluates the state of the startup economy and describes the dynamics of their growth and the main trends. This year’s report evaluated startup ecosystems in 1,000 cities and 100 countries.