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Building digital societies in Asia: Making commerce smarter

In collaboration with the GSMA’s Asia and Mobile Money teams, GSMA Intelligence is today publishing Building digital societies in Asia: Making commerce smarter. We discuss the development of digital payments, in particular mobile money, and how it can enable digital commerce. We focus on the opportunity that this solution can bring to the people of Pakistan and the key roles that stakeholders can play in realising the full potential of digital commerce.

This is the third in a series of reports. The first report – Building digital societies in Asia – published in June 2015, analysed key enablers to realising the socioeconomic benefits of digitisation, focusing on the proposed plans of six key countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand. In Building digital societies in Asia: Making transportation smarter, we analysed the potential benefits that arise from the effective use of ICT applications over mobile networks to better manage public and private transportation.

In this report, we explain how connectivity is less of an issue now in Pakistan; the challenge now lies in increasing the number of digital commerce accounts and promoting digital payments to realise the full potential of digital commerce. We show how mobile operators have already started to invest to increase branchless banking account adoption and usage in Pakistan, fostering the development of a digital ecosystem. However, Pakistan’s development as a digital economy still faces challenges. These include socio-political barriers such as weak legal and regulatory frameworks, digital illiteracy, and a lack of awareness of what digital commerce is and how to access it. Success going forward requires collaboration between all stakeholders involved, including government and regulators, mobile operators, financial institutions and fintech companies.

(To read the report highlights from GSMA's Mobile Money team, see also: Recommendations for supporting the growth and development of digital commerce in Pakistan.)

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