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Afghan youth sees future in emerging ICT sector

Sameer Ahmad Ahadi's picture
Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

The audience cheers as Wahidullah Zazai, 26, ascends the stage during the award ceremony for DEWAE, a program to promote innovation across the country under the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector Development Project. His winning innovation is the development of a registration system for hajis, or people who have traveled to Mecca as pilgrims.
 
He receives a certificate and $2,000 to fund his idea at the award ceremony, which is a highlight of the Innovative Support Program that encourages innovative thinking by awarding cash prizes ranging from $2,000 to $80,000 within various categories of competition. The program plans to deliver 187 awards through five rounds before the end of 2016.

DEWAE is one of many initiatives under the ICT Sector Development Project, implemented by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) with support from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The main objectives of the project are to develop an ICT innovation culture, encourage use of technology to create efficiency in government service delivery, promote technological adoption in Afghan society, and support the overall development of the ICT sector in Afghanistan.
 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank
Wahidullah is living his dream to have a start-up provide IT services and solutions for Afghans. He and two colleagues have started a software company, called WeSoft, which produces management systems, working with hospitals, universities, schools, and human resources organizations. WeSoft creates finance management systems for both the private and public sectors, providing domestically produced software for clients. The company currently has three contracts to produce software for, and Wahidullah is very proud of himself and his team.
 
Wahidullah’s journey started after graduating from Kabul University’s Department of Computer Science in 2014. On coming out of university, he found that IT jobs required such advanced qualifications that his university degree did not qualify him for any relevant position. To gain the relevant job skills he needed, he joined an Advanced Level IT Training Program under the ICT Sector Development Project. He received four months of training and was able to secure a job.
 
However, acting on his goal to start a company, he joined the INCUBATOR program, also part of the ICT Sector Development Project in which entrepreneurial youth receive trainings and professional lectures, learning how to start up a business and write a business plan, as well as about marketing, management and other subjects needed to run a functional office.
 
As Technical Coordinator for the ICT Sector Development Project, I am proud to be part of these initiatives. As Wahidullah’s story shows, World Bank-funded programs of the MCIT have transformed the lives of Afghans, helping people like him and many others become active members of the country’s emerging IT sector, and contributing citizens of Afghanistan.

Wahidullah dreams about a future when an empowered society will be able to tackle challenges by putting ICT solutions to work. He is working to make this dream of the future a reality by expanding his company and hiring more youth to change the future of ICT and his country.

Comments

Submitted by Siddhartha on

Dear Sameer jaan, it is great to read this excellent blog written by you. Thank you for sharing this story, and congratulations to MCIT for making these programs -- which were almost like a dream not long ago -- into a reality! Wish you success and waiting for many more of such stories in the coming days and years.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sameer Jan, this really great!
This is an excellent initiative to be carried out and extended to other sectorial ministries. Our country needs for innovations and improvement in the service sectors which contributes to the economy of our country. This is amazing indeed. Our young generations have splendid minds and talents bestowed by our almighty lord (Allah SWT). We need programs to use them in the right way to make sure their talents and skills, granted as a beautiful gift by Allah SWT are not wasted, rather they are enriched and improved with putting them into use for more creative ways. We will be asked for what we are given and need to ensure we use them in the positive and for the benefits of humanity as a whole and specifically for our country and ensure we have done our bit to each step towards serving our country and our people and the humanity as a whole. These youths are the current hope and future investment of our country. The country's infra structures including economic systems has really suffered a lot due to three to four decades of active and cold war now. we need to work hard and even harder to boost our economy and stand on our own feet. We have the abilities in ourselves but need to wake them up. We will not be able to drive our economy and serve our country the way it is required until and unless we take the responsibility and move ahead.
Once, again, keep up the excellent work and best of luck with the upcoming creativities In Shaa Allah!

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