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Public Sector and Governance

Pakistan youth can be the future they want to see

Alexander Ferguson's picture

The first day of the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar saw corridors and rooms crowded with entrepreneurs and digital gurus from across the world looking to map out Pakistan’s digital future.

These young and enthusiastic innovators are helping to redefine the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as an emerging technology hub, and providing substantive skills and resources for Pakistan’s youth to take advantage of digital opportunities. At the summit – sponsored by the World Bank with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board and many other partners -- these students, entrepreneurs, enthusiastic young women and men are accessing trainings, announcements, and various forms of support to unlock new possibilities to realizing their potential.

The market for digital entrepreneurship is a multi-billion-dollar industry, growing at a rapid rate and is thirsty for young talent. These opportunities represent a shift in how we think of development—bringing the creativity and passion of tech-savvy young innovators to the forefront of social and economic change. The youth of Pakistani are well placed to be in the driver’s seat of this vibrant future.

Why am I excited for the next digital youth summit?

Anna O'Donnell's picture
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This year, perhaps even more than in previous years, I am very excited to come to DYS for two main reasons.

First, since its inception in 2014, the Digital Youth Summit has become one of the premier technology conferences in Pakistan. Back in 2014, we got some skeptical responses to the idea of holding a tech conference in Peshawar. National speakers were hesitant to make the trip to Peshawar. Security restriction on international travel were in place for KP up to a week before the event. Several international speakers dropped out because of difficulties getting visas.

But in 2014, the first Digital Youth Summit came on the tech scene, redefining Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as an emerging digital economy. The event brought together local and international participants (some attending their sessions by videoconference) to deliberate on supporting the growth of nascent ecosystems. Local youth showed up, curious about how the internet is shaping jobs of the future. I met one young woman who had traveled on an overnight bus with her child and sister just to learn more about what it means to work online. She told me excitedly that she could not wait to begin her new internet based career. And for the international speakers who made it, the hospitality and warmth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reshaped their views of Pakistan.

Fast forward three years to DYS 2017. DYS has become an established event in Pakistan’s tech community. It has provided an international platform to showcase the vibrancy and enthusiasm of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it embraces the digital economy. And while it continues to identify with its core objective—to raise awareness among youth—it has also become a platform for Pakistan’s tech community to deliberate the growth of tech entrepreneurship, the future of digital payments, and how to promote Pakistan’s digital transformation. The commitment and presence of the Government, as well as participation of a wide range of international experts, complements each panel discussion. But it is the enthusiasm and excitement of the youth that gives the event its signature energy and vibrancy.

څوک ښوونځي ته ځي؟ ولايتي لنډيزونه موږ ته د لومړني ښوونځيو د حاضرۍ کچه په ډاګه کوي

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: English
Student in a classroom in Afghanistan.
Students in a classroom in Bamyan Province. Photo Credit: Taimani Films/ World Bank

افغانستان له یو لړ ننګونو لکه بېوزلۍ، نه پرمختګ او نا امنۍ سره لاس او ګرېوان دی. دا د حیرانتیا خبره نه ده، چې تاوتریخوالي او جګړې د هېواد پر اقتصاد او د خلکو پر سوکالۍ ژوره اغېزه کړې ده خو افغانستان د پرمختيا هيله لري لکه تر ۲۰۳۰ پورې په لومړنيو ښوونځيو کې د جنسیت برابري.

د دې لپاره چې ډاډه شو افغانستان خپلو موخو ته رسېږي، مهمه دا ده د هېواد پر ټولنيز او اقتصادي پرمختګ پوه شو.

د افغانستان د اسلامي جمهوریت د اقتصاد وزارت په همکارۍ او د مرکزي احصايې ادارې د اطلاعاتو پر اساس، نړیوال بانک په دې وروستيو کې د ولايتي لنډیزونو درېیمه ګڼه په پښتو او دري دواړو ژبو خپره کړې، چې په ټولنیزو او اقتصادي شاخصونو کې هر اړخیز پرمختګ (د زده کړو په ګډون هم په ملي او هم د ولايتونو په کچه) څرګندوي.

دا څه په ډاګه کوي؟ موږ وینو چې افغانستان د بشري انکشاف په برخه کې په زړه پورې پایلې لري؛ لکه ښوونه او روزنه، روغتيا، او اساسي خدمتونو ته لاسرسی، خو افغانان په ټولیزه توګه دغو پرمختګونو ته، چې په بېلابېلو ولايتونو کې ژوند کوي، مساوي لاسرسی نه لري. په حقیقت کې ټولنيزې او اقتصادي پایلې د افغاني کورنیو پر ژوند ژور اغېز لري.

لنډیزونه ښيي چې نجونې په ځانګړې توګه په لومړني ښوونځي کې د شاملېدو په وخت له ننګونو سره مخ کېږي خو په هغو ځایونو کې، چې هغوی ښوونځي ته ځي، زده کوونکي خوښ وي چې خپلو اهدافو ته رسېږي. د دریچه نور ښوونځي زده کوونکې مسعودې نبي وویل: ((د نجونو او هلکانو تر منځ توپير باید نه وي، زه نه ډارېږم، زه خوشحاله یم، چې ښوونځي ته راغلې يم، زه غواړم، چې یوه انجینره شم.))

له بده مرغه ټولې نجونې د مسعودې په شان ښوونځي ته د تګ فرصت نه لري، موږ په ښوونځي کې د هلکانو او نجونو تر منځ په حاضرۍ کې د لوی توپیر شاهد یو. په افغانستان کې د نجونو او هلکانو د حاضرۍ کچه، د لومړني ښوونځي د ۲۰۰۷ او ۲۰۰۸ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۱ او ۲۰۱۲ کې لوړه شوه خو د ۲۰۱۱ او ۲۰۱۲ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۳ او ۲۰۱۴ کې ټیټه شوه. په منځني ډول په ۲۰۱۳ او ۲۰۱۴ کې د هرو درېیو هلکانو په مقابل کې یوازې دوه افغان نجونې لومړني ښوونځي کې شاملې شوې. لا تر اوسه په لومړنيو ښوونځيو د جندر برابري نه ده رامنځته شوې، په داسې حال کې، چې ډېری نجونې له زده کړو بې برخې دي.

نو پوښتنه دا ده، چې موږ باید د نجونو د زده کړو په برخه کې په کومو ځایونو کې پانګونه وکړو، تر څو د جندر برابرۍ ته ورسېږو؟ د دې ځواب به يوازې په ملي کچه د اطلاعاتو په ورکولو سره کافي نه وي، موږ باید د افغانستان له ولايتونو څخه اطلاعات ولرو، څو وشو کولی په دې برخه کې پرمختګ اندازه کړو.

لنډیز، له ۲۰۰۷ کال راهیسې په هر ولايت کې پرمختګ ښيي، موږ ته اجازه راکوي، چې په لومړني ښوونځي کې د حاضرۍ توپیر له احتماله ارزونه وکړو.

په ډېری ولایتونو کې (۱۸ د ۳۴ څخه) کوم پرمختګ چې موږ له ۲۰۰۷ - ۲۰۰۸ څخه تر ۲۰۱۳ - ۲۰۱۴ کلونو پورې وليد، بسنه نه کوي، څو تر ۲۰۳۰ پورې په لومړنيو ښوونځيو د جنسیت توپیر له منځه یوسو.

که څه هم ځيني ولايتونو شته، چې موږ ته هيله راکوي؛ په دایکنډي او هرات ولایتونو کې د هلکانو په پرتله ډېرې نجونې په ۲۰۱۳- ۲۰۱۴ کلونو کې لومړني ښوونځيو کې شاملې شوې. سربېره پر دې  اووه ولايتونه به په راتلونکو پنځو کلونو کې د هغو د پرمختګ په اوسنۍ کچه به په لومړنیو ښوونځیو کې د جندر برابري ترلاسه کړي.

سرپل کې د ۲۰۰۷- ۲۰۰۸ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۳- ۲۰۱۴ کلونو کې په لومړني ښوونځيو کې د هلکانو د حاضرۍ په نسبت د نجونو په حاضرۍ کې فوق العاده پرمختګ راغی. سرپل کې به په دې کچه پرمختګ وکولی شي د یو کال په موده کې په لومړنیو ښوونځيو کې د جنسیت توپیر له منځه يوسي.

Who goes to school? Here’s what Afghanistan’s Provincial Briefs tell us about primary school attendance

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: پښتو
Student in a classroom in Afghanistan.
Students in a classroom in Bamyan Province. Photo Credit: Taimani Films/ World Bank

Afghanistan grapples with a range of challenges from growing insecurity to stagnating growth and rising levels of poverty. It is no surprise that the impact of the violent conflict on the country’s economic prospects and the welfare of its people is profound. Yet, Afghanistan carries ambitious development goals including achieving gender parity in primary schooling by 2030 among others. To ensure Afghanistan meets its goals, it is important to know how the country has progressed on socio-economic outcomes.  

In collaboration with the Ministry of Economy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and based on data provided by the Central Statistics Organization, the World Bank recently published the third edition of the Provincial Briefs (also available in Dari and Pashto), which provides a comprehensive profile of the most recent progress on a set of socio-economic indicators including education both at the national and at the provincial levels[1].

What do they reveal? We can see Afghanistan has achieved impressive improvements in human development outcomes—in areas such as education, health, and access to basic services. But this overall progress has not benefitted everyone equally and gaps in access between Afghans living in different provinces persist. In fact, where Afghan families live matters greatly for their socio-economic outcomes. And when it comes to schooling, this is no different. Location determines whether children will go to school or not.

The Citizens’ Charter—a Commitment toward Service Delivery across Afghanistan

Ahmad Shaheer Shahriar's picture
Citizens charter launch in presidential palace
Inaguration of the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP) on 25th September, 2016 was attented by the President, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, cabinet ministers, and over 400 representatives from the donor community, international organizations, and Community Development Councils (CDCs) from all 34 provinces of the country. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Will rural communities in Afghanistan be deprived of development services upon the completion of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD)?
What will happen to the Community Development Councils (CDCs) established in rural communities to execute people’s development decisions and priorities?
Will our country continue to witness reconstruction of civic infrastructure?
These were some of the questions that troubled thousands of villagers as the NSP neared its formal closure date - NSP had delivered development services in every province of Afghanistan for 14 years.
To address these questions and allay their concerns, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan formally launched the Citizens’ Charter Program on September 25, 2016 to sustain the uninterrupted development and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Empowering a New Generation of Female Entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

Mabruk Kabir's picture
Photo Credit: Mabruk Kabir / World Bank

Fatima brimmed with optimism. The 19-year-old recently established a poultry enterprise with the support of a micro-grant, and was thrilled at the prospect of financial independence.

“After my family moved from Pakistan, I had few options for work,” she said from her home in the Paghman district in the outskirts of Kabul. “The grant not only allowed me to start my own poultry business, but let me work from my own home.”

With over half the population under the age of 15, Afghanistan stands on the cusp of a demographic dividend. To reach their full potential, Afghanistan’s youth need to be engaged in meaningful work – enabling young people to support themselves, but also contribute to the prosperity of their families and communities.

Aiming high is Pakistan’s way forward

Kristalina Georgieva's picture


The Tarbela dam in Pakistan staddles the Indus River. The earth- and rock-filled structure is almost 500 feet high and 9,000 feet wide
The Tarbela dam in Pakistan staddles the Indus River. The earth- and rock-filled structure is almost 500 feet high and 9,000 feet wide. Credit: World Bank

My visit to Pakistan began last week at the enormous Tarbela dam. Straddling the Indus River, this earth- and rock-filled structure is almost 500 feet high and 9,000 feet wide. It is a monument to Pakistan's scientific and engineering ability. It also illustrates the opportunities and challenges facing Pakistan.

I was last in Pakistan in 2011 and I can see that big changes have happened since then.

The country has worked through three tough years that brought improvements in security and a more stable economy. Much of the economic growth has benefited poor people and Pakistan's levels of inequality compare favourably to many middle-income countries.


World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva's meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva's meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Credit:  Pakistan Prime Minister House

Speaking to leaders in government, political parties, civil society, the private sector and various thought leaders, I sensed an optimism that the country had found its footing and is moving up the ladder of development.

This optimism is good news. But optimism needs to be supported by actions. Pakistan can move to a higher level of economic growth that reaches all parts of society, including the most marginalised, and thus fulfilling the dreams of a better life for all.

Three opportunities and challenges for Pakistan

In my discussions with the government in Pakistan we focused on three areas of opportunity and challenge: the first is higher growth and jobs. The government wants annual economic growth of 6 to 7 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent achieved in fiscal year 2016. But this will only happen if investment doubles to 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Investments in energy, such as Tarbela, to end constant power cuts, as well as improvements in the business environment, so that companies hire more people, will be critical to success. A more favorable environment for private investment would open up opportunities for women, youth, and the underserved.

Employees and Government Ministry Win in Reform Project in Afghanistan

Shahenshah Sherzai's picture
Rumi Consultancy
Students studying at Dunya University, supported by the Public Financial Management Reform Program (PFMR). Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Armed with only a high school certificate, Daoud Shah Noor, 42, started working at the Ministry of Finance in 2012. The sole supporter of his family, he was unable to attend university because of prohibitively high tuition prices. Just four years on, Daoud is studying for his Master’s degree at the Dunya University, where he had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
“Before university I was not professional in my work. Now I am doing the job more professionally and in a better way,” says Daoud, who comes from Parwan Province. Daoud is a beneficiary of the Public Financial Management Reform (PFMR), a project that aims to strengthen public financial management through effective procurement, treasury and audit structures, and high standards of financial monitoring, reporting, and control.

Land records go digital in Punjab, Pakistan

Mary Lisbeth Gonzalez's picture

Pakistan land records

The Government of Punjab started computerization of rural Land Records with the overall objective to improve service delivery and to resolve the overall dispersed nature of land records. The transaction costs were very high for the poor during the old days of patwari system. Women were denied their land rights and the low mobility of land markets contributed to preserving the highly unequal distribution of land and, therefore, opportunities to improve people’s livelihoods.
Before the Land Records Management Information System (LRMIS) was set up, the Board of Revenue (BOR),​Government of Punjab, operated a land record maintenance system which involved several levels of administration: the district, Tehsil, Qanungo circle, and Patwar circle. At the lowest administrative level of the records system – the Patwar Circle – are the Patwaris, who were not only responsible for preparing community maps and issuing land records, but also for many social, political, and administrative tasks. Administrative tasks included keeping weather records, collecting crop harvest information, reporting crimes, and updating the voter registry. Imagine 8,000 Patwaris maintaining the land records – usually very small holdings -- of about 20 million land owners. The Patwaris, who were the custodians of these confidential and important records, kept this information in a cloth bag called Basta.
LRMIS has been performing really well. The Project was rolled out in all 36 districts of Punjab. The Project has successfully tested linkages between the land records system and the deeds registration system. The biggest achievement of the project is that the time required to complete transactions has been reduced from 2 months to 45 minutes. Land record services are now provided on an automated basis throughout all 150 Tehsil Service Centers. There are many contributing factors to the success of the Project: