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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.

Today, more than 60 percent of the population of Pakistan is under the age of 30. Young men and women stand to gain significantly from global opportunities. We need to invest more in their skills and mold their ideas into new products, services, and successful businesses that will benefit us all. The productive engagement, empowerment, and inclusion of these young people will be critical to bringing Pakistan to its full development potential. We need to create the right environment, or what we call the “ecosystem”, to enable this to happen.

The city of Peshawar, and much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, face many challenges in economic and security areas. But in these challenges there are also opportunities. The key to unlocking these opportunities is through connecting Pakistan’s youth to a global and networked economy. In this dynamic and globalized world, the youth of even the most far flung areas of KP will increasingly have an opportunity to work, to make money, and to innovate through virtual connections. Examples of this are already happening. Let’s listen, encourage, and support this even more to create a wave of positive change.

KP has the potential to become a hub of technological innovation for a brighter, more prosperous future. To make this happen we will need to invest more in young men and women through improving training and skills. Let’s continue to create an environment that embraces technology and encourages entrepreneurship. Let’s make it easier for entrepreneurs, both men and women, to be able to connect with one another and the world. For young people, it will be important to never lose sight of their goals and to never give up; to value learning and make the most of all opportunities.

Pakistan youth can be the future they want to see.

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