Afghanistan's Next...

Afghanistan's Next Mobile Entrepreneur

Since 2001, the ICT sector in Afghanistan has flourished, with over 12 million mobile phone users, four private mobile companies and one state-owned company in operation. In addition, private investments in telecommunications have exceeded US1.6 billion, providing a strong foundation for the development of a mobile applications economy in the country. 

infoDev recently set out to assess the feasibility of creating and supporting a mobile apps incubator in Afghanistan, much like the ones currently existing in Africa, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.  As our very own Anushka Thewarapperuma wrote in her blog post on the World Bank Private Sector Development blog, The Next Afghan Mobile Entrepreneur, the challenge with undertaking any kind of feasibility study is absorbing all the diverse factors that make up a country, the technical environment, major ICT players, the regulatory environment, level of human capital, enablers for business skills and finance, and critically assessing if the right ecosystem is in place for implementation.  

In Afghanistan, most of the technical pillars are in place to cultivate a strong mobile app economy, including invested government support for the promotion and expansion of mobile communications. However, the precarious security situation and limited human capacity complicate the environment’s full realization. infoDev has taken all these factors into account and gauged that in order for an app economy to flourish, increased awareness, relevant skills and access to practical experience in the mobile industry are a top priority.   In addition, localized tools for developers, and an alternative application distribution mechanism enabling access to a greater market and capacity to bill services, will further benefit entrepreneurs in the country.

Afghanistan’s ICT sector has made tremendous strides in the past 12 years, and can continue to for years to come, impacting the country’s overall economy, as well as providing a platform from which to battle social issues and security concerns.

To find out more about the study and its initial findings check out Anushka’s Blog, The Next Afghan Mobile Entrepreneur, and weigh in with your thoughts. 

Highlight Photo Credit: USAID, Flickr Creative Commons

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