KABUL CITY – Ten young men are engrossed on their screens, the blue light from their screens lends an eerie haze to the room. They are hard at work at MSoft Technologies, a newly established Afghan Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company in Kabul city. Tasked with developing different programs and software for a whole range of clients, domestic as well as international.
The blue calm is punctuated by typing and the occasional client call. In the far corner of the room sits Ahmad Shah Mohammadi, 29, one of the men responsible for setting up MSoft Technologies. “When I graduated from university in 2014, I and three of my classmates had an idea to establish our own company, but at that time it was just a dream for us,” says Ahmad Shah. “I now run my own company.”
MSoft Technologies is one of 22 companies that have received support from the Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project under the Ministry of Communication, Information and Technology (MoCIT). The project trains young Afghans on all aspects of ICT business management. The target beneficiary pool is Afghan youth who want to deepen their knowledge of ICT and who are interested in setting up IT companies. “We received training on business planning, management system, administration, and marketing, which enabled us to run our own private IT company,” says Ahmad Shah. His company joins a market that is developing, with a whole range of IT start-ups coming up in Kabul.
Ahmad Shah’s company provides a range of services to over 300 national and international organizations across Afghanistan from different sectors, including government, education, health, corporations, nongovernmental organizations, societies, unions, and banks. “We have developed different programs and software, like financial management systems, archives data management, human resource systems, invitation and visa processing systems, to name a few. We also work on website and branding graphics,” he says.
Ahmad Shah started his company with a small team of four young men. With training and business management support from the project, they were able to expand and hire more people. “If I think about my past, I was searching for a job and struggling in 2014. With support from the MoCIT project, I am now creating jobs in my own company. This is a big achievement for me and my country,” Ahmad Shah says.
The main objectives for the ICT Sector Development 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. The project is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.