Saving Afghanistan: 20 Transformational Initiatives to Create One Million Jobs
By Sayed Aziz Azimi
March 3, 2015
Despite the steady stream of alarming news from Afghanistan concerning its stability and security, the biggest threat to the country is not the Taliban, al Qaeda, or Islamic fundamentalists. The greatest failure not only of the many nations that have been assisting Afghanistan in recent years but of the Afghan government itself is their failure to address the greatest problem in the country, and the greatest threat to its security: unemployment. One can argue that the single most important indicator of the success or failure of the new Afghan government will be its ability to reduce significantly the number of unemployed on the streets of major cities in that country.
The attached paper presents a set of 20 transformational initiatives that impact various aspects of Afghan society. This list is by no means an exhaustive list of all the opportunities available to the government, but all the initiatives discussed here can be turned into specific actions plans funded by international donors and private investors, and performed by private businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and even local volunteer groups. The intent of this paper is to start a conversation about possible objectives and goals that can be accomplished in a reasonably short time, while avoiding the national, regional, and international political minefields that will require much more time to resolve. Although the initiatives presented in this paper are all discussed with reference to Afghanistan, they can easily be applied in or adapted to other third-world countries suffering from similar problems and conditions. Ideally, the discussion started by this study will grow into a global conversation about improving employment, prosperity, and the quality of life.
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Sayed Aziz Azimi is founder and chief executive officer of Technologists, Inc. (Ti), an international engineering and management consulting firm that works primarily in developing countries to build infrastructure, improve governance, and increase human capacity.