First-World Solutions Promote Change to New Technology


Karim Khoja’s story, Connecting a Nation: Roshan Brings Communication Services to Afghanistan, is a great description of how someone realized the need for modern technology and how he could help. The story begins with his shocked account “to hear that Afghans …once had to walk 700 miles to place an international call.” We have many modern conveniences available to us within arm’s reach in the United States, this statement brings a realization or urgency in the importance of affecting change. And while his account is that of a Croatian, it brings some authenticity to how people outside of the United States view developing nations.

I found Karim’s story very convincing and engaging. Scholarly journals have a way of removing emotion from the subject; therefore this article gives the reader a personal connection with the experience through Karim’s eyes. The goal of bringing phone service to Afghanistan was to “enhance their quality of life and well-being,” so no one would have to walk 700 miles again. But how can you bring such advanced technology to a place without any infrastructure to launch it? You build it.

Karim also insinuates that, even though this is a new technology, there is a huge demand already. Other regions of Africa like Kenya have user surges once mobile technology is introduced. For example, Safaricom, in Kenya registered over 20,000 users in one month, as well Roshan in Afghanistan with 30,000. This is key because without much introduction, people where just waiting for their turn for this technology. But he asks an important question, “How do you build a world-class network in a country with a limited pool of technical expertise?” This is where the education begins instead of the education telling people what mobile technology is. Bringing this type of technology, where you know it will flourish also brings along economic support in the form of specialized jobs. This helps reinforce the need for education and brings opportunity into the community instead of people leaving for greener pastures. “Over 93 percent of our staff members are Afghan nationals.”

The impact mobile technology has on developing worlds is important in many ways. One because it shows our innate need to communicate with each other, and two it shows that we value others as being inclusive in a global market. According to Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie in M-PESA: Mobile Money for the “Unbanked” Turning Cellphones into 24-Hour Tellers in Kenya, “The market is littered with first-world solutions that have utterly failed in emerging economies,” therefore people are itching to embrace this technology.

  • Connecting a Nation: Roshan Brings Communication Services to Afghanistan, Karim Khoja
  • M-PESA: Mobile Money for the “Unbanked” Turning Cellphones into 24-Hour Tellers in Kenya, Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie
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One thought on “First-World Solutions Promote Change to New Technology

  1. Dear Michelle,

    Thanks for your paper.

    I too was impressed by the Roshan % of Afghani nationals who they employ, and hopeful that along with a larger portion of service-oriented jobs, there were efforts by Roshan to also cultivate more local specialists: technicians, coders, marketing–etc. The extent to which a company can attract local talent, the better. This means a commitment to education and training-and this can take time. Still, it will be time well spent as the roots spread deeper and the products will be relevant to consumer’s lives.

    Cheers,
    Anita

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