Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 4:04 am Post subject: Cell-phone company donates $22,000 to ASCIANA
Roshan donates $22,000 to Asciana
KABUL, May 22 (Pajhwok Afghan News): A private cell phone company has donated $22,000 ASCIANA Centre on Monday.
Altaf Ladak of the Roshan cell phone company handed over cheque for the amount to ASCIANA director engineer Yusuf.
Speaking on the occasion, Ladak urged the need for an enhanced role of the corporate entities in the socio-economic development of the society. He said Roshan was an example of that. Its corporate social responsibilities are guided by altruism and a genuine concern to make a difference for the marginalised groups of the community.
Roshan has a fund-raising programme focused on education of children. Each employee participating in the programme has to sponsor a child in education.
An amount of $11,000 has so far been raised by the employees and an equal amount was contributed by Roshan raising the total fund to $22,000, which is presented to ASCIANA today, he informed.
ASCIANA'S director engineer Yusuf told Pajhwok Afghan News about 4,700 children were getting education at its centre in Kabul. ASCIANA have similar schools in other parts of the country like Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Parwan. He said their aim was to provide informal education to street children.
Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:33 pm Post subject: Roshan donates furniture, stationery to school
Roshan donates furniture, stationery to school
KABUL, July 4 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Private mobile phone company Roshan has donated books and furniture to a school in the Kart-i-Naw area of this central capital on Tuesday. Chief marketing officer of the company Altaf Ladak handed over the goods to the administration of the Shah Shaheed school during a ceremony held here.
Speaking on the occasion, Ladak said aim of the donation was to bring those children back who had left their studies for certain reasons.
He said education was the foremost step in putting the country back on the path to progress and prosperity. He said the youngsters were the future of the country and the company was glad to serve the new generations.
Sharifa, principal of the school, appreciated the assistance extended by the phone company and said the school administration was in need of the furniture and stationery.
She said the school building was mostly destroyed during the civil war and had recently been renovated by the government. Three hundred students, including 100 boys and 200 girls, are presently enrolled in the Shah Shahid school.
Roshan and Mercy Corps Launch TradeNet in Afghanistan
PARWAN, Afghanistan, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Roshan, the leading mobile operator in Afghanistan, in partnership with Mercy Corps today announced the launch of TradeNet, a price information system to provide farmers, input suppliers, traders, wholesalers and retail outlets with access to pricing information through an SMS delivery system. Mercy Corps and Roshan will pilot the project in Parwan, Afghanistan, the first deployment of TradeNet in Asia.
Farmers will now be able to send an SMS from their Roshan phone to the TradeNet platform; the system will then send an SMS back with up to date/current commodity prices. Through the pilot project, farmers in Parwan province will have access to price information on wheat. Once developed further, the project will expand to other provinces and other commodities, with a focus on reaching difficult areas in Afghanistan. The TradeNet service, which launched in 2007, has already been successful with farmers in several countries of West Africa.
Roshan will provide substantial start up funding and technical support; the project will use Roshan's telecommunication network infrastructure, working closely with TradeNet to ensure optimal performance of the system and the delivery of price information.
"We believe that mobile telephony is a catalyst for economic growth and social development. Commerce, the lifeblood of a nation's economy, can only grow as business owners have access to the information needed. Our partnership with TradeNet and Mercy Corps will give farmers in rural areas access to real-time market prices. Subsistence farmers and traders will now be able to secure the best prices possible for their crops," said Altaf Ladak, chief operating officer for Roshan.
"We're really energized by our new partners in Afghanistan and excited about TradeNet's first deployment in Asia," said Sarah Bartlett, BusyLab's Communications Director. "From our experience, successful deployment of TradeNet requires both informed and dedicated partners. With Mercy Corps' strong presence on the ground and Roshan's expertise in local infrastructure, the delivery of timely and relevant market information to the people that need it most is right around the corner."
Mercy Corps, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) will play a key role in rolling out the service in Parwan, using their expertise of market value chains. Mercy Corps will also work with a targeted group of local farmers, to educate them on how best to use the service.
Nigel Pont, Country Director of Mercy Corps Afghanistan said, "Most farmers lack access to accurate price information and do not have the resources to visit markets daily. This service will create a more transparent marketplace by enabling farmers, traders, wholesalers and retail outlets to make more informed decisions about buying and selling agricultural products."
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading telecom operator, with coverage in over 226 cities and towns and 3 million active subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,000 people and provides indirect employment to more than 25,000 people. Since its inception 5 years ago, Roshan has invested over US $375 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and tax payer. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and socio-economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to Afghanistan and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
TradeNet is a mobile-based market information service for traders and producers in emerging economies. Private or public groups can configure portals of information online with TradeNet and organize SMS-based market feeds that are filtered to suit the needs to their recipients, and include weather, offers, prices, transport, forex and contacts. TradeNet is owned by BusyLab Software, based in Accra, Ghana.
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps works amid disaster, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1.5 billion in assistance to people 106 nations. Supported by headquarters in North America and Europe, the agency's global programs employ 3,500 staff worldwide and reach 16.4 million people in more than 35 countries.
For further information, please contact
Public Relations Specialist
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd)
House #13, Main Street, Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul, Afghanistan
Office: +93 (0) 799 97 6813
Mobile: +93 (0) 799 99 6813
Fax: +93 (0) 79 978 800
Babson Hosts Leaders of Afghanistan’s Largest Phone Company
Babson College will present Karim Khoja, CEO, Roshan, and Shainoor Khoja, Director, Corporate Affairs, Roshan, on Monday, April 6, 5:00-6:30 p.m., in Olin Auditorium. Together, they built Roshan into Afghanistan’s largest mobile phone company in an effort to keep a war-torn nation connected as one.
The Lewis Initiative and Babson’s Net Impact are co-sponsoring this presentation as part of The Lewis Initiative Career Speaker Series on Entrepreneurship and Societal Impact. Mark Albion, of Babson’s Lewis Initiative will make the introductions.
Hear their winning business strategy. Learn how they did it with two growing children. At the same time, find out what the career opportunities are in the developing world.
Karim Khoja is CEO of Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading mobile phone company and winner of worldwide acclaim for promoting female employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Karim has served in senior management positions in national and multi-national telecommunications companies for over fifteen years. He has extensive experience in nurturing start-up businesses from infancy through development, and has led several GSM start-up companies into becoming major market players as President and CEO, including being the founding CEO of Mobilink (Pakistan), Director of Marketing, Strategy and Sales for ERA GSM, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board for CROATIAN Telecommunication HT, as well as founding CEO of T-MOBILE, Croatia. Mr. Khoja has also been on the board of directors and in senior positions focusing on sales, marketing and strategy for companies such as Exi Wireless Inc, Spectonics Microsystems Ltd., and RAM Mobile Data Ltd. In January 2003, Mr. Khoja was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer for the Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd, t/a Roshan. Under his leadership, Roshan has grown to be Afghanistan's largest mobile provider and today is the largest company in Afghanistan with over 3 million subscribers. Mr. Khoja is also Chairman of the Board of the Afghan Investment Climate Facility AICF and an advisor to the GSMA Development Fund.
Shainoor Khoja has a BSc in Physiotherapy, an MBA in Health Management, a basic background in Law and several Postgraduate qualifications in Corporate Social Responsibility. Shainoor has successfully operated projects and businesses in four different continents working within diverse cultures, in challenging environments and in multiple languages. For the last four years she has focused on the mobile technology sector setting up a new division within the mobile technology industry in corporate social responsibility from start up to project delivery and operation. The project manages a budget of over $2 Million USD and integrates social development mobile technology projects such as mobile money, village phone models and bottom of the pyramid business strategies. Over the years she has built collaborative relationships with large international agencies and the private sector for joint projects and funding including USAID, Mercy Corps, CISCO, Vodafone, Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi, French Medical Institute for Children and One laptop per child through MIT.
Shainoor continues to develop the programs by researching and creating innovative uses of technology for business expansion and societal benefit in areas such as Telemedicine, transfer of educational content through mobile phones, training programs to build in-country human capacity. She has expanded the program to develop the promotion of strategic tri-sector partnerships, manage partner relationships and direct PR and media efforts. Shainoor is also working with academic institutions such as Harvard and Berkley Haas Business School MBA students assisting their understanding of business in emerging markets.
The Lewis Initiative leverages the Babson Way of entrepreneurial thought and action to address many of the world's most pressing social problems through systemic change. In the fall of 2008, Alan and Harriet Lewis founded the startup of the Initiative with their vision and the second largest gift in the history of the College. For information, visit www3.babson.edu/Lewis.
Shainoor Khoja speaks at Global Health International Conference,
May 26-30, Washington, DC May 28, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Health, Ismaili Muslims in the News, North America, United States.
Plenary 2: Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:15-9:35 am
The eHealth Blueprint: Building the Foundation for Integrated Health Systems
All builders know they are lost without an architect, and all architects realize they are only visionaries without a builder. Building stronger health systems – to increase access, affordability and quality in the most poorly resourced settings – requires both the architect and the builders to come up with a blueprint for success. In eHealth, these roles may be filled by the community health worker and the technology developer….
Shainoor Khoja Director, Corporate Affairs Roshan, Afghanistan
Shainoor Khoja, Director of Corporate Affairs at Roshan, has established an award-winning Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department and a comprehensive medical, dental and physiotherapy clinic with laboratory facilities, vaccination and health promotion units in Kabul, Afghanistan. Roshan’s CSR Department encompasses activities in commerce, health, social welfare and education. The focus is on developing innovative solutions using technology to address the needs of a developing country like Afghanistan. Solutions utilize the power of public-private sector partnerships in an effort to bring together unique expertise to create maximum impact. Examples include an initiative to develop a telemedicine solution to address shortcomings in Afghanistan’s health-care system, working to address transfer of money using mobile money, and using microfinance to create social enterprise for women. Shainoor studied in England, Canada and the United States and holds a Bachelors of Physiotherapy, a Masters in Health Management and Postgraduate Certificates from Cambridge University England and Harvard in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Roshan Announces Expansion of Afghanistan's First Telemedicine Project to Bamyan Region
Roshan Announces Expansion of Afghanistan's First Telemedicine Project to Bamyan Region
Roshan, Cisco, the Government of Afghanistan, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, the French Medical Institute for Children, Aga Khan Health Services and the Bamyan Provincial Hospital Team up to Expand Healthcare Access by Linking Afghan Hospitals to International Medical Institutions
KABUL and BAMYAN, Afghanistan, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Roshan, the leading telecom operator in Afghanistan, today announced the expansion of its first-of-its-kind Telemedicine solution in Afghanistan beyond Kabul to include provincial hospitals. Bamyan Provincial Hospital will be the first provincial medical facility linked to the innovative Telemedicine project, which uses broadband technology, wireless video conferencing and digital image transfer, to provide hospitals in Afghanistan with real-time access to specialist healthcare diagnosis, treatment and training expertise from abroad.
Roshan has teamed with Cisco, the Government of Afghanistan, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi (AKUH), French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), Bamyan Provincial Hospital (BPH) and other technology suppliers to undertake the project. Launched in 2007, the project already links FMIC in Kabul, Afghanistan to AKUH in Karachi, Pakistan, enabling access to a broad array of radiology expertise provided by AKUH. The second phase links BPH to the FMIC, which is being developed as an Afghan center of medical excellence. To date, more than 340 patients have benefitted from Telemedicine and more than 231 Afghan medical personnel have participated in diagnostic and training opportunities facilitated by the technology.
Telemedicine links will be extended to other provincial hospitals and eventually to medical institutions in Europe and North America. The Telemedicine project developed in Afghanistan is also seen as a model for addressing healthcare delivery shortcomings in other developing countries where access to medical diagnosis, treatment and training is limited.
"After the launch and initial success of Telemedicine in Kabul, we are delighted to begin extending Telemedicine links to provincial hospitals in Afghanistan, where the need for access to quality specialist diagnosis and training is even greater," said Karim Khoja, Chief Executive Officer of Roshan. "Telemedicine further demonstrates the power of wireless technology to improve people's lives and expand the healthcare resources available to the people of Afghanistan."
Since 2002, the Aga Khan University has been working with the Government of Afghanistan and donor agencies to strengthen human resource capacity in nursing, medicine and teacher education in Afghanistan. "The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi has been responsible for the management of FMIC that provides high quality health care to the children of Afghanistan. We are proud to work with partners such as Roshan and CISCO to expand telemedicine in Afghanistan that broadens access to high quality health care to those in isolated communities," said Al-Karim Haji, Director General and Chief Financial Officer of AKU.
The Bamyan region in Afghanistan has some of the highest levels of maternal and child mortality in Afghanistan. For every 22,500 births, there are 382 maternal deaths and 3,937 infant deaths. The Bamyan Provincial Hospital was originally established in 2001 and in 2004, the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) assumed management as part of its wider endeavor to improve the living conditions and quality of life for the people of Bamyan. The hospital has since grown from 30 beds to its present capacity of 74 beds. There are an estimated 514,698 people served by the hospital on an annual basis.
Dr. Semira Manaseki-Holland, Regional Chief Executive Officer, AKHS, Central Asia, said, "The extension of the Telemedicine solution to the Bamyan Provincial Hospital is a major step in advancing our healthcare capabilities and access to top-quality specialists. Already, almost 100 patients in our care have benefited from Telemedicine."
His Excellency Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan added, "Our Government is striving to improve the quality of life of our people and providing quality health care is one of our top priorities. This innovative use of technology and telecommunications to enhance healthcare delivery will support our efforts to meet the nation's other development challenges."
Telemedicine involves the use of broadband technology that provides real-time high speed access for the transfer of medical imaging, video, data and voice. Applications include the ability to send real-time X-ray, ultrasound and CAT Scans (Computerized Axial Tomography) for evaluation. The technology also enables e-learning and learning through video conferencing.
The initial service provided is teleradiology, the electronic transmission of radiological patient images. There are currently an average of 40 teleradiology cases evaluated monthly between FMIC and AKUH and ongoing training provided to medical professionals to build capacity. Telemedicine capabilities will gradually be expanded to other rural regions of Afghanistan, to include the use of smart-phone and PDAs, and to address different services and procedures including evaluation of tissue samples and the on-line performance of medical and surgical procedures.
Roshan has spearheaded development of the Telemedicine project from initial conceptualization through implementation through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm and is part of its ongoing commitment to serving as a catalyst for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Over the next three to five years, Roshan will invest $1.5 million in the Telemedicine project. Roshan is part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which is one of nine Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) agencies that address a wide spectrum of development challenges.
Regarding the Telemedicine project, Aly Mawji, Resident Representative for AKDN, said, "The inauguration of Telemedicine services between Bamyan and Kabul is an example of the exciting progress being made in Afghanistan, showing how new innovations are bringing tangible improvement to people's lives. That this inauguration is happening at the same time as the opening of a new operating theatre block at the Bamyan Provincial Hospital and the beginning of the fourth session of the Bamyan community midwifery program bears testimony that progress is possible and is happening in Afghanistan in remote rural areas."
About the Aga Khan Development Network
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of nine international development agencies and institutions which implement programmes in rural development, education, health, culture, microfinance and business. The network, led by its founder, His Highness the Aga Khan, is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender. The AKDN agencies are private and non-denominational, working in some thirty countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading telecom operator, with coverage in over 230 cities and towns and approximately 3.5 million active subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,100 people and provides indirect employment to more than 25,000 people. Since its inception 5 years ago, Roshan has invested almost US $400 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and tax payer. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and socio-economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to Afghanistan and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
About Aga Khan University
AKU was chartered in 1983 as Pakistan's first private university. Its objective is to promote human welfare in general, and the welfare of the people of Pakistan in particular, by disseminating knowledge and providing instruction, training, research and service in the health sciences, education and such other branches of learning as the University may determine. AKU also has programmes in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Syria and Egypt.
About Aga Khan Health Services
The Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of the most comprehensive private not-for-profit health care systems in the developing world, with community health programmes in Central and South Asia and in East Africa. In Afghanistan, the AKHS is assisting the government to develop a national healthcare system by managing and staffing a network of health facilities, providing community health education and by training midwives and other women health professionals. The AKHS is one of nine international agencies and institutions which make up the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender.
About the French Medical Institute for Children
The French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) is a private, non-profit health institution founded in 2005 through a unique public-private partnership between the Governments of Afghanistan and France, a French NGO - La Chaine de L'Espoir/Enfants Afghans and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) through the Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi (AKUH, Karachi) has risen to the challenge to assist in charting the course towards sustainable health care solutions for Afghanistan and advances have been made in both immediate service delivery and long-term policy planning. FMIC has served Afghans from all 34 provinces and has a policy of providing services to all in need regardless of their financial means, race or creed. The French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) has become the only healthcare organization in Afghanistan to meet the standards for the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) 9001:2008 quality management systems.
For further information, please contact:
Senior Public Relations Specialist
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan)
House #13, Main Street, Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan Telecom and Roshan Jointly Announce the Signing of the Agreement to Utilize National Optical Fiber Backbone Ring Network in Afghanistan
KABUL, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Afghan Telecom (AT) Afghanistan's first long distance domestic private leased circuit (DPLC) and international private leased circuit (IPLC) provider through Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), today announced a significant agreement with Roshan to sell the transmission capacity of its National OFC Backbone Ring Network. The OFC, constructed by AT, will complement Roshan's existing infrastructure, enabling Roshan to ensure the redundancy of its network and provide additional capacity for its growing number of subscribers. AT and Roshan intend to expand the areas of their partnership in the coming months as the OFC is extended throughout Afghanistan and connected to any part of the world through its international connectivity to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and AT commenced the construction of the OFC Backbone Project in April 2007. When completed, the OFC will revolutionize telecommunications services in Afghanistan, bringing high speed and high capacity telephony, internet and video services to cover 68 cities in 17 provinces of the country. The OFC project will not only improve telecommunications infrastructure in Afghanistan with provision of world class high speed voice and Internet services to rural areas, but will also generate significant direct and indirect employment in the country.
"This is an important milestone for the development of Afghanistan and the telecommunications industry. We are extremely pleased that Roshan is the first GSM operator to be entering into a commercial partnership with Afghan Telecom for fiber capacity," said His Excellency Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
Roshan is the first GSM operator in Afghanistan to utilize the OFC. The OFC will enable Roshan to better serve its growing subscriber base, which today includes 3.5 million subscribers across Afghanistan's 34 provinces. AT under its social obligation will ensure that OFC capacity and bandwidth is also available to other companies and organizations operating in Afghanistan.
"We declared our interest in, and support for, the OFC project over four years ago and we are proud to be able to express our long term commitment to Afghanistan by being Afghan Telecom's first major anchor tenant. We believe that this project can have a significant impact on the information and telecommunications sector in Afghanistan, ensuring the availability of competitively priced capacity and infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the industry. We look forward to strengthening our relationship and cooperation with AT in the years to come," said Karim Khoja, chief executive officer, Roshan.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading telecommunications provider, with coverage in over 230 cities and towns and approximately 3.5 million active subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,100 people and provides indirect employment to more than 25,000 people. Since its inception 5 years ago, Roshan has invested almost US $400 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and tax payer. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and socio-economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to Afghanistan and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
About Afghan Telecom
* Afghan Telecom (AT) is the first company in Afghanistan under Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to implement a nationwide OFC network project with international connectivity. The OFC project is designed to construct a fiber optic backbone linking the main road system in the country and cover the main ring from Kabul - Kandahar - Herat - Mazar - Kabul. Other major cities like Kunduz, Ghazni, Pul-e-Khumri and Charikar are already connected.
* OFC project will also benefits various ministries, universities, Internet Service Providers, GSM operators, the Afghan National Army, the Ministry of Interior, ISAF, Banks, and NGOs for efficient e-governance, e-Commerce, distance learning, etc.
* Afghan Telecom signed agreements with telecom operators in neighboring countries and many international carriers to cater high capacity IPLC requirements on the OFC of Afghanistan to any part of the globe.
In Afghanistan, going where no bank has gone before
by Chris Bold:
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Today we welcome Chris Bold as a new blogger for CGAP. Recently, Chris joined CGAP’s Technology Team on leave from the UK Department for International Development where he worked in their Financial Sector Team and, for the last year and a half, was based in Kabul managing DFID’s private sector development programs in Afghanistan. Chris will be providing additional support to CGAP’s portfolio of projects and exploring how large flows of money such as government payments and remittances can be harnessed to bring financial services to the unbanked.
It’s hard to think of a tougher environment in which to test the potential of mobile banking than Afghanistan. With a population of 30 million people, 36% of whom live below the government defined poverty line and 74% of whom are illiterate; Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world outside Africa. But bringing banking services to Afghanistan is exactly the challenge that Roshan, an MNO majority owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, is taking on. We met with Zahir Khoja, Roshan’s Executive Director for M-Paisa, on a recent visit to Afghanistan to discuss the roll-out.
Roshan is using the same platform on which Safaricom built its now famous M-PESA service in Kenya. The product is branded M-Paisa in Afghanistan and was initially piloted to provide microloan disbursement and repayments for MFIs as well as a person-to-person money transfers. Today, the service has expanded to include salary disbursement, airtime purchase and bill payment.
After a difficult soft-launch in February 2008, which faced a number of challenges with the agent network and in creating awareness among potential customers, the service is now available in major towns and cities across Afghanistan. Interactive voice recognition services are being developed in three languages: Dari, Pashto and English to ensure that illiteracy is not a barrier to its use.
Over the last six months Roshan has experimented with using the service to pay the salaries of its own staff as well as a trial with around 50 members of the Afghan National Police in Wardak province. Zahir explained how the system works: “The officers in Wardak now visit an authorized M-Paisa agent to withdraw their salary or can immediately send it to their families using their mobile phone.”
The trial was a success, despite having to overcome some initial challenges such as a police commander who wanted the service shut down as he was no longer receiving his usual cut of the salaries. The police officers were initially surprised at how large the payments were when they received their full salary, which was a third higher than what they were used to receiving.
The trial in Afghanistan is on too small a scale to draw conclusions about whether salary payment over mobile is a viable strategy for building a branchless banking business, but it is an attractive business model and it will be interesting to see if it takes off. Roshan plans to continue to scale up salary disbursements to the Afghan National Police and offer the same service to the Afghan National Army in the coming year.
In a country like Afghanistan there may be good reasons to follow this strategy: commissions can be earned off a regular flow of payments that are guaranteed by the government rather than relying on irregular person-to-person transfers and given the government’s involvement in the program it may be less likely to run into the regulatory quagmire that has confounded operators in so many other markets. The idea of using Government to person (G2P) payments as a platform for expanding access to financial services is further explored in CGAP’s latest Focus Note: Banking the Poor via G2P Payments.
Last Updated: May 17. 2010 8:01PM UAE / May 17. 2010 4:01PM GMT Roshan, the largest telecommunications operator in Afghanistan, plans to spend more than US$60 million (Dh220.3m) next year to expand its mobile presence and build a high-speed wireless internet service across the war-torn country.
The investment is planned to boost the operator’s subscription base to 5 million users from 3.8 million, and to provide the first steps in creating a reliable internet service in Afghanistan, said Karim Khoja, the chief executive of Roshan.
Mr Khoja said the operator would try to build a fibre-optic network across 20 cities in Afghanistan to increase its coverage across rural areas despite the continuing conflict.
“Our focus is on return on investment,” he said on the sidelines of a telecoms conference yesterday. “Before, we knew that there was a market that was going to grow but now we have to ask ourselves what kind of return on investment we get from everything we do.”
The operator’s largest shareholder is the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development with a 51 per cent stake, while Monaco Telecom International and TeliaSonera hold the remaining stakes.
After starting operations in 2003, Roshan spent about $450m building its mobile and internet infrastructure and now covers 60 per cent of Afghanistan.
But building a telecoms company in one of the world’s most dangerous countries remains fraught with risk.
Despite the company’s socially responsible initiatives, such as building playgrounds and providing 50,000 free meals a day to children, threats of attack on Roshan’s infrastructure by the Taliban insurgency result in about 100 mobile tower stations being temporarily switched off each night.
Mr Khoja told of how Roshan started operations in the village of Bamiyan to illustrate its unique way of doing business in Afghanistan.
After beginning a mobile network in the village, farmers reopened a bazaar in that region, which in turn helped to open a medical centre, midwifery clinic and ultimately a hotel that attracted tourists.
“We’re inherently a development agency,” Mr Khoja said. “I can go to my board and say this base station will break even in five years and, by the way, will also bring in all these economic values to the population.”
But progress to move the Afghani telecoms market in line with the rest of the region’s capability remains slow, Mr Khoja said.
Plans to build a 3G network in Afghanistan remain stalled as not enough Afghanis can afford a mobile device capable of using the network.
“We don’t want to pay that much for a set of frequencies that will not provide return on investment,” Mr Khoja said.
Roshan Community is the dedicated corporate social responsibility arm of Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider. Roshan Community aims to be a driver in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, investing in programs for children, women and communities to build human potential and capacity. Since beginning operations, Roshan Community has supported a wide range of programs including building schools, playgrounds and wells, helping women set-up their own businesses, sponsoring soup kitchens and supporting a Telemedicine project. Roshan’s commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan is an integral part of the company’s business mission. In line with the philosophy of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Roshan seeks to demonstrate the role business can play in transforming society. By leveraging its expertise and partnering with like-minded businesses and organizations, Roshan Community works to strengthen and enhance the work of government and civil society to maximize impact and make a difference
Roshan and USG Partners Launch Malomat, National Commodity Information System in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Roshan, Afghanistan's leading telecommunications provider, in partnership with USAID's Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives--North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) and the Global Development Alliance (GDA) for Strengthening Grape and Pomegranate Market Chains, today announced the launch of Malomat.
Malomat is a national price information system providing farmers, input suppliers, traders, wholesalers and other stakeholders, access to commodity information in 11 provincial wholesale markets using mobile phones with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology and Short Message Service (SMS). Once developed further, the project will expand to other provinces and incorporate additional commodities, with a focus on reaching rural communities in remote areas of the country.
"Malomat provides farmers with access to real-time market prices, helping to ensure that farmers are able to secure the highest value possible for their crops while promoting commerce, the lifeblood of the nation's economy. Mobile technology is playing a significant role in enabling marginalized communities to engage in everyday commerce as a vehicle for sustainable growth. Services such as Malomat demonstrate Roshan's commitment to socio-economic development by leveraging its technology, human capital and emerging market expertise to bring innovative services and products to Afghanistan," said Karim Khoja, chief executive officer of Roshan.
The system gives anyone the ability to access price information for 25 commodities, either by calling and following IVR prompts, or by sending a SMS through the Roshan system. A total of 500 farmers and traders are participating in a pilot roll-out of the system in five provinces.
Prices are updated daily for 25 commodities, including wheat, rice, cashmere, numerous fruits such as almonds and pomegranates, several types of vegetables, fertilizer, live chickens and eggs. The cost of using the system is the same as sending a SMS, or calling a Roshan number.
The Malomat initiative builds on two existing projects: one between GDA and Roshan (Trade Net), and another run by USAID's IDEA-NEW project. The new system combines lessons learned from both projects, and capitalizes on the strengths of each. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has also provided ongoing guidance and technical support to Malomat.
The commodity information is primarily envisioned as a tool for farmers to gain bargaining power at the farm gate, but will also give price visibility to traders, NGOs and others interested in following market price trends in Afghanistan. The system has the flexibility to add new commodities as demand warrants.
To find out the price of 25 commodities in the 11 markets (10 in Afghanistan and one in Peshawar, Pakistan), call +93 0797 000 700 and follow the voice prompts.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading telecommunications provider, with coverage in over 230 cities and towns and approximately 3.8 million active subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,100 people and provides indirect employment to more than 30,000 people. Since its inception seven years ago, Roshan has invested over $450 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and tax payer. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and socio-economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives in building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to Afghanistan and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
About Global Development Alliance
Mercy Corps is implementing the three-year, USAID-funded GDA program that is increasing capacity, jobs, sales and production along the grape and pomegranate value chains in central and southern Afghanistan. Mercy Corps has been working in Afghanistan since 1986 partnering with communities to implement a wide range of relief and development activities. For more information, see mercycorps.org.
IDEA-NEW is a five-year, USAID-funded initiative that provides agricultural incentives and economic alternatives that strengthen rural economies, increasing jobs and sales across the northern, eastern and western regions of Afghanistan. Please see www.ideanew.af for more information.
Roshan Taps Into Twitter, Increasing Afghanistan's Voice 140 Characters at a Time, in Global Social Networking Community
Press Release Source: Roshan On Thursday January 6, 2011, 9:55 am EST
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Roshan, Afghanistan's leading telecommunications provider, today announced that it is the first Afghan mobile operator to provide customers with direct access to Twitter, using SMS through their mobile phones. The addition of Twitter to Roshan's current social network service offerings will connect Afghans with Twitter's more than 175 million registered accounts worldwide.
With Twitter SMS, Roshan customers can now use their Twitter accounts on the go, to send and receive real time updates, known as "tweets," from other users of the service, giving them the ability to talk, share ideas, and reach out beyond Afghanistan.
"With the recent addition of Twitter service, Roshan continues not only to connect Afghans with their friends and loved ones, but is also expanding Afghanistan's voice in the global social networking community," said Altaf Ladak, chief operating officer. "Afghanistan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has found that half of Afghan Internet users utilize social networking sites. Now, they can do so from the convenience of their mobile phone wherever they are."
The introduction of Twitter service to Roshan's customers is primarily Targeted at the youth market, a demographic worldwide that is most heavily engaged with social networking and composes 60 percent of Afghanistan's population. Broadening access to Twitter through mobile phones will also provide Afghan businesses with increased opportunities to reach this audience.
Twitter is not the first service to which Roshan has introduced its mobile customers. The company was also the first telecom provider in Afghanistan to offer mobile access to Facebook, and hi5, and was the first company in Afghanistan to offer BlackBerry services.
To access Twitter, customers can simply add their phone to their Twitter account by sending an SMS with "START" to 40404; then they can send and receive "tweets" from Twitter. In order to open up a Twitter account, customers can visit: www.twitter.com/signup.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading telecommunications provider, with coverage in over 230 cities and towns and over 4.2 million active subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,100 people and provides indirect employment to more than 30,000 people. Since its inception seven years ago, Roshan has invested approximately $450 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and tax payer. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and socio-economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to Afghanistan and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
KABUL, Afghanistan (Jan. 16, 2011) -- A new, first of its kind, youth sports center opened today during an offical ceremony held in its gymnasium. The center will serve 800 teenagers and children, male and female, in the Kabul area. The Youth Sports & Social Development Center was sponsored and constructed by Roshan Community, in partnership with His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Afghanistan, who will operate the center.
"This contribution will result in a more educated, socially aware, emotionally intelligent and empowered community, helping to build a stronger Afghanistan," said Shair Baz Hakemy, President, His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Islamii Council for Afghanistan.
New sport facility in Kabul cultivates the spirit of the youth
Also see the photo gallery of the opening of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center.
Roshan CEO Karim Khoja presents the plaque marking the opening of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center to Ismaili Council for Afghanistan President Shair Baz Hakemy in the presence of AKDN Resident Representative Aly Mawji. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
The Ismaili youth of Afghanistan have a new place where they can play, learn and socialise. The two-storey Youth, Sports and Social Development Center in Kabul, opened its doors on 16 December 2010.
The product of a partnership between the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan and Roshan Community (the social responsibility arm of the nation’s leading telecommunications provider), the centre is among the first of its kind in the country. The facility will house sports tournaments, classes, seminars and conferences for the physical, intellectual and social development of the youth. It will also provide practice space for the three most popular indoor sports — wrestling, taekwondo and boxing, in addition to indoor football (soccer), volleyball, ping-pong and basketball. A major differentiator from other facilities in Kabul is the partitioned area on the second floor reserved especially for girls and women.
Female athletes participating in the opening ceremony of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center. The facility offers a partitioned area on the second floor reserved especially for girls and women. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
“It is so amazing that we girls get a place of our own,” remarked a female member of the Youth and Sports Committee. “We can pursue our passions and interests, but more importantly, all of the activities here are going to empower our young girls.” The private space ensures their ability to pursue their physical development, health and sports interests in a secure and dignified environment, while at the same time respecting the cultural values of the community.
The inauguration of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center drew over 550 attendees, including government officials, representatives of the AKDN institutions, the leadership of the Ismaili community, and others from other civil society and development organisations. Upon their arrival, guests were welcomed by Ismaili youth volunteers, who lined the walkway dressed in elegant blue blazers and red and green ties.
“The spirit of volunteerism within the community is astounding,” noted one expatriate worker, who was impressed at seeing “all of these young men and women giving their time and behaving with such discipline.”
The entrance to the vividly-coloured building gives way to a multi-use court lined with pillars. More than 100 male and female volunteers stood alongside the pillars, surrounding some 600 chairs reserved for guests. Red Persian-style carpets covered the walkways and a stage was set up at the front of the hall. But the most stunning sight was above: over 200 uniformed athletes lined the second-floor wrap-around balcony.
Footballers make their entrance at the opening ceremony of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center in Kabul. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
Overjoyed at the occasion, one athlete exclaimed: “I can’t wait for the first sports tournament. It will give us the chance to showcase our talent and really develop our skills.”
There are high expectations for the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center. It is seen as an important step towards fulfilling an obligation towards younger generations. The Ismaili Council regards it a keystone in cultivating the human spirit — through sports, the arts and education — and hopes it will empower the youth to become citizens, role models and leaders of society who can contribute toward a vision of a safe and prosperous Afghanistan.
A bird’s-eye view of the opening ceremony of the Youth, Sports and Social Development Center in Kabul. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
Last edited by kmaherali on Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total
Positive comments about working with Roshan by University of Toronto Rotman MBA student
[Rotman] What country starts with "A", but doesn't end with "A"?
[Rotman Series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Arash is a old friend of mine back from my McMaster Engineering days. After pursuing his Masters of Engineering, he decided to come to Rotman to do his MBA and will be joining Booz & Co in the Middle East when he is finished here. We also went on the Latin America Study tour together in May of last year.
During my visit on the Middle East study tour, we visited the Aga Khan foundation. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. AKDN agencies conduct their programmes without regard to faith, origin or gender.
One of their impressive projects was their work with Roshan, a unique telephone company that performed to the same standards of private enterprise with regards to profit generation, but also imposed high standards to their relationships with governments regarding transparancy. Arash had the opportunity to work with Roshan this recent summer and he's written a post about the experience which follows:
Little did I know what adventures awaited me upon starting my MBA at Rotman. Of course it would open new doors and new opportunities, but where exactly was still to be determined. However, I knew that I would have preferred an international experience, as a result of which I also signed up for the Latin America study tour for which we visited Brazil and Argentina. When summer recruiting came around, I applied to both domestic and international opportunities. Of the postings that came up, the one that stood out the most was the one by Roshan Telecom in Afghanistan. Having been born in Afghanistan, I jumped at this opportunity to go to back and work there. I was very young when I left Afghanistan so I never actually got to see the country, so this opportunity was ideal – international work experience in an extremely challenging work environment and the ability to see the country and my extended family.
Naturally, working there was not easy, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. The challenges were numerous – adapting to the local work culture, working with expats colleagues from 20+ countries, and learning about the telecom sector as well as the market in Afghanistan. Imagine doing business in a country where there is little to no rule of law, very little regulations and a largely illiterate population. In addition to this, security restrictions were extremely tight and violations were swiftly dealt with (one intern was sent home for breaking curfew rules). However, these restrictions were definitely necessary – while I was working there, there were numerous incidents in Kabul, including a suicide bombing, roadside bombing, rocket attack on the airport, riots and street fighting. The challenge was to try to reduce the possibility of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and really, the wrong place could be anywhere, and the wrong time could be any time. Despite this, I did managed to connect with relatives there (they had seen me when I was born but I never met them), and made visits to a couple historic sites in Kabul as well as Herat. It was definitely interesting to see some of the places that my parents saw when they grew up, although things now were radically different. Over the last 30 years of war, the population of Kabul swelled from 400,000 to over 4 million and you could definitely feel it.
My project at the company was as interesting as it was challenging. I had no background in the telecom sector. More specifically, I was looking into a type of fraud that occurs in the sector, which made matters even more complex. My project was to analyze internal detection and treatment mechanisms as well as to come up with potential strategies for preventing this fraud from taking place. After spending days learning about this problem and gathering data, I spent the following weeks working on analyzing the information to develop actionable strategies that could be used to reduce the impact this fraud had on the company. I found it extremely interesting, and I found several areas of improvement that could positively impact the company by improving their fraud strategy.
After work we were shuttled back from the office in downtown Kabul to our guesthouse just on the outskirts of the city. Life was actually less complicated there than it is here – we had room service that cleaned our room every day, we had laundry service and buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. I absolutely loved the fruits there – the best grapes and cantaloupes I have ever had in my entire life. After dinner people hung out in their rooms or relaxed out in the courtyard, watched the Indians/Pakistanis play cricket, worked out, played basketball or played pool. All in all, not a bad life, if it weren’t for the volatility of the country.
Overall, it was a fantastic opportunity to work in a challenging environment and with an interesting company. I never thought that coming to Rotman would have enabled me to work in Afghanistan, but it did, and I am definitely grateful for that. In addition to this, the study tour was definitely very interesting and also helped solidify my interest in working abroad. Moving forward, I will be working full-time for a top tier management consulting firm in the middle-east, an opportunity which also came about through Rotman. Not only did my MBA at Rotman open new doors for me, but it opened up the entire world to me – the world truly is my oyster.
ABU DHABI: Afghan telecoms group Roshan plans to invest up to $100 million in its home market this year and expects subscriber numbers to grow to 5.75 million as it expands into new areas.
Chief Executive Karim Khoja also said the company planned to offer third-generation (3G) services in the war-battered country and the roll-out was expected to start in the next six to 12 months.
“We invest between $50 to $100 million annually and we will invest from retained earnings,” Khoja said in an interview at a telecoms conference in Abu Dhabi.
“We have sufficient cash flow now.”
The telecom company — 51 percent owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, 36.75 percent by Cable & Wireless Communications and 12.25 percent by Swedish group TeliaSonera — is profitable, he said.
Roshan’s subscriber base in the year ended March 2011 stood at 5 million and it is the top-ranked mobile operator in Afghanistan with a market share of 38 percent, he said. Rivals include UAE operator Etisalat and South Africa’s MTN.
“Our subscribers are growing by an average 150,000 a month and our net active subscribers is expected to grow to 5.5 to 5.75 million by end of this year,” said Khoja.
Roshan also operates in Tajakistan, commanding a 35 percent market share with 1.5 million subscribers, he said. It has also invested in an undersea cable from Egypt to South Africa.
Afghanistan has a population of 30 million but the telephone penetration is only 35 percent.
“There is still a huge potential for us and we are working to increase our market share,” he said.
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