Participants of the Digital Youth Summit left the city’s Shiraz Arena fully charged and motivated to make Khyber-Paktunkhwa (K-P) an information technology (IT) hub.
K-P’s Information Technology Board (KPITB) and Peshawar 2.0, in collaboration with the World Bank (WB), successfully concluded the two-day technology expo and conference on Thursday.
After 28 sessions, in which 66 speakers from across the country and abroad spoke to hundreds of young techies and potential digital media entrepreneurs, organisers are confident that participants left feeling inspired and motivated to start their own businesses.
“Sell your turban, pakol (Chitrali hat), khushq mewa (dried fruit), chappals (shoes) to the world. They love it, and are waiting for it,” said Umar Bangash of tossdown.com, an international online portal for restaurants. Bangash spoke at one of the popular panels promoting e-commerce.
“Do not compare Peshawar to the Silicon Valley. Just do things according to your environment and culture,” he added. Bangash, like many other panellists, believes in K-P’s huge potential for e-commerce. While speaking on Wednesday, Cecilia Guildfold of World Bank said it could be a $5 billion market by 2018.
Saad Rizwan, who engages in e-commerce in the region, said the market has huge potential, but young people were in need of mentorship to help them think innovatively.
‘Social media and democracy’ was also a popular session. Dr Awab Alvi, the man behind Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) social media campaign, said the party’s success in mobilising votes through social media proved it was a powerful tool in political campaigns.
At the event, chairman of KPITB said the board is going to organise a software competition, in which 12 students will be selected for IT fellowships.
He added the board is also collaborating with universities across the province to establish incubation centres to facilitate innovative projects by students. A summit will be arranged in October this year focusing on such centres.
Minister for Information Technology and Health Sharam Khan Tarakai said K-P is now ready for a technological revolution, adding the digitisation of the health department was under way which will improve the delivery of healthcare across the province.
“Our objectives are to train and equip the youth with modern technology for a better tomorrow,” said Tarakai.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2014.