Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) seems like an unlikely place for a tech revolution. This northern province of Pakistan has faced a myriad of challenges over the last decades with regards to security, governance, and limited opportunities. Young people are especially affected by this instability, as limited economic and employment opportunities stifle their transitions into adulthood.
Around 53 million Pakistanis are under the age of 30, (60 percent of the population), and these young people present a unique opportunity to unlock potential growth and development through social and economic inclusion of its youth. The tech sector is one area of increasing possibilities, both to generate employment and to harness the creativity of young people to develop tech driven solutions for common business, social, civic and political challenges.
The great thing about technology is that it transcends geography. Global connectivity and a growing digital economy mean that KP’s youth can connect to jobs available online. And a greater number of free courses and online training means budding entrepreneurs can be found just about anywhere.
In 2013, the Government of KP, in partnership with the World Bank, devised a strategy to focus on linking its youth with global employment opportunities and to promote the empowerment of tech entrepreneurs. Two years later, Peshawar is emerging as one of Pakistan’s tech hubs and its image and the image of local youth is changing.