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Tech Entrepreneurship Is Booming In Afghanistan: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Innovation | November 14, 2012

Tech Entrepreneurship Is Booming In Afghanistan: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"The development of private enterprise is an important stabilizing force, particularly in postconflict countries plagued by political instability and civil unrest," writes Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. "Despite the bleak news often reported from [Afghanistan]—from insurgency to rampant corruption—a number of Afghans are choosing to fight for peace and stabilization by creating jobs and generating growth." Entrepreneurship, she explains, has become a major driving force behind economic growth and stabilization in a country that is, "plagued by political instability and civil unrest." In a new blog posting for the Council on Foreign Relations, Lemmon writes about the budding entrepreneurial culture in the country and how technology is propelling the movement forward. While only 3 to 10 per cent of the population has Internet access, she explains that people have turned to the digital realm to help bring jobs to Afghans. Further, focusing on tech-related ventures helps to bring knowledge and literacy so citizens can be more informed and make better choices.

Women, she notes, are also playing a major role in the movement—despite experiencing deeply ingrained societal disapproval. Lemmon explored the relationship between women and work thoroughly in her book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. In her talks, she cites women as being the unsung heroes of emerging markets. Even in these conflict-ridden countries, entrepreneurship and innovation is blossoming, and she says the West has much to learn from the positive growth taking place in these countries. Lemmon is the Contributing Editor-At-Large for Newsweek Magazine and The Daily Beast and the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations' Women and Foreign Policy program.
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