Afghan youth embrace online work opportunities in growing trend

KABUL (SW) – While most of Afghanistan’s young workforce struggles with unemployment, some have turned to online work in recent years to create a viable source of income.

Salam Watandar interviewed 15 young individuals in Kabul city who have turned to online work. These youths express that online work presents a promising opportunity for people, allowing merchants to generate higher income with minimal time and capital investment.

Hamed, a resident of Kabul engaged in stock market trading for a year, attributes his shift towards online work to the advertising of online jobs on social networks and its profitability.

He adds, “I am involved in online trading. I have also gained knowledge in areas like Amazon, which means commerce. Trading in stock markets, digital sectors like Forex trading, I started with little capital and though I may not be a millionaire now, I have grown enough to not need physical labor.”

Tabasom Hamdard, selling her handcrafted clothes online, and Ahmad Wali Rahimi, an employee at Amazon, believe that online work can lead to financial independence sooner.

Tabasom, who lost her job after the collapse of the republic, turned to the online job market to avoid unemployment. She says: “One of the reasons I turned to online work was to not accept defeat after the fall of the republic and the continued prohibition of women from jobs. I started with a less capital; but now it has increased and the good thing about it is that we can work anywhere. Most of my activity is in the marketing and selling of clothes sewn by myself.”

Ahmad Wali, who also lost his job, started online business activities a year ago. “Initially, I was attracted to online business due to its ease and the vast opportunities it offers,” he says. “In the beginning, I started with 1000 dollars and with our day and night efforts, our capital has reached 15,000 dollars. I am still working at Amazon, Amazon Business. It is a great job and I am happy.”

Those engaged in online work say it allows them to easily connect with various sectors in the global village and benefit from them. However, they mention slow internet speeds and poor quality of online services in Afghanistan as major challenges.

Wahida Temuri, a marketer of hygiene products, urges the de-facto government to encourage and support youth in this sector to improve the online job market in Afghanistan. “The main problem in our country is the Internet, which does not work properly, and in order to solve the challenges, we want the cooperation of the authorities and the government so that we can work properly,” she added.

Economic experts consider the involvement of Afghan youth in the online job market as a positive step and a good sign for the modernization of Afghanistan’s economy.

Zakaria Haidari, an economic expert and university professor, believes that the youth have managed to enter the online job market with minimal capital, which can help reduce unemployment rates.

Haidari says, “We did not have such initiatives from the government that would provide the conditions for these young people. But again, the youth were creative and innovative and did things at the national level; they created systems to create a job for themselves and earn money through it.”

Haidari emphasizes the need for government commitment as the decision-making body to transition Afghanistan from its traditional economy towards a modern economy, with online commerce being one of its key indicators. “What matters is commitment. Commitment from decision-making bodies, usually the government, is essential to move towards a modern economy. Agencies need to be accountable, innovative, and provide opportunities for youth so that we can transition from a traditional to a modern economy.”

On the other hand, Nasir Ahmad Khan, a technical advisor to the Ministry of Information and Culture on youth affairs, highlights the numerous educational programs conducted by the ministry over the past two years to raise awareness about online work across seven Afghan zones.

He adds, “So far, we have trained over 1,500 youths in this sector, generating about $50,000 in revenue from various provinces and zones.”

Nasir Ahmad Khan stresses that online work can create job opportunities for millions of youth and urges for its further development in Afghanistan. “The potential of online businesses is significant because neither the government nor the private sector currently have the capacity to provide services or employ tens of thousands of young people, regardless of their education level. However, through online work, job opportunities can be created for millions of youth.”

Online work, which has not yet expanded in countries like Afghanistan, is being initiated to facilitate, prevent wasting time, and earn more income.