IT vendors wait for Afghan market to bloom 

DQW Bureau
New Update


Indian IT industry hardware, software and training vendors are closely

watching for the Afghanistan market to mature. With a more progressive

government in place eager to take the path of development, it is but a matter of

time when the country will witness huge spending in IT purchases. Vendors

estimate that in about a year's time the market would be ripe for IT products

and training.

Long ravaged by war, the country has been set back a couple of decades as far

as civil amenities and basic needs go.

However with the huge inflow of funds for the country's development, the

basic needs are expected to be taken care of and the government would then focus

on more sophisticated requirements like computers, Internet, Internet telephony

and the likes.


CII was among the first industry bodies in the world to lead a business

delegation to the country soon after the ousting of the Taliban government.

Since then, there has been a CII office in Kabul with a representative

coordinating with various government ministries to facilitate the entry of

Indian companies.

Said S Lakshman, Head of CII's Kabul Office, "Till now the inquiries

have mostly been by confectionery and consumer durable vendors. We have one or

two software vendors also inquiring. But my guess is that there would be an

opportunity for IT training vendors as Afghans would like to equip themselves

with computer-literacy skills.

"For that matter, the government and NIIT have been having preliminary

talks about offering assistance to the Afghan government for training employees.

But there has not been much development on that front. Said Rajendra Pawar,

Chairman, NIIT, "Afghanistan would emerge as a potential market the

industry in about a year's time. Right now, people are busy putting back their

lives together."


No PC vendor is looking at Afghanistan as a market as of today. However, as

Vinnie Mehta, ED, MAIT, pointed out, "Although the opportunities look bleak

at the moment, I definitely think the Indian PC vendors stand a good chance to

win in the Afghan market particularly since India has established itself as in

the IT world. Due to this image, Indian products stand a better chance than

Taiwan made goods reputed only as low-cost goodies."

Despite the opportunities, as the market matures, Indian companies could face

tough obstacles as donor countries try to push companies from their own country.

But Indian companies also stand to gain from this opportunity, as there are

strong historical ties that they have shared with the Afghan people.

Balaka Baruah Aggarwal