In an in-depth interview with Karim Khoja, CEO of Roshan Telecom, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider with over nearly 6 million active subscribers, we discussed the founding of the company, its evolution over the last decade, critical challenges to operating in an incredibly tough environment, plans for growth beyond its borders, and much more.
Karim Khoja, Chief Executive Officer of Roshan, has over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including starting and managing successful GSM companies in Pakistan, Poland, Croatia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Interviewer Rahim Kanani
It all really began at the 2002 “Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan,” when His Highness the Aga Khan pledged $50 million in technical resources, including communications consulting to the government of Afghanistan. With this, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) extended to Afghanistan a commitment that the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) has repeatedly made in countries around the world – to create a foreign direct investment (FDI) model that encourages other investment. AKFED committed itself to investing in a post-conflict country where few others would and to building a sustainable development model that would complement AKDN’s long-running charity in Afghanistan.
First and foremost, we are apolitical. We have never and will never back a specific candidate or party. Secondly, and just as important, Roshan is committed to operating ethically. These principles are well known to all who interact with us in Afghanistan, to the point where we are now not even approached to give or take bribes. This provides safety to our staff and our equipment in the market.
Karim Khoja, CEO of Roshan Telecom