Many people ask me what the Afghanistan currency is and how the Afghanistan GDP is growing. My approach on Afghanistan is very different. I look at Afghanistan's resources, including its currency and GDP performance on a human level. I look at the median age of the country, and hence I can judge the human potential, currency, and GDP prospective. This data is available on Wikipedia.
Picture (left) courtesy of Angela Shah*
I am now 44 years old, and I was born in 1968 in Florence, Italy, where the median age is 44.3 years old. It is the third oldest population in the world. Just as a side note, Italy's controversial prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was 75 years old when he resigned last year, after nearly 20 years of political presence and leadership.
I live in the USA where the median age is 36.9 years old. And as a side note, a few days ago at the Republican National Convention, the guest of honor was actor Clint Eastwood, born in 1930. He is 82 years old, and it was just painful to see him on stage.
I am now working with Roya Mahboob, the CEO of Afghan Citadel Software in Afghanistan, and my partner at CITADEL of New York. She is 25 years old, and the median age in Afghanistan is 18 years old! Let me repeat that: the median age in Afghanistan is 18 years old, and my business partner, one of the smartest and most successful people I have ever met in my life is 25 years old. Take one minute to check again the data on Wikipedia and scroll down and down and down on the list.
The Afghanistan currency is its incredible youth, and its growth in median age mirrors the growth of the Afghanistan GDP. In life, it's always better to diversify your investments, keep some in a solid and traditional set of currency (USA and Italy), and some in a younger, more unpredictable set of currency (Afghanistan). Building schools in Afghanistan with Internet classrooms to connect 160,000 Afghan children between the age of 10 and 16 to the World Wide Web is the best investment I have ever made.
Picture courtesy of Angela Shah*
As a 44-year old, I work along young people like Roya, Eren, Fereshteh, Alexey, Ali, Jennifer, Heray, Elaha, and Sem. Their median age is 23.3 years old. This really edges my future and allows me to learn new things every day. It also makes me look at Silvio Berlusconi and Clint Eastwood and wonder what motivates them to be on that stage and talk to their old old friends, while the world is moving along in a very different direction.
* Angela Shah is a freelance journalist based in Dubai. She has written for The New York Times, TIME magazine and Institutional Investor magazine, among other publications. Here is a link to her blog "The Girls in Herat".