Category : Afghanistan

Winning Interview Tips

I have interviewed hundreds of individuals in the past couple of years for different positions, including; management, development, research, telecom and many more. I believe there are a few factors that lead to a successful job interview.

I usually compare a job interview with a sales meeting — they both have a lot of similarities. It should be pretty easy for a good salesperson to deal with a job interview and vise-versa. Below are a couple of tips to help you have a successful job interview anywhere, whether a small business or a corporate:

Talk to the point

I have seen many individuals taking more than five minutes to answer a simple question. If you are asked to explain “How many people have you supervised?” then only give them the number saying “I have supervised a team of 30 people during the last two years” and that should be enough for them to move on to another question. Do not provide additional information including examples of your management, unless you are asked to do so. So the first tip is to talk to the point, don’t make it difficult for the panelists to understand what you just said. Talking is good but talking too much can sometimes lead to making the panelists feel bored and make them want to end the interview as soon as possible.

Be Honest

I have seen candidates coming to job interviews with the ultimate goal to prove that they are the smartest among the candidates. I am not saying it’s a bad intention but sometimes some of the candidates begin to provide false information or answers out of the sky, no matter what you ask them. If you don’t know the answers to the questions asked from you during a job interview then you will probably not get the job but why would you damage your reputation and end up not getting the job? Therefore, it’s always best that you provide the honest possible answers.

Don’t Say

Whether you are making a sale impression or giving a job interview, you will some times face the panelists asking you the same question multiple times. They may do it intentionally to see your patience and to see if you would provide the same answer or maybe unintentionally but the mistake the candidates make is when they say in response “As earlier said….”. No matter how many times they ask you the question, always provide the same answer and never use “As earlier said” as a prefix to your answer. The interviewer may some time take it as if you are telling them that you’ve already responded to this question so why are you asking me this again? Be humble and patient.

Choose the right kind of a position

Sometimes businesses end up recruiting people that tend to be very smart but then after spending a couple of months — they begin to realize that the recruitment of the individual was nothing but just a mistake. The point I am trying to make here is that there are people good at talking but not so good at work and vise-versa.

Try to avoid the above, be confident or don’t attend the interview at all because otherwise, you will end up disappointing yourself. I have seen people applying to a telecom position from a business background which doesn’t match and wouldn’t work for you either even if you pass the interview.

Those were my tips from interviewing more than a hundred people. I hope it will help you next time you attend a job interview or a sales meeting.

Thanks!

How is M-Paisa solving the banking problem in Afghanistan?

In a country where only 9% of the population have access to the banks, it’s always challenging to pay and get paid – especially when you live in a rural area and far away from the cities. There are many reasons why banks couldn’t get more people on board in the last 16 years; one of which is security. In a country where you have to keep armed guards for schools and universities; what would you have to keep for banks to remain open? Moving money is another challenge, what would you do with a bank account that has no money to give you at the time of withdrawal?

Solution

M-Paisa – a mobile money provider in Afghanistan is an innovative solution to many of the problems the banks couldn’t solve in the last decade. The mobile money provider does not have branches in the country but rather agents. Those agents help people with many things including; deposit, withdrawal, bill payment, mobile top-up, etc. None of the agents are paid a fixed salary; they have their own businesses to run and besides they act as an M-Paisa agent. In return, they get a commission on every payment they process. This approach has made mobile banking much easier in the country, people have access to a large number of agents for withdrawals and deposits. In addition to that, they can also go to a number of selected banks like Azizi, AUB, Pashtany, etc for withdrawal – that means the beneficiary has multiple options to make a transaction happen.

M-Paisa launched its services with the aim to create a cashless society. Therefore, they encourage people to pay each other through mobile money instead of cash withdrawals. They also have hundreds of merchants that accept M-Paisa payment instead of cash only. Not only that, but they also have an API for developers and e-commerce business owners to use to accept payments online. They are currently integrated with a mobile application for payments called Hesab.af and are in the process of integration with Afghanistan Payments Systems (APS) to enable interbank transactions.

For more on M-Paisa visit their website; https://www.roshan.af/en/personal/m-paisa/

How to establish an LLC in the U.S. from Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has a very restricted market and it’s always challenging to do business out of the Afghan territory especially when you don’t have the permit to travel outside Afghanistan and to countries like the U.S. If you are planning to accept payments online from Google Adsense, an online shop, Amazon or even your own website through master debit/credit card then you must have a bank account in the U.S. or in the Europe, an EIN and have your business legally registered.

Almost all countries need you to be present in order to open a bank account for you or to register your business. That means most people can’t do that and they can’t have access to the global market. But there is a solution to the problem.

Stripe has been known for one of the best payment processors around the world but it still does not have any presence in Afghanistan or nearby countries. I approached them many times to convince them to come to Afghanistan but they have no plans to do that yet. However, they have come up with a creative way to solve this big problem for millions of people around the world.

Stripe has recently announced their new program called Stripe Atlas where they register a company on your behalf in the U.S., open a bank account for you and provide you with an EIN. In addition to that, they also allow you to open a merchant account on stripe to be able to accept payments online.

What’s included in Stripe Atlas?

Form a company

Form your new company as either an LLC or C Corporation in Delaware. Stripe Atlas legal documents have been designed by Orrick for internet and technology businesses. You’ll use Stripe Atlas to generate the documents, file the paperwork, and obtain your Tax ID number. Our goal is to have you up and running within a couple days. This includes:

  • Entity incorporated in Delaware—LLC or C Corporation
  • Signed documents to establish company rules, founder ownership, and IP ownership
  • Registered agent service, renewed annually
  • IRS Employer Identification Number
  • Free templates for common legal needs after formation

Bank account and debit card

Open a bank account—complete with a debit card—without visiting a branch in person or faxing in paperwork. You’ll be able to log in to your account after signing documents.

Stripe account

We set up a Stripe account that you can use to start accepting payments from customers in 100+ currencies right away. You can take advantage of the complete Stripe product suite, including ConnectSubscriptions, and Radar.

Issue stock to founders

C Corporations can generate and sign documents to issue stock to the founding team, with templates from Orrick and standard legal terms used by many top startups—for free!

Special offers on startup services

Stripe Atlas users can receive up to $5,000 of free credits from Amazon Web Services, and access flat-rate packages from our partners for legal and tax advice.

How much does it cost?

Stripe Atlas charges a flat fee for all of the above which is $500, you can apply for Stripe Atlas using the following link; https://stripe.com/atlas

Includes

  • Formation of a Stripe Atlas LLC or C Corporation in Delaware
  • Delaware state filing fees ($189 fee included)
  • Signed documents to establish company rules and protect IP
  • Tool to issue stock to founders (for C Corporation)
  • First year of registered agent fees
  • Tax ID (EIN) filing
  • Bank account opening
  • Access to the Stripe Atlas Community
  • Free templates for post-formation legal needs

Online Payment in Afghanistan

Getting paid online for your work in Afghanistan is one of the biggest challenges. Majority of the payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe are not interested to get their feet in Afghanistan and the local market does not have the capacity to build similar systems. Though there is one called Hesab Pay developed by Afghanistan Holding Group (a private company) but that only helps people with internal transactions and cannot process international ones – which means people still can’t get paid online.

In order to get PayPal or Stripe for your business in Afghanistan, you must open a bank account in Europe or in the U.S. which is only possible if you are a permanent resident of those places. That means a no go.

How to receive money online?

Payoneer is a unique payment gateway that enables thousands of people from countries like Afghanistan to accept payments online. There are two ways to get paid. You will have to use the traditional wire-transfer until you hit 5,000 USD threshold but once you do that. Then you will be given the option to receive payments through payment cards including Master and Visa. The wire-transfer details could be used to receive payments from Google Adsense and other sources. The beneficiary details may look like the following:

USD RECEIVING ACCOUNT (ACH)

Bank Name First Century Bank
Routing (ABA) 06112****
Account Number 401954615****
Account Type CHECKING
Beneficiary Name Sher Shah Rahim
Connecting to a marketplace?

How to withdraw (cash-out) money?

Once you open a Payoneer account, they will send a debit card to your physical location. You can use the instructions to activate your card online and once you have sufficient funds, you should be able to withdraw money from your nearest ATM. There are charges associated with the use of Payoneer such as everytime you withdraw money from an ATM, you must pay $4 but I think it’s worth it. Let me know in the comment below if you have a difficult time opening an account with Payoneer.

Cryptocurrency and Afghanistan

A war-torn country, corrupt government, and uncivilized citizens are the terms you may hear more often on the internet and news channels about Afghanistan. If you go to google and just search the word “Afghanistan” — you will find the first few pages full of articles relevant to those terms. However, that’s only a piece of the puzzle. You will often hear that Afghanistan is doing much better than most of the developed countries in sports, business, growth, etc. even though we have the minimum resources at our disposal.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a hype these days. Countries like U.A.E., China, Singapore and Estonia are giving their best shots to adopt the latest of technologies and win the race by being the first to implement such solutions. Nobody would ever think of some Afghans trying to participate in the competition. Yes, they are working on it too, but the only difference is that the government is not supporting them while in the other countries, you see the governments pushing and supporting such initiatives at their full potential.

A group of developers have come together to develop an entire ride-hailing app based on blockchain technology and associated a cryptocurrency with it called ZMTCoin to enable customers to be able to pay with a sole method of payment. The expected date for the ICO to launch is 20th of February with the initial price of $0.3/Token. The whole idea is portrayed and better explained in the white paper which can be read by clicking here.

The Idea

When it comes to ride-hailing apps, the first ones that come to mind are Uber and Lyft. Various ride-hailing apps are currently operating in the cities across the world. However, what these apps lack is the user privacy and safety. The ride-hailing service providers have full access to the unencrypted real-time locations of all the users. This increases the likelihood of a third party gaining access to your data and stealing confidential information including your existing location. Therefore, your personal data and the data about your whereabouts is never safe. Zamanat changes that by using an end-to-end encryption technology. Zamanat is a new ride-hailing and personal safety app that encrypts your data before it is sent to a recipient and the data is decrypted locally on the recipient’s device. It means that when a user hails a cab on Zamanat, the location and user profile data is readable by no one other than the passenger and the cab driver and not even by Zamanat’s service provider. The passenger can also choose to share his/her realtime location and driver’s details with friends and family to have a companion by their side. Unlike the other ride-hailing apps, Zamanat is also a personal safety app. The users can share their realtime location with their friends and family or send panic alerts to them regardless of hailing a cab. Zamanat uses a blockchain based user authentication. The cryptography based security system on the distributed network of blockchain makes it almost impossible for a third party to gain access to your data or tamper with it. The payment on Zamanat would be through cash, Zamanat Token (ZMT), or other internationally accepted payment methods. ZMT is a cryptographic token that would be launched in an ICO before the official release of the Zamanat. The investors would be able to invest in ZMT through other cryptocurrencies or fiat money. Zamanat drivers would also have the opportunity to mine ZMT besides earning money through rides. The driver would be provided with a Zamanat mining rig that would be installed in a car. Initially Zamanat will be available for Android, iOS, and web users.