ABS2017 Speakers
  • Kim Motley J.D.
    Kim Motley J.D.
    CEO & Founding Partner | Motley Legal Services
  • Akbar Arghandiwal
    Akbar Arghandiwal
    CEO of Synergy Solution Afghanistan
  • Zabihullah Hidayat
    Zabihullah Hidayat
    Founder of 786 Pharma Ltd
  • Sanzar Kakar
    Sanzar Kakar
    Founder of Afghanistan Holding Group
  • Ajmal Ahmady
    Ajmal Ahmady
    Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan on Banking and Finance
  • Kamila Sidiqi
    Kamila Sidiqi
    Entrepreneur & Deputy Minister for Commerce
  • Shahla Nawabi
    Shahla Nawabi
    Founder of Sarra Design Afghanistan
  • Ahmad Yama Bassam
    Ahmad Yama Bassam
    CEO of Afghanistan Commercial Bank
  • Farshid Ghyasi
    Farshid Ghyasi
    Founder/CEO, NETLINKS Ltd.
  • Saeeq Shajjan
    Saeeq Shajjan
    Founder, Shajjan & Associates
  • Malalai Wassil
    Malalai Wassil
  • Javid Hamdard
    Javid Hamdard
    Business Development Director | Cyberaan Ltd
Kim Motley J.D.
CEO & Founding Partner | Motley Legal Services

Kimberley Motley is a U.S. trained Attorney with over 14 years of experience in the legal field. She established Motley Legal in 2008 and and now employees five full time employees and just as many contractors at her firm. Motley is the first and only foreign lawyer to litigate in Afghanistan’s Courts. Motley came in 2008 to Afghanistan with JSSP for the purposes of training and mentoring Afghan Defense Attorneys. Her expert legal work has earned international attention with segments on CNN, the BBC, NBC, Dan Rather Reports, as well as articles in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, among many others. An award winning international documentary highlighting her work entitled “Motley’s Law” was released in October 2015. She is currently penning a book chronicling her experiences as an International Attorney in Afghanistan and beyond as well as her fight for justness. She holds a Juris Doctorate Degree in Law and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Her advice to her 20 year old self is “Keep going.”

Her top lesson learned is “Don’t Stop.”

Attorney Kimberley Motley has earned the reputation of one of the world’s most respected and successful international lawyers. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, Motley is the first and only foreign lawyer to litigate in Afghanistan’s Courts. Motley came in 2008 to Afghanistan with JSSP for the purposes of training and mentoring Afghan Defense Attorneys. In 2009, she left JSSP and became the first foreigner to litigate in Afghanistan’s Courts and independently began representing a vast array of clients in Afghanistan. Motley represents clients internationally on commercial and criminal matters. She is known for representing International Companies and NGOs, Diplomatic Missions, and individuals. Bringing her vast knowledge, experience, success record and steadfast ethical standards to each case, Motley challenges outdated illegal cultural norms and focuses on laws that are under utilized. Her expert legal work has earned international attention with segments on CNN, the BBC, NBC, Dan Rather Reports, as well as articles in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, among many others. Motley has also published several articles on juvenile justice and contemporary legal issues in Afghanistan. Motley’s litigation practice has taken her around the world and she currently represents clients on every continent, except Antarctica. In 2016, Motley officially launched the Justness Project and with the aim of improving legal representation globally as well as educating people to understand the law in a substantive way.

She recently gave a TED TALK https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberley_motley_how_i_defend_the_rule_of_law?

outlining some of her work. An award winning international documentary highlighting her work entitled “Motley’s Law” was released in October 2015 and is being shown in various film festivals globally. She is currently penning a book chronicling her experiences as an International Attorney in Afghanistan and beyond as well as her fight for justness.

Akbar Arghandiwal
CEO of Synergy Solution Afghanistan

Akbar Arghandiwal is a seasoned CEO with over 25 years of experience, currently overseeing Synergy Solution Afghanistan (www.synergy.af) which operates in the Logistics & Transportation industry. The company, founded in 2013, has almost 50 full-time staff members and very impressive annual revenue growth to go with it.

“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly. ~Rumi”

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you. ~Rumi”

If you are going to piss like a puppy, don’t walk with the dogs! ~Akbar Jaan

Akbar Arghandiwal is an Afghan American, experienced executive with intimate knowledge and expertise in Afghanistan and in the region. He came to the region after 30 years of living in the United States to contribute to the reconstruction and rebuilding of Afghanistan. In the past eight years, Akbar has served as CEO, Managing Director, or President of the following companies:

SYNERGY SOLUTIONS AFGHANISTAN: (Afghanistan): In 2011, Akbar formed his own company in Afghanistan in anticipation of going independent. In January 2013, Akbar began his activities under Synergy Solutions in Afghanistan. This logistics division works for US military contractors providing support and services.

SYNERGY SOLUTION MIDDLE EAST: (The UAE, South Korea) A regional version of Akbar’s activities in Afghanistan expanded through the region in 2015. Of these Synergy Solution FZE in the UAE and Synergy FM in South Korea are actively generating income for the group.

ELHAM MARKET (Afghanistan) Another one of Akbar’s ventures in Afghanistan is Elham Markets, which is a chain of dried fruits and nuts outlet stores. Synergy will build five units in 2016 in Kabul and plans to complete the building of 25 units in Kabul, Mazar e Sharif, Herat and Jalalabad by the end of 2018.

ELHAM MARKETS MIDDLE EAST: (The UAE, GCC, Far East) Boutique high-end snacks and gift outlets to be operating by the end of 2018 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, London and San Francisco.

AFGHAN DRY FRUITS AND NUTS VENTURE: (Afghanistan, International wholesale export): ADFN is a JV with Synergy Solution Middle East and AKDN Foundation to process Afghanistan’s high quality dry fruits and nuts for International export. The venture is to start operation in Kabul in late 2017.

Owner, Principal, Shareholder

Prior to, Akbar’s employment record includes: EACS: Managing Director; (The UAE, Djibouti, Somaliland, Somalia): EACS was a startup in trouble. Akbar has served at its managing director in early 2014 and completed his assignment and re-energized this company back to its feet. AFGS LLC & AFTC LLC (Afghanistan, The UAE, MENA): From October 2008 to December 2013. Achievements include growth of AFGS from a 35-employee company to more than 6300 employees by 2012. Scimitar RMC (Afghanistan): From January 2011 to December 2013, Akbar was the Chief Executive Officer of this Risk Management Company, overseeing multiple security projects and recruitment of 800 APPF guard force along with expat management and oversight. Scimitar RMC and Akbar signed the very first contract with the Afghan MoI for the use of APPF.

Mr. Arghandiwal studied Computer Sciences at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill California, as well as Sacramento State University, Sacramento, California, USA. However, the bulk of his experiences come from working with many start-ups and helping them to achieve growth. His strength is in operations, specifically building organizations and leadership teams. He has extensive managerial and executive experience leading and developing numerous start-ups as well as larger organizations. He is a proven leader, hard-worker, and a passionate person who thrives in exceptionally challenging environments with success. His passion also includes mentoring young entrepreneurs and he spends a good amount of his time volunteering on this subject in Afghanistan.

Zabihullah Hidayat
Founder of 786 Pharma Ltd

Zabihullah Hidayat was featured in the Financial Times and BBC as Afghanistan’s young and energetic entrepreneur. In 2013 he founded 786 Pharma Ltd which employs over 100 people and boasts annual revenues over $500K. Since the age of 20, he has opened four businesses and only one of which he has closed.

-Love to be the first to do anything, because it’s easier to get to success with implementing your own idea instead of others.

 

-Don’t wait for any opportunity, do it now and create opportunities.

 

-Success shows when you have passed certain stages with hard word and dedication. So it really does not matter what you say, it only matters what you do.

 

-Design your product and services in a way that you would love to be an all time customer for it.

 

-Stay consistent! Never ever think of giving up with what you have started. You have started this, you have to accomplish.

786 Pharmacy’s success is the result of having passion and madness, courage, thinking smart, strong work ethics and consistency, consistency, consistency.

Zabihullah Hidayat Aimaq is a 30 year old entrepreneur who studied at the University of Delhi in India. He has been in the pharmaceutical business since 1992, carried forward as a family business. Right after his education, he started setting up Al-Hadi Ltd in 2008 which was a Pharmaceutical import and distribution company. His vast experience in the pharmaceutical industry resulted in him founding Afghanistan’s first and largest pharmacy retail chain stores. 786 Pharmacy provides numerous services alongside retailing only genuine medications 24/7, a home delivery service, SMS verification and free primary medical services. Zabih’s passion about changing the pharmaceutical retail business in Afghanistan was noted by multiple donors, investors and international press media agencies. He started 786 Pharmacy in march 2013 with his own investment and a donation from UKAID, later he had an investor from India, NOVA SQUARE, as a 40% shareholder of the company. Subsequently in April 2015, he had a U.K. based equity investor, Infrontier Ltd, replacing NOVA SQUARE. Partnering with Infrontier Ltd was a game changing decisions for 786 Pharmacy, which later helped to bring in donations from USAID, investments from the USA and the recent merger with a Swiss based company. 786 Pharmacy’s main focus has been to innovate and be the leading pharmaceutical service company providing new ways to show how we can improve the quality of products and services to our customers. Introducing Afghanistan’s first online health store, 786PHARMACY.com and the strategic partnership with Apollo Hospitals of India have also been valuable services 786 provides. Lastly, in spite of having no regulations for Pharmacy Chains in the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan and having hurdles and barriers created by regulatory authorities, Zabih never gave up and was able to setup and expand the system to 22 stores across Kabul!

Sanzar Kakar
Founder of Afghanistan Holding Group

Sanzar jan Kakar is one of the most recognized entrepreneurs in Afghanistan’s. Having founded Afghanistan Holding Group in 2009 after years of successful projects implemented throughout various sectors, his company now employs hundreds of people and boasts annual revenue in the millions of dollars.

“Start a business earlier“

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Mr. Sanzar Kakar graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering and from Warwick Business School with a Master’s in Business Administration. At the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Kakar served as the Manager of the Wharton Graduate Association. Following his undergraduate degree, he worked for Merrill Lynch as a Technology Analyst on a trading desk for bonds and equities, creating a link for automatic reporting to the New York Stock Exchange.Mr. Kakar started in Afghanistan as an Investment Associate for Acap Partners, setting up a $20 million venture capital facility and sourcing over 300 new deals for consideration. Mr. Kakar joined as an Executive Advisor to the Attorney General’s Office of Afghanistan on a U.S. Department of State program to reorganize the institution and setup a nationwide paper and computer criminal case management system spanning 7 justice institutions. Mr. Kakar then served as the Economic Advisor for the Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility, setting up operational and fiduciary requirements for the 7 year £30 million grant facility in Kabul, followed by a promotion to Deputy Interim Team Leader. Mr. Kakar speaks English, Pashtu and Dari.

 

Ajmal Ahmady
Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan on Banking and Finance

Mr. Ajmal Ahmady is Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan on Banking and Finance. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master of Economics and Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelors in Mathematics and Economics from UCLA. He previously spent eight years in the asset management industry investing in global macro, emerging markets, and corporate strategies for some of the largest asset managers in the world. He has also worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, the World Bank, an EM private equity group, the US Treasury Department and the Afghan Ministry of Finance.

Kamila Sidiqi
Entrepreneur & Deputy Minister for Commerce

Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Kamila Sidiqi is a successful Afghan entrepreneur with a current leadership role in the government. She is the subject of New York Times Bestseller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. She is one of the most successful businesswomen in Afghanistan who started very small and managed to grow her initial company, Kaweyan Business Development Services (KBDS), into a group of currently active companies including Kaweyan Cabs.

KBDS is known as Afghanistan’s first business development company run by a woman. With the success of employing thousands of Afghans, KBDS stemmed to many more influential companies such as Kaweyan Cabs, the first female operated taxi service in Kabul and Sidiqi Kaweyan Limited, which exports dried fruits to the rest of the world.

Kamila Sidiqi is recognized for being a leading Afghan woman entrepreneur prior to joining the government. Through her success with KBDS, she was able to travel rural areas of the country to teach men and women business skills. Along with her companies and NGOS that she is affiliated with, Mrs. Sidiqi’s lessons and guidance have assisted in the opening of more than 8000 businesses over the years.

Mrs. Sidiqi discovered her entrepreneurial talent during the Taliban regime. In order to support her family she started a tailoring business. With growing success she was able to employ more than 100 Afghan women. From there Mrs. Sidiqi knew she was going to make a difference in Afghanistan by launching other enterprises.

Currently she is the Deputy Minister for Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Prior to her current position, Mrs. Sidiqi spent three years in the Administrative Office of the President as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Admin and Finance.  Mrs. Sidiqi promotes gender issues, private sector development, and awareness in transparency and anti corruption in Afghanistan through many voluntary groups and organizations.

Kamila Sidiqi has been a keynote speaker at many prestigious conferences around the world.  Mrs. Sidiqi represented Afghanistan as a key speaker in the AFPAK Partnership Summit that was held in Mali this year. In 2015, Ms. Sidiqi was a keynote speaker at The Economist Magazine’s World in 2016 event, which took place in Hong Kong and Singapore. She is also a part of the Steering Committee of the South Asia Women Entrepreneurs Symposium (SAWES).

Among the international recognitions Kamila Sidiqi has received is the book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, which documents her life and achievements. It was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012 and it was a part of the Common Reading Program at University of Florida for the class of 2016. In 2014 The Modern Organization for Education and Development recognized Mrs. Sidiqi as a Peace Hero in Afghanistan. She was also a recipient of The International Alliance of Women World of Difference award in 2014.

Shahla Nawabi
Founder of Sarra Design Afghanistan

Upon getting to know Ms. Nawabi, you immediately notice her passion for art & business in Afghanistan. Ms. Nawabi strongly believes that the secret to a successful private sector is confidence in the market. Ms. Nawabi is an Afghan-British fashion designer & entrepreneur that is currently located in Kabul Afghanistan. Ms. Nawabi comes with over 28 years of sales, marketing and business development experience. Meeting Ms. Nawabi you are in awe of her dynamism, eccentricity, and eclectic persona. She is a superb delegator and is extremely organized with an immaculate work space and show room. Currently Ms. Nawabi operates many businesses in Afghanistan, which include her fashion design collection, Sarra Designs. Her beautiful garments are one of a kind and incorporate Afghan heritage with a modern, chic twist. Ms. Nawabi trains each employee with in depth techniques in order to produce a quality standard of work that is one of a kind in Kabul. Ms. Nawabi has had many construction companies and also operates a logistics company, Hexagon and Hexagon, that does impressive construction work in the country. Ms. Nawabis academic qualification is an intensive list that includes a Graduate degree in Art History from Kilburn Polytechnic in London. She proceeded with a second Graduate degree in business studies from Putney College. She is certified in Design and holds a Bachelors degree with honors in Jewelry Design from Guildhall University.

Ahmad Yama Bassam
CEO of Afghanistan Commercial Bank

Mr. Ahmad Bassam, an HBS graduate, is a member of the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority & registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He advised the Da Afghanistan Bank in setting-up the Islamic banking regulatory framework that will allow for greater levels of financial intermediation and is generally considered one of the youngest and foremost minds in the banking sector. His years of experience in Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley prepared him well for the challenges he has helped Afghanistan overcome.

Some Quotes that Ahmad would like to share with you all:

“I would tell my 20-year old self ‘Keep doing it!'”

“Afghanistan should not be approached as a charity, but as an investment.” -Ashraf Ghani

“One lesson I have learned is to ‘Never have a plan B'”

Mr. Bassam has over a decade of national and international finance and banking executive experience in compliance and regulatory matters. He is a member of the United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has acted as the Central Bank’s subject matter expert in regulatory policy development. He has been involved in organizing all relevant regulations such as AML Responsibilities, CFT, Corporate Governance, Control Regulation, Liquidity, Capital Adequacy and Large Exposure Regulation. He further advised the Da Afghanistan Bank in setting-up the Islamic banking regulatory framework that will allow for greater levels of financial intermediation utilizing Shariah-compliant banking and credit methods. He was directly involved in drafting of over 45 different documents including supervisory guidelines, Islamic banking regulation and product specific programs and services which included standard operating procedures for Da Afghanistan Bank. Mr. Bassam guided national and international banks in corresponding policies, procedures, assessments and remediation plans to ensure compliance with the regulators. He has also helped numerous banks oversee all facets of bank compliance and audit engagement within the framework of the overall corporate governance and risk management initiatives. Mr. Bassam started his professional career at Morgan Stanley—one of the largest Investment Banks in the world. He has US public equities expertise from a considerable tenure in research, analysis, compliance and governance and headed an investment management team at Morgan Stanley. Prior to joining Afghanistan Commercial Bank, he founded Afghanistan Capital Markets in Kabul. He launched the True Colors Investing venture after his tenure heading Middle East North Africa regional operations and business development as Managing Director for Capitalist Partners, an international strategic consulting firm. Consequently, he developed a highly influential professional network of esteemed international executives and policymakers. Mr. Bassam has a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and BSBA Science and Business Administration from University of Phoenix. He is registered with the United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Farshid Ghyasi
Founder/CEO, NETLINKS Ltd.

Farshid Ghyasi is the Founder and CEO of NETLINKS Ltd, a reputable software development company in Afghanistan, Founder of Jobs.af and President of Afghanistan IT Companies Association (AITCA). With more than 13 years of professional experience Mr. Ghyasi is a seasoned ICT professional who has experience working with numerous national and international organizations. During his professional career Mr. Ghyasi has had remarkable contributions to the ICT sector of Afghanistan both in his personal and professional capacities. Mr. Ghyasi is a Board-Member and Co-Founder of the National ICT Association of Afghanistan (NICTAA), Co-Founder and member of iHub-Afghanistan, Board-Member and Co-Founder of Afghanistan IT Companies Association (AITCA).

Mr. Ghyasi has bachelors degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) from International Islamic University of Malaysia and has a Masters degree in E-Business Management from the International University of Japan.

Saeeq Shajjan
Founder, Shajjan & Associates

Saeeq Shajjan graduated with a law degree from Kabul University in 2003 and earned an LLM degree from Harvard Law School in 2010. He has a license to practice law in Afghanistan from the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (License No. 153). This license allows him to appear before all courts in Afghanistan. Mr. Shajjan has over 10 years of experience in counseling and litigation. Mr. Shajjan is also appointed as an arbitrator in 2016 by the Afghanistan Center for Commercial Dispute Resolution of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Mr. Shajjan has far-reaching experience in working on rule of law projects and capacity building in the legal profession. Mr. Shajjan has been involved in training judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and young graduates of Afghan law schools throughout Afghanistan. Mr. Shajjan has also worked with the Government of Afghanistan; as Senior Advisor on Policies and Legislation with the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Services Commission (IARCSC).

During 2009–2010, while pursuing his LLM degree at Harvard Law School, Mr. Shajjan distinguished himself by speaking on numerous academic panels across the United States on different issues, particularly on the rule of law in Afghanistan. He spoke at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Boston University Law School, La Verne College of Law, Williams College, Simmons College and Walker Institute of International and Area Studies.

In 2011, Mr. Shajjan started his own law firm, Shajjan & Associates. His area of practice is corporate services, contract law, criminal law, banking law, tax law, labor law, property law, citizenship law, traffic law, constitutional law, Islamic law and human rights. A substantial portion of his practice involves representation of international contractors, international organizations and diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. He has also represented clients as a co-counsel in international arbitration in different cases.

Mr. Shajjan has written various reports and legal opinions for private international clients and law firms on application of Afghan law and procedures in connection with proceedings in foreign courts. He has been recognized as an expert and has provided expert testimony on issues of Afghan law before Courts in the UK and US.

Mr. Shajjan has been an active voice on Afghanistan legal and political issues and has been interviewed and quoted by numerous local and western media outlets. Mr. Shajjan also teaches in private law schools on a part time basis.

Malalai Wassil

Malalai Wassil is an international development attorney with experience in the areas of commercial and legal reform and business enabling environment creation. She has been serving in Afghanistan’s public and private arena since 2005, and has demonstrated a passion for leading impact-driven measures to enhance economic growth and increase capacity building. Ms. Wassil is a US-trained attorney with a BA in Political Science from Trinity College, JD from New York Law school and LLM in international business from Georgetown Law School.

Javid Hamdard
Business Development Director | Cyberaan Ltd

As a seasoned professional with more than 14 years of professional experience, Mr. Hamdard has worked with several national and international organizations at senior technical and advisory capacities including IT Adviser to the Office of the Afghan President (Karzai), Afghan Ministry of Finance, United Nations (UNDP), USAID, Adam Smith Institute, Internews, Swedish Committee and more. During his employment with these organizations, Mr. Hamdard has been involved in planning, implementation and management of several major ICT projects and initiatives in the country.
Mr. Hamdard is the author of two comprehensive assessment reports on the state and evolution of the ICT sector in Afghanistan (The State of Telecoms and Internet in Afghanistan) and has authored and contributed to several other research articles and reports. Mr. Hamdard is also a regular commentator on the Afghan ICT sector and has been featured on major media outlets including The-Guardian, BBC, CNN, VoA and more.
Mr. Hamdard is the co-founder and former President of the Afghanistan IT Companies Association (AITCA), honorary member and co-founder of the National ISP Association of Afghanistan (NISPAA), member and co-founder of iHub-Afghanistan, a Board member and co-founder of the National ICT Professionals Association of Afghanistan (NITPAA), a board member of Afghanistan Professionals Network (APn) and a member and contributor of the Internet Society (ISOC). In addition to other industry certifications and awards, Mr. Hamdard has recently been awarded the national “ICT Champion” award by the Afghan ministry of Communications and IT (MCIT) for his outstanding contributions to the Afghan ICT sector.
Mr. Hamdard has a Bachelor’s degree in IT and Computer Science and is Candidate for two MBA degrees from universities of Westminster and Cumbria in UK. Mr. Hamdard is currently working as the executive director of business development with Cyberaan Ltd a leading Afghan IT firm.