PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) announced a series of initiatives planned for the coming year to create jobs, improve government services and build the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the province. At a press conference at the newly constructed “Durshal: Government Innovation Lab” in Peshawar, the Managing Director KPITB, Dr Shahbaz Khan, shared details of the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) to be held in Peshawar in May this year. DYS-which was previously held in 2014 and 2015-is one of the premier tech conferences in Pakistan and this year will attract over 20 international experts to speak on issues of employment opportunities in the digital economy, tech entrepreneurship, and innovation. In the lead-up to the conference, KPITB is in the process of developing a “Digital KP” strategy that will anchor the province’s digital transformation. The strategy will be developed with technical assistance from the World Bank and will incorporate consultations with academia, government departments, the private sector and civil society groups. The strategy will build on programs already in place, including IT Parks, the Youth Employment Program which trains digital freelancers, and support to IT manufacturing. KPITB also announced “Durshal”-which means “gateway” in Pashto-a network of technology centers across the province. The “Durshal HUB: Government Innovation Lab” has been refurbished and will soon open in Deans Center, Cannt, Peshawar. KP Government ministries, local governments and agencies will now be able to access innovative technology solutions to their governance and service delivery problems. Durshal HUB will be staffed by Civic Innovation Fellows—young technologists, coders and entrepreneurs who are supported by the KPITB, Code for Pakistan and the World Bank. Durshal HUB will provide a vital link between government, the tech industry, and KP’s citizens.Soon to be opened in several districts in the province, “Durshal +” Community Innovation Labs (CILs) will be centers where youth are provided subsidized internet access, workspaces, support and services. The CILs will provide digital resources and trainings for emerging freelancers, e-commerce, start-ups and community groups and will be linked to the main HUB in Peshawar. Speaking on the occasion, DrShahbaz Khan, the Managing Director of KPITB said, “We are focused on improving employment opportunities for youth in several areas and providing them the support they need. Our vision is to move towards a knowledge-based economy and developing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation using technology”. Anna ‘O Donnell, Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, said “The World Bank has been supporting the KP government on youth and ICT activities for the last two years and I have seen the talent that young people have firsthand and their potential to quickly join the global digital economy. We are so excited for the Digital Youth Summit 2017.