I simply loved Tania Aidrus’ speech at Digital Pakistan inauguration ceremony. She was eloquent, specific and incisive. Here is my 5 reasons why her speech was spot on.

Clearing the Air

She is from Pakistan and she knows general perception about those working with government as someone connected to higher ups. She clarified that in the start. In her own words;

“Someone I knew sent an email to the prime minister about me and he forwarded the email to his reform team to contact me,” she said.

“Over the next 6 to 7 months, I was in contact with Mr Jahangir Tareen and multiple members of the federal cabinet. I even met the president before I met Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed what can be done.” 

“People ask me what is my agenda? They say that I am politically connected to some people. I’m not connected to anyone. Im not associated with any political party and i don’t have any political agenda”.  “My agenda is simple. I want to see Pakistan progress.”, she added.

Showing her Strategic Vision

She presented just one simple slide to talk about 5 components of her strategy. No fancy jargon. No complexity. Simple and to the point that the masses can comprehend it. While going through each component she ensured to include at least one relevant example to explain what she meant and show how working on that component will help Pakistan.

Like while talking about e-Government she said, “”The best way to ensure transparency is to digitise government processes.” 

“Today  people face tremendous amount of difficulty when it comes to land documentation and other processes. We need to digitise these.”

She explained 2nd component Digital Infrastructure by giving examples of NADRA that every pakistani knows of. 

On the importance of digital infrastructure she said, “Just like we have road infrastructure in a country, Pakistan needs a digital infrastructure. To advance in the tech world, we need to have a digital infrastructure in place.”

While covering the 5th component Innovation & Entrepreneurship she mentioned case study  of Indonesia where entrepreneurs have created tech startups worth USD 5 Billion in just the last 5 years.

Making it inspirational

She was inspiring without a deliberate effort.Her association with Google and what motivated her to leave the high paying job and come back to Pakistan is inspiring for many.

“It’s been 20 years since I left Pakistan,” she said. “The pakistani diaspora that went abroad with strong identity do their best to contribute to the country. Whenever I got an opportunity to work for pakistan, I availed that. But, I always felt that I was not doing enough.”

 “My objective is simple–I just want Pakistan to succeed,” she added.

“To the skeptics I say, it is not a question of whether we will succeed or not. It is a question of how quickly we can,” she said.

Keeping it authentic

She came across as an authentic person to lead this initiative. She was visibly sincere to the cause, confident in her vision and pragmatic in her approach. It was not just another well rehearsed speech that we hear in such formal events. It was straight from the heart. The fact that she kept her speech in Urdu language without an accent (she spent 20 years abroad) with hardly any use of english just made it relatable to the masses. Overall, the content of her speech and they way she delivered it made it convincing.

Keeping it inclusive

She covered in her speech all segments of society who are important to drive her vision or are the beneficiaries of Digital Pakistan initiative.

“We need to create an environment where entrepreneurship and innovation takes place,” she said. “The government needs to make it easy for investors and entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan. There is an opportunity to build companies worth billions of dollars in each sector” she said.

Talking about the common man, “A soldier posted in Siachen gets one opportunity a week to speak to his family members,” she said. “I want to ensure that whenever he connects to his family via a video call, he is able to do so without any issues.”

She went on to give an example from her own life about her driver who spends a good amount of money to transfer his hard earned money to his family and how he could have saved that fee if we had a digital infrastructure in place.

Overall, this speech was unconventional yet encouraging. This fills us with so much hope for our country.

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