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Spotlight: Ozodhon Davlatshoev

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Ozodhon DavlatshoevOzod Davlatshoev in
his office at AKFED
in Dushanbe
Click to enlarge photograph
Ozodhon Davlatshoev (AKDN-Chevening 03-04) is Deputy Project Development Manager with the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) in Dushanbe.  He has an MBA degree from the Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

I was born into a family of teachers.  We were four children and our parents were very caring and focused on giving us a good education.

My first post-secondary education was in Arts and Design. I studied at the Dushanbe Art School specialising in Fine Arts and Animation. Due to the civil war in Dushanbe in the early 1990’s, I had to flee to Khorog and worked there for a year as a painter and illustrator.  After a year I enrolled for a higher education degree in Persian and Arabic Language and Literature at Khorog State University. During this time I had a fair knowledge of IT and spoke good English and so could volunteer at the Aga Khan Foundation’s Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) as an IT support and sometimes translation/interpretation. In 1996 I was asked to help a expatriate consultant who was establishing a micro-credit program and had come to undertake a brief study. He arrived on Sunday and as nobody else was at work I was asked to help him with translation. That day and this man changed my life to what I am today. In April 1997 I was hired by Enterprise Support Facility – a micro lending facility sponsored by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) as interpreter and assistant, later on as bookkeeper and administrative assistant. After three years I was promoted to Financial Controller. Hence in 1997 I decided to enroll in a correspondence course in Economics at Khorog State University, where I learned Economics and Accounting and I graduated in 1999.  the following year, I was transferred to join the AKFED project development office in Dushanbe and got involved in the larger investment initiatives. Although I was pursuing the opportunity to study in the West since 1997, it was only in 2003 when somebody forwarded me an announcement of the Chevening scholarship for studies in the UK that I decided immediately to apply.  I do not even recollect most of the procedures that I had to go through as I was extremely busy with on-going projects at work, but sometime I had submitted my application I was called in for an interview at the UK Embassy and obtained the scholarship. At that time I had a good job with AKFED but nevertheless decided to accept, obtained my visa and left for Edinburgh to pursue an MBA course at Herriot Watt University.

My work at AKFED is very interesting.  It primarily consists of identifying investment projects that make a significant contribution or a positive shift for the economies of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the sectors of Infrastructure and Industries. These projects are aimed at playing a catalyst role for attracting foreign direct investments, job creation, the provision of quality services and products, increasing export potential, transfer of know-how and management skills. These companies are today among the most significant contributors to government revenues.

My work also involves dealing with a wide spectrum of people in society at large. I like helping people and enjoy seeing their lives change for the better.

I have been with AKDN for the last 13 years and 12 years of these with AKFED.  It might seem strange that I should have decided to return to AKFED after graduation in 2004, but I truly believe in the values and objectives of these institutions and the good and noble work they undertake. Only after a certain period of time with AKDN can one truly start to see the results of the projects and programs that one is working on.

There are ample career opportunities with AKFED, not only in terms of levels of jobs but also sector wide. One can work in other countries or move from project development to operations. For the time being, I am very satisfied with my work.  I am looking after new investments and am also involved in the operations in Central Asia and partly with other AKFED Industrial Promotion Service (IPS) projects in the region, and there is still so much to do.

For those who are interested in a career like mine in economic development, I would recommend that they clearly identify their personal value system, have a clear objective, think positively and be open to ALL opportunities. When you go to restaurant and know exactly what you enjoy eating, you will meet your expectations; if you don’t know, the only way to know what you may like is by trying what is available. So be open to new experiences. The intellect has endless potential. By training your intellect you can know and understand life better and deeper and you will learn how wonderful life is despite the many problems one encounters.

Voluntarism also plays an important role in my life. In 1994 I was the founder and manager of a Voluntary Youth Organization involved in philanthropy in Gorno Badakhshan. I still do a lot of voluntary work by giving advice on business matters to people with limited resources. I am also involved in artistic activities and wish there was 36 hours in a day. I want to do so much.

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