Who wants to be (almost) a crorepati in Afghanistan

October 20th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 20 (IANS) “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, the popular British television gameshow that spawned “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, is to have a version in Afghanistan - the world’s fifth poorest country.However, the top prize of a million Afghanis in this South Asian nation will be the equivalent of $21,000.

Afghanistan is the 107th country to be lured by the quiz show’s promise of instant riches since its launch in Britain in 1998.

Ed Louwerse, managing director of 2waytraffic, the company that owns the rights to ‘Millionaire’, said $21,000 was a “life changing” amount of money in Afghanistan.

The deal is said to be the first time that a global entertainment format has been legitimately sold in the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Afghan television executives visited studios in Europe. Shams Prods, a Kabul-based production company, will begin filming 52 hour-long episodes in November, 2waytraffic said.

“Millionaire will travel and travel and it’s still ground-breaking. There are still territories in Asia and South America where the format would work well,” Louwerse said.

Afghanistan is ranked 174th out of 178 countries in terms of poverty - ahead of only Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone and Niger in sub Saharan Africa.

According to the country’s second National Human Development Report released last year, Afghanistan has slipped a place in the poverty league since 2004 and average life expectancy dropped from 44.5 to 43.1 years from 2003 to 2005.

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