Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai President is talking economic transformation, and that could be the sweetheart story from the Middle East these days. A report by By Eltaf Najafizada for Bloomberg News shares some details, but first consider the context.
Like most Middle East nations, Afghanistan needs economic sustainability. A sustainable economic model is essential for satisfying the considerable needs of Afghanistan citizens.
A new administration in the Afghanistan government is just standing up after 10 years of Karzai.
“Afghanistan inaugurated its first new president in a decade on Monday, swearing in technocrat Ashraf Ghani to head a power-sharing government just as the withdrawal of most foreign troops presents a crucial test.
The first democratic handover of power in Afghanistan’s history has been far from smooth: the deal for a unity government was cobbled together after months of deadlock over a vote in which both Ghani and opponent Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory.”
Reuters reports today that roadside bombings still plague Afghanistan, meaning the national security remains a critical priority.
Achieving government stability is essential so President Ghani is aiming to accomplish that by making his rival the chief executive.
“Ghani’s first act after being sworn in was to sign a decree creating the post of chief executive. Abdullah was sworn in to that job moments later, and he made a speech before Ghani – a departure from the original program.”
The lead message in the headline is that President Ghani wants to apply his economic prowess to leverage the nation’s natural resources to produce a robust economy that is less dependent on foreigners. That is consistent with the idea that the primary job of all governments is to optimize return on natural resources. So, that is an excellent direction.
Afghanistan has a broken and broke economy, so nothing else can happen until that is fixed.
Barriers to success
“Afghanistan is an impoverished and least developed country, one of the world’s poorest because of decades of war and lack of foreign investment. As of 2012, the nation’s GDP stands at about $34.29 billion with an exchange rate of $19.91 billion, and the GDP per capita is $1,100. The country’s exports totaled $2.6 billion in 2010. Its unemployment rate is about 35% and roughly the same percentage of its citizens live below the poverty line. About 42% of the population lives on less than $1 a day, according to a 2009 report. The nation has less than $1.5 billion in external debt and is recovering with the assistance of the world community.”
The largest impediment to Afghanistan is that its government is Islamic. Until it purges religion from government it is likely to fail because it cannot coexist successfully in the free world.
“Afghanistan is an Islamic republic consisting of three branches, the executive, legislative, and judicial. The nation was led by Hamid Karzai as the President and leader since late 2001 till 2014. Currently the new president is Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai with his chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.  The National Assembly is the legislature, a bicameral body having two chambers, the House of the People and the House of Elders.
The Supreme Court is led by Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi, a former university professor who had been a legal advisor to the president. The current court is seen as more moderate and led by more technocrats than the previous one, which was dominated by fundamentalist religious figures such as Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari, who issued several controversial rulings, including seeking to place a limit on the rights of women.”
Now, the government continues to try to attract cooperation from the radical Taliban terrorist and insurgent organization. That is a non starter for engaging cooperation from the U.S. and Western allies.
“Ghani Says Afghan Mineral Wealth to Transform Economy
By Eltaf Najafizada Sep 29, 2014 5:05 AM ET
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai vowed to tackle endemic corruption and use Afghanistan’s mineral wealth to wean the government off foreign aid after he became the country’s second elected leader since the U.S. invasion in 2001.
“The rich mineral resources in Afghanistan can transform the country into an industrial nation,” Ghani, a 65-year-old former World Bank economist, said after being sworn in as president today in Kabul. “We broadly depend on imports and foreign assistance, and we aim to create a sound economic system for the country to stimulate exports and develop economy.”
Ghani’s elevation paves the way for the U.S. to sign a pact that would keep American troops in the country beyond this year and secure billions of dollars in aid to support Afghan soldiers as they fight Taliban insurgents. He faces the challenge of overhauling Afghanistan’s political system, rooting out graft and boosting growth in Asia’s poorest country.
The government put the country’s mineral wealth at $3 trillion in 2011, triple an estimate from the Pentagon the previous year. The U.S. and other donors fund about 60 percent of Afghanistan’s national budget, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as Sigar. Last year, the Afghan government raised about $2 billion in revenues, or less than a third of its stated budget needs.”