Roundtable on the Prospects for Afghanistan: State Capacity and Aid Effectiveness

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On the 5th July, Global Leaders Fellow Nematullah Bizhan ran a roundtable entitled The Prospects for Afghanistan: State Capacity and Aid Effectiveness.

The workshop participants, scholars and practitioners of Afghanistan and state building, discussed the Prospects for Afghanistan with a focus on state capacity and development effectiveness. They highlighted some of the key lessons from Afghanistan arguing that despite some achievements, aid modality, the absence of a balance between short term and long term objectives, poor governance and the support of Pakistan to the Taliban has hindered state building and development.

The participants demonstrated that while state building is a complex process and that Afghanistan will need to rely on aid for the foreseeable future, it is crucial for the Afghan government and its development partners to readjust the trajectory.

  • Aid should focus on building the state core capacity, which can be attained by channelling a large portion of aid through the national systems, and on financing programs with long-term time horizon.
  • Politics of patronage should be weakened and the governance practices should be fundamentally reformed.
  • Attempts at regional cooperation should be further strengthened.
  • It is imperative to bring the citizens in the center of decision making.
  • The taxation system should be strengthened.

This roundtable threw up two focal points. The first is the serious need for debates like this workshop on major policy issues to continue. The second is that we should focus on how to increase the investment for programs with long-term objectives such as education, health and infrastructure.