Ashraf Ghani was a key figure in rebuilding Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, and is a leading advocate for foreign investment (rather than foreign aid) as a tool for economic development and the eradication of poverty.

Why you should listen

 Before Afghanistan's President Karzai asked him, at the end of 2001, to become his advisor and then Finance Minister, Ashraf Ghani had spent years in academia studying state-building and social transformation, and a decade in executive positions at the World Bank trying to effect policy in these two fields. In just 30 months, he carried out radical and effective reforms (a new currency, new budget, new tariffs, etc) and was instrumental in preparing for the elections of October 2004. In 2006, he was a candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations, and one year later, was put in the running to head the World Bank. He served as Chancellor of Kabul University, where he ran a program on state effectiveness. His message to the world: "Afghanistan should not be approached as a charity, but as an investment." 

With Clare Lockhart, he runs the Institute for State Effectiveness, which examines the relationships among citizens, the state and the market. The ISE advises countries, companies, and NGOs; once focused mainly on Afghanistan, its mission has expanded to cover the globe.

In 2009, Ghani ran against Hamid Karzai in the 2009 Afghani presidential elections, emphasizing the importance of government transparency and accountability, strong infrastructure and economic investment, and a merit-based political system.

 


 

What others say

“Ghani's management skills, which sparked an economic revival in post-Taliban Afghanistan, earned him Asia's vote as the best finance minister on the continent.” — The New York Sun

Ashraf Ghani’s TED talks

Ashraf Ghani on the TED Blog
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Update: Afghanistan elections

August 21, 2009

Although preliminary results for Afghanistan’s presidential election will not be publicized until Saturday (and full results may not come until September 3), both President Hamid Karzai and second favorite Abdullah Abdullah are claiming victory. If neither candidate receives 50% of the vote, a run-off vote will occur. Voter participation was estimated at 40-50%, far lower […]

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Rebuilding broken states: Ashraf Ghani on TED.com

August 20, 2009

As the people of Afghanistan head to the polls, we’re highlighting an archive talk from one of the candidates in today’s presidential election. Ashraf Ghani is the former Finance Minister of Afghanistan. After two decades working at the World Bank and UN, Ghani returned to Afghanistan in 2001, after the fall of the Taliban, with […]

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Ashraf Ghani on fixing failed states: New BBC interview

July 30, 2008

TED.com commenter David Smith points us to this new interview with Ashraf Ghani, available as a podcast from the BBC World Service. Ghani (watch his TEDTalk) is the co-author of the new book Fixing Failed States — a subject he learned firsthand as a reformer in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Interviewer Peter Day of the program Global […]

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Quotes from Ashraf Ghani

Economics taught in most of the elite universities are practically useless in my context. My country [Afghanistan] is dominated by drug economy and a mafia; textbook economics does not work in my context.
Ashraf Ghani
TEDGlobal 2005 • 486K views Oct 2006
Informative, Courageous
Every Afghan sees the sky as a source of fear. We were bombed practically out of existence.
Ashraf Ghani
TEDGlobal 2005 • 486K views Oct 2006
Informative, Courageous
Money is not capital in most of the developing countries. It’s just cash — because it lacks the institutional, organizational, managerial forms to turn it into capital.
Ashraf Ghani
TEDGlobal 2005 • 486K views Oct 2006
Informative, Courageous