Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president-elect, and his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, will share power in a national unity government. He previously served as Finance Minister and as a chancellor of Kabul University.

Why you should listen

Ashraf Ghani became Afghanistan’s new president-elect on September 21, 2014. He will share power with Abdullah Abdullah in a national unity government. 

Before Afghanistan's President Karzai asked him, at the end of 2001, to become his advisor and then Finance Minister, 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 ran 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

“Both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are expected to bring a welcome change from the confrontational relationship between the incumbent, President Hamid Karzai, and his American allies.” — The New York Times

Ashraf Ghani’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Ashraf Ghani

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

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 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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