Afghanistan

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Population  32,564,342 (July 2015 est.) According to the world fact book of CIA.
Independence 1919, Britain
Languages Pashto (official), Dari (official), Turkic (third official), Balochi and Pashai (third official)
Form of government Islamic republic
GDP (2014) $20.31 billion; per capita: $1.900 (based on the world fact book od CIA)

Afghanistan, a landlocked country located in south Asia and central Asia bordered by Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to the north, Iran in west, Pakistan in east and south and it has a small stretch of border in north east with both China and Kashmir). Strategically located at the crossroads of major trade routes, it has experienced periods of instability and conflict since independence in 1919. Following the Soviet intervention in 1979, civil war resulted in over one million deaths. Unrest and violence continued after Western military intervention in 2001.

A transitional Afghan government was formed in 2001 under President Hamid Karzai, and the UN Security Council established an International Security Assistance Force to assist the Government of Afghanistan in provision of basic security. A new government was democratically elected in 2004. In 2008, the government adopted a five-year National Development Strategy focusing on security, governance and rule of law, and economic and social development.

Following presidential elections in April 2014, Dr. Ashraf Ghani became President of Afghanistan. The NATO coalition forces transferred full responsibility for security to the Afghan military at the end of 2014. Steps towards a negotiated peace agreement between the government and Taliban representatives began in 2012 and continued until now.

Government Title Name
President H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf GHANI
First Vice President H.E. Abdul Rashid DOSTAM
Second Vice President H.E. Sarwar DANESH
Minister of Finance H.E. Eklil Ahmad HAKIMI
g7+ Focal Point Mr. Moustafa Aria - Director of Aid Coordination of Ministry of Finance

 

New Deal Implementation

Afghanistan joined the g7+ in 2010 and had been an active member of the group. Afghanistan endorsed the New Deal in 2011, and is a co-chair of the Working Group on New Deal Implementation. In 2012, the government adopted a Mutual Accountability Framework, a compact  that builds on New Deal TRUST and FOCUS principles. A New Deal study, which will use the key principles and approach of a fragility assessment to analyse progress in meeting the PSGs, was launched in 2014 and continued throughout 2015.

Hamid Karzai was appointed President in 2002 by a Loya Jirga (Traditional grand assembly of Tribal chiefs), and became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan in 2004, the same year Afghanistan adopted its new constitution. Parliamentary elections first took place in 2005. Hamid Karzai was succeeded by Dr. Ashraf Ghani in the most recent presidential elections in April 2014.

The Chief of State and Head of Government is the President, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, with a limit of two terms. Presidential candidates nominate two Vice Presidents before the election, and all three are elected on the same ticket. The President appoints cabinet members, who are subject to parliamentary consent.

The bicameral parliament is divided into the Wolesi Jirga, or “Assembly of the People,” composed of no more than 250 members, and the Meshrano Jirga, or “Assembly of Elders,” composed of 102 members. Members of the Wolesi Jirga are directly elected to five-year terms. In the Meshrano Jirga, 34 members are indirectly elected by provincial councils to three-year terms, and 34 members are nominated by the president, with certain gender and other quotas in place. Elections are held every five years. The most recent presidential elections took place in April 2014, and the most recent parliamentary elections took place in September 2010. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in 2015.

Local governance is managed by 34 provincial governors appointed by the President. Every province also has an elected provincial council of which one-fourth of seats is reserved for women.

Afghanistan’s security situation has had adverse effects on social and economic welfare. Child malnutrition, and women’s access to healthcare was badly affected. Maternal and child mortality are improving, however, and health infrastructure has expanded significantly since 2002. School enrollment has increased eightfold, with girls’ school enrollment increasing from 191,000 to more than 3.75 million in 2014. Afghanistan’s rugged, mountainous terrain is a barrier to accessing food security, social services and utilities, including electricity.

The government’s National Development Strategy 2008-2013 was based on the following pillars and goals: (1) Security: Achieve nationwide stabilization, strengthen law enforcement, and improve personal security for every Afghan; (2) Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights: Strengthen democratic processes and institutions, human rights, the rule of law, delivery of public services and government accountability; and (3) Economic and Social Development: Reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development through a private-sector-led market economy, improve human development indicators, and make significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The Government of Afghanistan has taken concrete steps to improve the investment climate in recent years. The top sectors for foreign investment are construction and services. Security threats continue to pose challenges, and limited enforcement of corruption laws is a constraint to foreign direct investment. As part of its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession process, the government is conducting policy reform and drafting new laws and regulations to bring its policy framework into accordance with international standards. A bilateral deal signed in 2014 between the EU and Afghanistan provides for lower tariffs and export duties for goods and for opening up services markets once Afghanistan completes its accession and joins the WTO.