The writings of Ashraf Ghani are likely to provide insight into his plans for Afghanistan as he begins his term as President. If there is one theme to his writings over the last 10 years, it is sovereignty and state-building. Ghani has spoken and written at length about the importance of sovereignty over external provision of services. In 2009, as the Obama administration laid out a new course for American involvement in Afghanistan, Ghani published a ten-year plan for state-building, focused upon state sovereignty versus the current rentier state. The plan envisioned a four-step progression from rule of law and markets, to market building, infrastructure development, and then long-term human capital development. A selection of writings are below.
Closing the Sovereignty Gap – How to turn failed states into capable ones by Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart and Michael Carnahan (Overseas Development Institute, 2005) available at: odi.org (2-page pdf)
- Argues that external provision of core services undermines sovereignty and only treats symptoms of state failure, rather than the causes.
Closing the Sovereignty Gap – an approach to state-building by Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart and Michael Carnahan (Overseas Development Institute, 2005) available at: odi.org (20-page pdf)
- Lays out an approach for state-building in Afghanistan focused upon sovereignty, in contrast to a program of development focused on NGOs providing services.
An Agenda for Harnessing Globalization by Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart (The Washington Quarterly, 2006) available at: brookings.edu (14-page pdf)
- Discusses a broad strategy for enhancing state-building efforts in developing countries by focusing upon a system of networked sovereignty.
A Ten-Year Framework for Afghanistan by Ashraf Ghani (Atlantic Council, 2009) available at: atlanticcouncil.org (48-page pdf)
- Outlines a 10-year framework for state-building in Afghanistan by focusing first upon rule of law and public finance, second on market-building, third on infrastructure, and fourth on public borrowing and second-generation human capital development.
In 2005, Ghani did a TED Talk. It runs approximately 18 minutes.
For slightly longer reads, see Ghani’s 1982 dissertation and his 2008 book co-written with Clare Lockhart.
Production and Domination: Afghanistan, 1747-1901 by Ashraf Ghani (Columbia University, 1982) available at: easterncampaign.com (1-page html)
- Ashraf Ghani’s 1982 dissertation; 483 page PDF available at the link
Fixing Failed States (Oxford University Press, 2009) by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart available at: amazon.com
- Ghani discusses his book in a 75-minute talk on C-Span below. View the video at youtube.com to also see more videos in the sidebar.