The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions

January 18, 2013
12:00 pm - 02:00 pm

Part of the Transitions lecture series

Sponsored by the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Legatum Institute, Foreign Policy Magazine, World Affairs and the Institute for State Effectiveness.

The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions from National Endowment for Democracy on Vimeo.


Dr. Ashraf Ghani

Co-founder and Chairman, Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE)
Chair, Transition Commission in Afghanistan

Introductory remarks by

Carl Gershman
President, National Endowment for Democracy

Moderated by

Anne Applebaum
Director of Political Studies, Legatum Institute

About the event

A wave of democratic transitions has swept the globe. Many have shown long-term promise, while others have faltered. Due to the focus on political process, the crucial role of economic reform is all too often neglected, which can stifle or reverse democratic momentum. While each case differs, are there lessons to be learned for current and future transitions?

Drawing from his experience in Afghanistan and the Institute for State Effectiveness’s extensive research in the field of political and economic transitions, Dr. Ashraf Ghani discussed why tackling economic questions is essential for a successful transition. He shared experiences from the past, and discussed how they can help us prepare for present and future challenges.

The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions marks the one year anniversary of the Democracy Lab, a website dedicated to covering political and economic transitions around the world. It also marks the start of a joint ‘Transitions Lecture Series’ organized by the Legatum Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, and World Affairs that will explore the link between economic reform and political transitions.

About the speaker

Dr. Ashraf Ghani is Chair of the Transition Commission in Afghanistan and Chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness. He previously advised the UN Secretary General on the Bonn Agreement. As Afghanistan’s Finance Minister between 2002–2004 he is credited with a series of successful reforms, including reform of the treasury, customs, the budget and the currency. He prepared Afghanistan’s first National Development Framework and Securing Afghanistan’s Future, a $28 billion reconstruction program for the country.

In 2010, he facilitated the Kabul Conference and Process to build internal consensus and external alignment on priorities in Afghanistan. Dr. Ghani is author (with Clare Lockhart) of Fixing Failed States (2008) and A Window to a Just Order (in Pushtu and Dari) (2009). He recently authored with Clare Lockhart a paper on Preparing for a Syrian Transition, published by the Legatum Institute.