SAIS Central Asia-Caucasus Institute to Host Forum on New Policy Paper on Jump-Starting Afghanistan’s Economy

The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI) at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will release the institute’s new report, “Finish the Job: Jump-Start Afghanistan’s Economy” on Tuesday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. (A reception will precede the forum at 5 p.m.)

CACI chairman S. Frederick Starr is the report’s principal author with Adib Farhadi, a CACI visiting scholar who also has served as head of the Afghanistan Reconstruction and Development Services and Afghan deputy minister of Commerce and Trade, among other positions. Official and independent experts from many countries contributed to the analysis.

The paper begins acknowledging the dire political and security situation facing Afghanistan as the United States and NATO draw down forces there. However, Starr and Farhadi see the key driver of change as the economy, which could plummet as a result of the loss of orders for goods and services resulting from the military drawdown. Where many analysts propose to focus first on military and political dimensions, the authors insist that progress in those areas will be impossible until Afghans see clear evidence of economic progress.

The report proposes urgent immediate measures to soften the economic impact of the rapid military drawdown. Beyond the looming crisis, the authors see positive prospects for the country’s economic future, thanks to its favorable geographical position, abundant resources and energetic population.

To realize this potential, the paper offers 18 ranked and phased projects to jump-start Afghanistan’s economy. Divided into short, medium and long-term measures, the “handbook” affirms several infrastructure initiatives, mainly in the transport sector, some of which are already underway. But in contrast to the programs of most foreign donors and international financial institutions, it lays particular stress on initiatives that require U.S. leadership and convening power more than money.

This paper is the next installment of the “Silk Road Paper Series,” published by the CACI, a joint transatlantic center with the Silk Road Studies Program in Stockholm. A pdf of the paper can be found at

The forum will feature the following panelists:

  • S. Frederick Starr, CACI chairman
  • Adib Farhadi, CACI visiting scholar
  • Geoffrey R. Pyatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s South and Central Asia Affairs Bureau

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Kenney Auditorium of the school’s Nitze Building, located at 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C. Members of the public should RSVP to CACI at or 202.663.7723.

Members of the media who want to cover this event should contact Felisa Neuringer Klubes in the SAIS Communications Office at 202.663.5626 or

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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Felisa Neuringer Klubes
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