Nov 092004
 
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

Daud Ahmad, the senior adviser for the Ministry of Finance in

Afghanistan, identified some of the biggest problems with the

country’s economy and the problems it faces in becoming a

self-sufficient country at a presentation Tuesday in the Lory

Student Center.

“I think one of the biggest problems is that everyone is in

emergency mode. They have to shift their focus to long-term goals,”

Ahmad said to a crowd of 25 to 30 people.

Ahmad is a CSU alumnus who specializes in infrastructure

development. In addition to working with Afghanistan’s government,

he has also worked with the World Bank, an organization that fights

poverty in developing countries.

Ahmad’s last assignment was to review technical assistance and

fund distribution in Afghanistan, where he worked mostly with the

economic development and reconstruction program.

He described the challenges that the Afghan government is facing

and what is being done to meet those challenges in his

presentation, called “Reconstruction of Afghanistan – Needs,

Ongoing Programs and Challenges.”

One of the biggest problems with the Afghanistan economy, in

Ahmad’s opinion, is the country’s dependence on drug

production.

“Afghanistan has a large drug economy. Seventy-five percent of

the world’s opium is grown in Afghanistan. One of the biggest

challenges facing the country is how to change from an illegal drug

economy to a legal economy,” Ahmad said.

Afghanistan officials have enlisted the help of many outside

contractors to help solve this problem and rebuild the country.

“They don’t have a source of income right now. Most projects are

primarily donor-driven,” Ahmad said.

As a result, private contractors complete the job they are hired

to do without thinking about what is best for the country as a

whole, Ahmad said.

“The only way to overcome the problem is to get more Afghans

involved. Too many contractors are not working together,” he

said.

He encouraged audience members to ask questions throughout his

speech.

Among those in the audience was Daryl Simons, one of Ahmad’s

professors when he attended CSU and a former associate dean for

research.

“It is satisfying to see he has succeeded in a career in World

Bank. We’ve stayed in touch. I went to China on assignment from

him,” Simons said.

Christina Farhart, a junior political science and psychology

double major, attended Ahmad’s presentation to collect information

for a paper she is writing for an honors class.

“The presentation was very helpful. The information he presented

is in accordance with other research I’ve done on this topic,”

Farhart said. “It is interesting to see the perspective of someone

who has been participating in building infrastructures in

Afghanistan.”

Ahmad ended by painting a picture of the critical junction he

believes Afghanistan is in.

“Today Afghanistan is at a political and cultural crossroad. If

this doesn’t succeed I’m scared to think of what might happen,”

Ahmad said. “Their society has been subject to turmoil and

destruction and are just now being brought back into mainstream

life.”

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