Afghanistan’s struggle to build lasting democratic institutions is complicated by a deteriorating security environment, a flagging economy and political uncertainty. In turn, political infighting often paralyzes plans for economic reform, reconstruction, battling corruption and securing the country. However, CIPE’s decade of experience in Afghanistan shows that incremental progress towards a stronger democracy and economic growth is possible by focusing on the right partners and right approaches.
Working at the provincial level, CIPE and its partners seek to strengthen the relationship between state and society by showing citizens that democracy can deliver tangible economic gains, which is critical to undergirding Afghanistan’s long-term stability. By the same token, CIPE seeks to increase citizen participation in decision-making, which helps to strengthen both Afghanistan’s institutions and people’s trust in democracy. In particular, CIPE is supporting business groups across the country – in Nangarhar, Herat, Balkh, and Kandahar provinces – to carry out targeted policy advocacy programs to improve business-enabling environment, called Provincial Business Agendas, which are resolving concrete issues facing local entrepreneurs.