An anthropologist, economist and polyglot, he is noted for nation-building, economic reconstruction, and global governance.

Foreign invasion and civil war has shattered his family, and forced him to remain in exile.

This hot-headed intellectual shunned his US citizenship to enter the complex arena of Afghanistan politics.


Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was born on February 12, 1949 in Logar Province of Afghanistan.  Growing up in Kabul under monarchy, where his father worked in various senior capacities, he has been immersed in politics from his early days.

Habibia High School, Kabul; American University, Beirut; and Columbia University, New York are his alma maters.


He joined the World Bank in 1991 as lead anthropologist, working on projects in East and South Asia. In 1996, he pioneered the application of institutional and organizational analysis to macro processes of change and reform.

Ghani spent five years each in China, India, and Russia managing development and institutional transformation. He worked intensively with the media during the first Gulf War, commenting on radio and television and in newspaper interviews.

He returned to Afghanistan and joined the government as chief advisor to President in 2002. He served as finance minister from 2002-2004. He carried extensive reforms, including issuing a new currency, computerizing treasury operations, adopting a policy of balanced budgets, centralizing revenue collection and tariff reform.

He left the cabinet after the 2004 elections and asked to be appointed as Chancellor of Kabul University. As Chancellor, he instituted participatory governance among the faculty, students and staff.

Ghani subsequently founded the Institute for State Effectiveness in 2005, to help governments and their international partners to build more effective, accountable systems of government.


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