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 marginalised, 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' extensive research in the field of political and economic transitions, Dr Ashraf Ghani will discuss why tackling economic questions is essential for a successful transition. He will share experiences from the past, and reflect on how they can help us prepare for present and future challenges.


Dr Ashraf Ghani, Co-founder and Chairman, Institute for State Effectiveness and Chair, Transition Commission in Afghanistan

Introductory remarks

Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy


Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute

The event will take place at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C.


The event will be broadcast via livestream at 12:15 EST / 17:15 GMT. To view the livestream, click here.

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' organised 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 $28bn reconstruction programme 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.

About the Transitions Forum

The 'Transitions Lecture Series' is part of the Legatum Institute's 'Transitions Forum', a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.

Attendance at Legatum Institute events is by invitation only and RSVP is required. If you are interested in attending an event or would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact info@li.com.