In late March 2015, President Ashraf Ghani traveled to the United States to meet with President Barack Obama. Together, they discussed achievements made over the course of the past 13 years in Afghanistan and devised a plan for the continued social and economic development of the region. Both presidents entered into a strategic partnership to address the challenges facing the nation as it becomes economically independent.
Afghanistan’s newly created National Unity Government highly values economic reform and has taken a number of steps to minimize corruption and encourage transparency throughout the nation. Since taking office, President Ghani has also taken action to increase employment and reduce poverty. Despite these steps toward a better future, the nation still struggles with a large illicit drug trade, a lack of regional connectivity, and substantial corruption. To address these problems, Presidents Obama and Ghani signed the New Development Partnership, which pledged $800 million in American economic assistance to Afghanistan for the most urgent needs.
In addition to this aid, the presidents agreed to resume meetings of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council to guide economic growth. President Obama also pledged greater cooperation between the U.S. Treasury Department and corresponding Afghan agencies.
The New Development Partnership emphasizes the role of human capital in the future of Afghanistan. President Ghani renewed his promise to expand educational opportunities to all Afghan children, whether male or female, and President Obama promised sustained support for this goal. The American president also announced an increase in Fulbright fellowships for Afghan students, in order to encourage continued educational, cultural, and economic exchange between the nations.
Outside of economic development, the two presidents also discussed measures for promoting peace and democracy in Afghanistan and beyond. Another major focus of their meeting was the need to restore public confidence in Afghanistan’s justice system.