DROPS invites interested female researchers to contribute to the 2nd edition of its peer reviewed annual, Women and Public Policy Journal (WPPJ), which will explore the challenges and opportunities that confront Afghanistan’s economic development in the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).

Over a decade of deeply flawed international development efforts combined with an ill-timed and ill-prepared political and security transition process (2011-2014) has left Afghanistan’s economy in a crisis – riddled with an environment shaped by insecurity and political instability – making efforts to create a sustainable economic future for the country a daunting and tough task.

The rate of economic growth in Afghanistan, which averaged at 11.25% between 2003 and 2011, fell to a startling 1.3% by 2014. While on one hand the political transition marked the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in the country’s history, on the other hand, it laid the foundation for political crises instead of political stability. Delays in the formation of the National Unity Government and the cabinet, divisions between the President and that of the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) offices, and slow implementation of reform promises have all varyingly caused and fueled the multiple crises. Similarly, the security transition, which transferred security responsibilities from international forces to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and facilitated the withdrawal of international forces in December 2014 – led to a spike in the frequency of violent incidents and increasing civilian casualties instead of improving security. These factors have combined to deepen local fears of an escalation in violence and lawlessness and nothing illustrates this clearer than 40,000 plus Afghans who left Afghanistan in 2015.

After over ten years of international development efforts, today, the country finds itself in an economic crisis resulting from the withdrawal of foreign troops, decline in aid, and failures of transition. In 2015, investment declined by 30%; trade declined by 20%; unemployment increased by 24% – almost a quarter of Afghanistan’s 29 million population; and 36.5% of the Afghans found themselves below the national poverty line.

This state-of-affairs reflects the numerous barriers Afghanistan faces in its pursuit of peace, recovery, and productivity in the next 10 years, labeled the ‘Decade of Transformation’.

“Poverty may not lead directly to war but it certainly is not conducive to peace. Thus the search for peace must accordingly include a search for human economic and social betterment.”
Outlining the trajectory towards actualizing human economic and social betterment in the coming decade, the Afghan government and its international partners developed the document, titled ‘Towards Self-Reliance Strategic Vision for the Transformation Decade’. Under this framework, the country commits itself to assuming and leading all development initiatives by 2015, paving the way for economic growth, fiscal sustainability and sustainable human development. Moreover, it commits itself to reaching the end of the decade of transformation by 2025, by marking a reduction in its dependence on international assistance in non-security sectors to levels consistent with other least developed nations.

To achieve self-reliance in the transformation decade, the Afghan government identified several economic priority areas that it will work towards developing and reforming.

These areas include:

1. Encouraging private investment and job creation
2. Identifying sources and opportunities for revenue generation
3. Unlocking the potential of Afghanistan’s natural resource industry
4. Improving energy supply
5. Building efficient information, communication and telecommunication infrastructure.
6. Ensuring agriculture and rural development
7. Building better governance to bring about needed reform and improve the economy
8. Promoting regional economic integration, in areas such as:
a. Regional partnerships towards advancing economic
b. Cooperation and integration
c. Regional connectivity,
d. Free and fair trade
e. Joint cross-border investments
f. Creation of a favorable regional business environment
9. Sustainable and effective use of development aid
10. Increasing women’s role in the private and public economic sector

DROPS invites women from the research, academic, government, and private sectors to choose one of the above mentioned priority areas and contribute an analytical paper between 4000-5000 words, which offers a gender lens that examines how each economic priority area can help stem and reduce the deepening economic crises the country faces, and also makes recommendations towards achieving sustainable and long-term economic growth in Afghanistan.

Dates for submission, editing, and peer review of each paper to keep in mind, include:

• Deadline for expression of interest and 300-word abstracts: 11 April 2016
• Deadline for submission of the first draft: 30 May 2016.
• Deadline for submission of the second draft: 16 June 2016
• Peer review period: 16 June-05 July 2016
• Deadline for submission of the third draft (after addressing the Peer Reviewers’ comments/recommendations/suggestions): 15 July 2016.
• Copy-editing period: 15 July- 15August 2016.
• Deadline for submission of the final draft (after addressing the copy-editor’s comments): 15 August – 15 September 2016
• Journal Launch: At the end of November 2016, DROPS will launch the Journal, inviting all key stakeholders and media, where the authors will present their research findings.

Note: All materials produced for the WPPJ will become the intellectual property of DROPS. However, authors will be fully credited for their contribution and related usage of the material. DROPS also retains the right to make editorial changes in the process of finalising the publication. Nonetheless, every effort will be undertaken to consult the authors in the process of developing the finalised draft.

Interested authors are requested to submit a half-page proposal (300 words maximum) identifying the topic of interest and abstract to DROPS Facilitator Rohina Kakar at info@dropsafghanistan.org.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries or require further information.

We look forward to working with you on this exciting and innovative project.