In this video Dr. Graciana del Castillo joins UNU Rector David M. Malone to discuss economic reconstruction of countries in conflict, focusing on her recent work in Afghanistan.
Dr. del Castillo highlights the need to “go back to basics and try to create livelihoods” in Afghanistan by focusing on local agricultural needs — subsistence instead of infrastructure-intensive commercial agriculture. From the perspective of her new book, Guilty Party: The International Community in Afghanistan, she critically examines the mismatch between the country’s fundamental local needs and the massive amounts of international aid that have buoyed construction of institutions that will only survive with more aid and international support.
She stresses the importance of focusing on reconciliation among armed groups in order to reduce unsustainable security costs. Only then can the country start “making up for the deficiencies in the past”, successfully focus on local economic growth, and move beyond a fragmented development approach which has resulted in alarming GDP deficits and has denied the country a path to true prosperity.