Dr. Saeed Parto,

Corruption has been high on the list of priorities for the Government of Afghanistan and its international donors since reconstruction began in 2001. Thus far, national and international efforts to curb corruption have been designed to clean up, rationalize and restructure key state institutions and administrative processes. These initiatives were designed to challenge Afghanistan’s ‘culture of corruption’ by mainstreaming anti-corruption values beyond institutional reform – to capacity building, law enforcement, administrative reform, and improved accountability mechanisms. To date little or no attempt has been made to deal with the more difficult aspect of corruption: the willingness of the general public and international donor organizations to acquiesce to and thus help perpetuate the corrupt practices of state actors. The result has been a strong tendency for institutional regression to pre-reform status and thus renewed opportunities for bureaucratic delay and the emergence and stabilization of an unhealthy equilibrium in transaction costs underpinned by institutionalized corruption. This presentation draws on a number of research projects conducted by APPRO revolving around various manifestations of corruption and ongoing challenges in fighting corruption in Afghanistan over the last decade. It argues that a change in the norms underlying institutionalized corruption requires measures ranging from procedural adjustments (short term) to increased oversight and enforcement (medium term) to value-based behavioral change among the government officials, foreign aid providers, and the general public through awareness raising, education, and a system of incentives and disincentives (long term). The presentation concludes with a series of recommendations on ways forward and the role of research in future efforts to tackle corruption.

About the speaker
Saeed Parto holds a doctorate in Economic Geography from the University of Waterloo, Canada and specializes in policy and institutional analysis. His academic and consultancy work has centred on analyzing policy and institutions of governance in a wide array of areas including capacity building through development aid programmes (Afghanistan, Ghana, India, Nigeria, and Vietnam), industrial clustering (South Africa, Egypt, and Afghanistan), regional integration (Turkey and the European Union), environmental policy (Canada, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Afghanistan), technological transitions (Europe and Japan), and industrial greening (Canada). He has been a Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University since 2003. He is also a co-founder and Director of Research at Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO – based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 15 November 2012

Time: 12:30 - 13:30  CET