Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s meeting with U.S. officials in Washington serves as a ground in which a shared and cooperative approach to combat corruption can be laid out, according to two development experts.
In their article for the Real Clear World, Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and John D. Sullivan, executive director of the Center for International Private Enterprise, note the success of different anti-corruption approaches such as the top-down approach in South Korea, and the bottom-up approach in Russia. India and Serbia also have success stories to tell.
For Afghanistan, the authors propose a comprehensive bottom-up approach, which entails the following:
- The Afghan parliament should draft a law clearly defining conflict of interest.
- Provincial councils should establish anti-corruption commissions or an office of the ombudsman.
- Taxation rules should be simplified and made more transparent.
- Competition laws should be strengthened to prevent monopoly control of key economic sectors such as fuel.
- Civil society and media must be empowered to mobilize public opinion and ensure accountability.
- Technology must be used to automate and streamline government procedures.
The U.S., Khalilzad and Sullivan stress, should continue combating corruption within its own contracting and procurement processes, and it must also reform its contracting system to enhance aid oversight and accountability.