A Thousand Thumbs in the Dike: Microlending and a New Role for International Finance in Afghanistan

By Woda, Joshua D. | Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

A Thousand Thumbs in the Dike: Microlending and a New Role for International Finance in Afghanistan


Woda, Joshua D., Suffolk Transnational Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

The villages of the Jurm valley sit in the mountains of the remote Afghan province of Badakhshan. (1) Though never conquered by the Taliban in its rise to power, like most of Afghanistan the valley's infrastructure, economy, and even the social bonds of its communities have been devastated by three decades of conflict. (2) Prior to 2003, the villages were dependent on poppy farming, had no electricity or clean water, and suffered from a shocking maternal mortality rate. (3) Seven years later, the relative prosperity of the valley now stands in stark contrast to the prevailing depravation of Afghanistan and provides an example of how international donors can foster development, raise literacy, and improve security through the use of small, direct loans. (4) By bypassing the corrupt central government, grants have been used to build and staff the valley's first women's high school, increase literacy, train midwives, and build irrigation systems for wheat farming. (5) Says one Jurm farmer: "the jihad was useless ... now we've put down our weapons and started building." (6)

This Note argues that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), must play a central role in developing poverty alleviation programs and bringing Afghan governance into line with international norms. (7) Part II describes the role of microcredit and the IFIs in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. (8) In Part III, this Note discusses the applicable international and Afghan law that governs the conduct of the IFIs in Afghanistan. (9) Part IV provides an analysis of why the IFIs must play a principal role in the implementation of a comprehensive development plan, anchored by microfinance initiatives, which recognizes that promoting social justice is essential to Afghanistan's long-term stability. (10)

II. HISTORY: AFGHANISTAN, THE FALL OF THE TALIBAN AND THE REINTRODUCTION OF INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL

After a prolonged period of disregard by the international community, the economic and humanitarian plight of Afghanistan reemerged in the world's consciousness as U.S. airstrikes precipitated the disintegration of the Taliban government in October 2001. (11) Despite massive investment in the Afghanistan project, neither the United States nor the IFIs have succeeded in building a viable Afghan state. (12) U.S. President Barack Obama has reaffirmed his administration's dedication to seeing the Afghan project to fruition by authorizing a temporary surge of forces. (13) While the influx of troops and civilians has for a time captured the world's attention, the pivotal question is whether this strategy will be reinforced by the prolonged international commitment to Afghanistan that is essential to its success. (14)

A. The IFIs in Afghanistan, 2001-Present

1. The Function of the IFIs

As Nazi-Germany began its inexorable collapse, the IMF and World Bank were established to assist in the reconstruction of a devastated Europe and to ward off a recurrence of the financial crisis that triggered the catastrophic conflict. (15) The fundamental goals of the IFIs, as envisioned at their founding, were to raise standards of living and facilitate the balanced and fair growth of international trade. (16) The IFIs later acceded to a number of other roles, one of the most important being to lead international efforts to reconstruct post-conflict regions. (17)

The IMF's most critical function is to provide emergency financing to states in danger of defaulting on sovereign debt. (18) The IMF is not an aid agency, and consequently restricts its dealings to the central banks of recognized national governments. (19) Rich nations deliver hard currency to the IMF which then provides loans, not grants, to nations in danger of default. (20) In post-conflict states, the IMF has provided emergency assistance to restore the fiscal viability of governments and thereby avert humanitarian disasters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Thousand Thumbs in the Dike: Microlending and a New Role for International Finance in Afghanistan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.