International troops are to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014. Some of the country's future elite are getting trained up at the University of Bochum's Institute of Development Research and Development Policy.
Afghan graduates at the University of Bochum
Most attempts to create an alternative economy in Afghanistan have failed. Although there is a huge aid budget for the war-torn country, there are few qualified local experts who can spend the funds sustainably.
Khwaja Muhammad Ahmad-Zi teaches at an economics faculty in Kandahar and is part of a project for reconstructing Afghanistan's universities. He said he had chosen the University of Bochum’s Institute of Development Research and Development Policy mainly because of the economics courses.
"I want to be a part of politics in Afghanistan and the link between economy and politics is very important," he explained.
Many university faculties in Afghanistan look like this
He added that because the war had destroyed everything in his country, there were now great differences between his faculty in Kandahar and Bochum.
Drawing up a multi-lingual curriculum
The development institute in Bochum has been involved with the rebuilding of Afghan universities and colleges since 2002. The members of the project are currently trying to draw up a curriculum based on texts in English, Dari and Pashtu.
"The main interest of the international community regarding the reconstruction of Afghanistan is to help the country introduce the rule of law and democracy," explained Alexander Kupfer from the German Academic Exchange Service, which is also part of the project.
He added that it was in the international community's own "self-interest" to ensure that Afghanistan is not a threat to the world because of terrorism.
Need to build up infrastructure
The Afghan lecturers in Bochum are very aware of what needs to be done in their country.
"The war has destroyed our entire infrastructure," said Khwaja Muhammad Ahmad-Zi. "The biggest problem is drug-trafficking and there is no investment and therefore Afghanistan has no income."
Afghan candidates for the Master's program in Bochum
Moreover, there are very few "imports and exports", added his colleague Basir Ahmad Asifi. "We don’t have any electricity facilities, especially in Kabul. We have a big problem of corruption in the system. I think that these many problems should be solved."
The two Afghan academics said that they looked forward to being part of the solution.
Author: Ulrike Hummel (act)
Editor: Matthias von Hein