Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was born in 1949 in Afghanistan’s Logar province. He is an ethnic Pakhtun and hails from the Ahmadzai tribe. Ghani received his early education from Kabul and then graduated from the American University in Beirut. He subsequently received his PhD from Columbia University.
Ghani is widely known for his global, determined efforts to eliminate poverty. He had been a part of various organisations which aim to improve living conditions. He is a member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, also the Co-founder of Institute for State Effectiveness and a member of the Board of Directors of the World Justice Project.
He served as finance minister after the downfall of the Taliban in Afghanistan and also worked as a chief advisor to Hamid Karzai. Ghani had received accolades from around the globe along with the prestigious Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan Medal, the highest civilian award in Afghanistan. He was also acknowledged as the Best Finance Minister of Asia in 2003 by Emerging Markets.
Peculiar to other candidates, Ghani was among the first officials to unveil his assets upon his return to Afghanistan.
He also contested in the 2009 election but only managed to secure three per cent of the votes – coming fourth behind Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and Ramazan Bashardost.
For the 2014 campaign, his alliance with Abdul Rashid Dostum and selection of latter as one of his vice presidential nominees has landed him in criticism from several quarters. But at the same time, Dostum’s support could lead to substantial electoral gains for Ghani. Ghani’s other vice presidential nominee is Sarwar Danish.
- Research and text by Sara Alam