The University of Central Asia (UCA) and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance have had a long-term partnership since 2013 to assist in building capacity. The Ministry of Finance plays a critical role in the overall responsibility for developing the country’s fiscal and economic policy framework, including overseeing the implementation of the enormous development budget. Having capable staff in this Ministry is a high priority.

In 2017, UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) partnered with the Ministry to deliver an Executive Masters in Economic Policy (EMEP) to promising middle-management staff, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).  This initiative was funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre, the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan.

To-date, over 50 learners have completed this program, of whom a third were women. Students were selected on a competitive basis by a panel that, in addition to senior Ministry staff, included representatives from UCA and the Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan.  The program was delivered in the Kyrgyz Republic in three intensive sessions, two in Bishkek and one at UCA’s Naryn campus, each lasting a month.  It included a distance education component, and a policy paper as a capstone project that was defended before a panel senior ministry of executives.

Quite a number of EMEP graduates have received promotions following their participation in this program.  Another EMEP graduation for 32 Afghan civil servants will be held in March 2020.

EMEP comprises of eleven modules, and equips learners with sound theoretical knowledge, and tools of economic management, and policymaking required to tackle specific issues facing the country. The curriculum reflects research from 10 working papers that provided an in-depth and up-to-date analysis of issues covered in the courses.

The Executive Master program builds on IPPA’s previous program, the Certificate in Policy Analysis, which was offered to 26 civil servants in 2014 and 2015 in partnership with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance.

IPPA is part of the University of Central Asia’s Graduate School of Development, and was established in 2011 to strengthen public policy in the region focusing on economic and social issues. It has a Working Paper series, a peer-reviewed monographic journal that has released 55 papers to date, and is a learning source of regionally produced knowledge.