Experts for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan

Significant progress has been made in recent years in reconstructing Afghan ministries and administrative systems. Today, Afghan institutions are increasingly managing reconstruction and donor coordination themselves.


Nevertheless, the development of transparent and efficient administrative structures remains one of the greatest challenges for the country, as many highly skilled individuals have left their homes to escape war
and political unrest.This extensive brain drain means that the country lacks expertise in key areas. Highly qualified Afghan specialists are urgently needed to stabilise the country.


Afghanistan’s public authorities are able to operate transparently and efficiently. Afghan institutions offer important state services, thus enhancing the level of acceptance of the state. Ministries and public offices receive support in independently launching and managing development measures and coordinating donor activities, thus contributing to the stabilisation of Afghanistan. Improvements that are felt quickly, if possible, are pursued.

Measures and Results

The German government is enhancing the skills of Afghan authorities by placing experts in influential positions within authorities. Their expertise strengthens administrative structures, and thus the economic and social development of the country.

Returning and integrated experts strengthen knowledge

The programme focuses on two groups of experts: integrated experts and returning experts.

Returning experts are Afghans who have studied or acquired specialist work experience in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, and who now wish to return to their own country. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH places these well-trained specialists in ministries, public authorities and universities, where they hold key development positions. This Return of Talents approach ensures that some of the expertise lost through outward migration is restored to Afghanistan. In addition, the returning Afghan experts pass on their knowledge to colleagues, thus ensuring that knowledge is sustainably mainstreamed in public offices and universities. These ‘bridge builders’ also foster dialogue between Afghanistan, Germany and other international partners.

GIZ offers returning experts extensive advisory services and a wide spectrum of networking opportunities, and tops up their local salary for a period of up to three years.

For example, one foreign-trained expert, who has now returned to Afghanistan, is advising the government chief executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah on gender equality and politics. In order to strengthen women’s rights in Afghanistan, she established an executive committee, which develops concepts for the advancement of women’s interests, and tracks and reports cases of violence against women. Furthermore, the returning expert has founded an interest group to strengthen the role of women in the peace process. This group offers a platform for discussion that can be used by women from Afghan civil society.

Integrated experts are highly qualified experts and managers from the European labour market who are assigned in Afghanistan. GIZ places them in conjunction with the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), in response to requests received from Afghan employers. These foreign experts work in influential positions in selected institutions, where they help develop administrative and managerial capacities. They are employed by local partners on the basis of a local contract, and receive a top up to their salary from GIZ.

One integrated expert, for instance, heads the diplomatic institute within Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his role, he has reformed the process used to select future diplomats in line with international standards and is ensuring transparency in the selection of candidates. Moreover, he established a degree course in International Relations and Political Science, offering an important foundation for diplomat training. Some 900 prospective members of the diplomatic service have thus benefited from improved services and the institute’s new range of education and training.

Returning with a future – assignment to key positions

For many returning experts, the programme offers a chance to begin a career with a state employer. After their assignment, many experts continue to hold key positions in areas such as good governance, security, domestic and foreign policy, business and economics, transport, education, higher education, and culture and the media. Some programme participants have gone on to become mayors of important towns and cities in Afghanistan, while others head divisions within public authorities or universities, or represent their country abroad as ambassadors. The project thus gives Afghan experts a chance to make a significant contribution to the development of their country.

At a glance

Support to the development of Afghan ministries and administrative systems at national and sub-national level
Commissioned by:
German Federal Foreign Office
Afghan ministries and state institutions
Implementing organisations:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Balkh, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Nangahar, Paktia, Samangan
Programme objective:
To establish effective and transparent authorities to stabilise the country
Overall term:
January 2010 – December 2020