Afghanistan has made impressive progress in developing its civil service over the past five years. Successful reforms have been carried out in key ministries, including the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Reconstruction and Rural Development. Reforms have included the development of a sustainable public pay policy, recruitment of competent staff, and restructuring of ministries to make them more effective. Reform is also on track in other important ministries, including the Ministry of Education, which makes up half of the civil service.
DFID has made an important contribution to this, in particular through its £1.7 million contribution to the World Bank's Public Administration Programme. This supports the Afghan Civil Service Commission in implementing reform. A recent DFID evaluation found that good progress had been made towards the civil service reform benchmarks set out in the Afghanistan Compact: a sustainable and restructured public administration; a strengthened Civil Service Commission; and a transparent merit-based recruitment system. But challenges remain. The Civil Service Commission needs additional capacity, especially in the provinces. Merit-based recruitment systems need strengthening. And political will is needed to drive further reform through the ministries. DFID is working closely with the World Bank and Government of Afghanistan on longer-term support to address this.