SERIES: Global Working Papers | No. 52 of 83 « Previous | Next »

Establishing Good Governance in Fragile States Through Reconstruction Projects: Lessons from Iraq


  • In the past decade, the strengthening of good governance in developing countries has been both an objective of and a condition for development assistance.
  • Iraq is a typical example of a fragile country that is reconstructing without an effective government or political stability.
  • We argue that the JICA project in Iraq results in positive development because (1) the quantity and quality of the donor’s involvement is high; (2) there exists a social recognition system in the recipient government that evaluates their achievements in front of their peers; and/or (3) a neutral mediator facilitates the communication between the donor and recipient agencies.

Countries in transition often go through periods of upheaval and weak governance and Iraq is a prime example. Usually donor agencies hesitate to increase their support as they face two key problems in post-conflict or post-revolution situations: (1) high security risk for transparent implementation; and (2) poor government effectiveness, marred by corruption, ethnic tensions and economic stagnation. But this is precisely the time when donor engagement is needed most. By using the experience of JICA projects in Iraq, we argue that donors should not withdraw their support in difficult post-conflict situations. The paper proposes three mechanisms – information; social recognition; and mediation mechanisms – to solve such difficulties in a post-conflict society. The empirical analysis shows that more intensive communication between donor and government officials especially leads to a positive impact even in war-torn Iraq.

SERIES: Global Working Papers | No. 52