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Developing capacity in fragile states


  • Derick W. Brinkerhoff
  • Derick W. Brinkerhoff


How can fragile states and the international community strengthen capacity and find a path from fragility to socio‐economic progress? This article offers some answers to this question. The discussion opens with brief overviews of capacity and capacity development (CD), and then turns to capacity targets in fragile states. Almost any CD choice involves trade‐offs and dilemmas. The article explores the following: state versus non‐state service provision, services now versus institutional strengthening, immediate security versus long‐term stability, technical versus political factors and external actors and local capacity. A model of CD intervention is presented. The model identifies three dimensions that can be used to characterise interventions to build capacity: the amount of time required, the degree of difficulty and complexity and the scope and depth of the change involved. The implications of the model are identified. The article concludes with some emerging guidance for CD. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Derick W. Brinkerhoff & Derick W. Brinkerhoff, 2010. "Developing capacity in fragile states," Public Administration & Development, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(1), pages 66-78, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:padxxx:v:30:y:2010:i:1:p:66-78

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    Cited by:

    1. Addison Tony & Niño-Zarazúa Miguel & Singhal Saurabh & Gisselquist Rachel M., 2015. "Needs vs expediency: Poverty reduction and social development in post-conflict countries," WIDER Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Chaney, Paul, 2016. "Civil Society and Gender Mainstreaming: Empirical Evidence and Theory-Building from Twelve Post-Conflict Countries 2005–15," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 280-294.

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