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Towers of strength in turbulent times? Assessing the effectiveness of international support to peace and democracy in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of interethnic violence


  • Fiedler, Charlotte


The main aim of this study is to assess and explain the influence (or lack thereof) of international engagement on significant political developments in countries struggling to consolidate peace and democracy. Therefore, the study analyses major milestones, or critical junctures, in Kenya’s and Kyrgyzstan’s peace and democratisation process. The two countries can both be considered fragile states – a group of countries with distinct challenges that the policy world is still struggling to effectively respond to. Similar critical junctures were analysed for the two countries, concentrating on international support for peace and democracy after both experienced major outbreaks of violence (2007 in Kenya; 2010 in Kyrgyzstan). More specifically, the focus lay on whether donors contributed to 1) ending and overcoming interethnic violence, 2) restructuring the political systems through new constitutions and 3) holding the first elections after violence had taken place. The analysis shows that first, donors had a considerably larger impact on the political process in Kenya than in Kyrgyzstan, second, that these two countries have been particularly struggling with state legitimacy and continue to do so and third, that three factors influenced international actors’ success or failure to effectively promote peace and democracy in the two countries: cooperative vs. coercive forms of support, donor coordination and prioritising stability over democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiedler, Charlotte, 2015. "Towers of strength in turbulent times? Assessing the effectiveness of international support to peace and democracy in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of interethnic violence," Discussion Papers 6/2015, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:diedps:62015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marina Ottaway, 2002. "Rebuilding State Institutions in Collapsed States," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 33(5), pages 1001-1023, November.
    2. Bigsten, Arne & Tengstam, Sven, 2015. "International Coordination and the Effectiveness of Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 75-85.
    3. William Easterly & Tobias Pfutze, 2008. "Where Does the Money Go? Best and Worst Practices in Foreign Aid," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 29-52, Spring.
    4. Walter, Barbara F., 1997. "The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 335-364, July.
    5. Fortna, Virginia Page, 2003. "Scraps of Paper? Agreements and the Durability of Peace," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 337-372, April.
    6. Doyle, Michael W. & Sambanis, Nicholas, 2000. "International Peacebuilding: A Theoretical and Quantitative Analysis," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 779-801, December.
    7. James Boyce, 2003. "Aid, Conditionality, and War Economies," Working Papers wp70, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    8. Mansfield, Edward D. & Snyder, Jack, 2002. "Democratic Transitions, Institutional Strength, and War," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 297-337, April.
    9. William Easterly, 2007. "Are aid agencies improving?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 633-678, October.
    10. Dercon, Stefan & Gutiérrez-Romero, Roxana, 2012. "Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 731-744.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joerg Mayer, 2017. "How Could the South Respond to Secular Stagnation in the North?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 314-335, February.
    2. Altenburg, Tilman & Kulke, Elmar & Reeg, Caroline & Peterskovsky, Lisa & Hampel-Milagrosa, Aimée, 2016. "Making retail modernisation in developing countries inclusive: a development policy perspective," Discussion Papers 2/2016, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    3. Reeg, Caroline, 2015. "Micro and small enterprises as drivers for job creation and decent work," Discussion Papers 10/2015, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).


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