JICA Research Institute


Working Papers

No.5 State-building in Fragile Situations: Japanese Aid Experiences in Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Mindanao

After the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, Cambodia set about the difficult process of state-building. Despite violent clashes in 1997-98, the Cambodian government has been largely successful in establishing full control of military forces, into which former Khmer Rouge soldiers have been reintegrated. The Cambodian government, with support of donors, successfully improved infrastructure throughout the country, built up capacity in key state institutions, and provided basic public services to the people. Behind these achievements was assistance from a grassroots network built by the Cambodian People‟s Party (CPP) in the 1980s. This network is characterized by patronage connections between the government and village chiefs, and between the latter and villagers. Consequently, the legitimacy of the state has been strengthened. In contrast, social empowerment has been delayed, and people's political rights and freedoms have been restricted by the state. As shown by the recent increase of corruption charges and land tenure disputes, the imbalance between the powerful state and a stunted civil society is a potential factor of instability.

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