Donors, State Building and Corruption: lessons from Afghanistan and the implications for aid policy

This article critically analyses the state-building agenda from a governance and aid policy perspective, and from an anti-corruption viewpoint in particular, highlighting potential problems with both theoretical and practical applications of state building in a development context. Inconsistencies and contradictions between the state building and anti-corruption work have not been adequately explored or reconciled. In particular, the article explores these tensions using the example of the Performance-Based Governors’ Fund (pbgf) in Afghanistan, where some donors are looking to reduce corruption in local government, encouraging often ‘warlord’ governors to run their administrative offices with integrity. The article argues that the pbgfapproach—with its themes of being realistic, going for indirect strategies over the long term and building integrity rather than fighting corruption, provide important lessons for the anti-corruption community as a whole, both at the level of theory and practice.

Tags: , ,