Engagement with Non-State Service Providers in Fragile States: Reconciling State-Building and Service Delivery


  • The article is based on a study commissioned by the UK Department for International Development through the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (http://www.gsdrc.org).

(correspondence: r.a.batley@bham.ac.uk)


The OECD questions whether non-state services in fragile states may delegitimise the state in the eyes of citizens, arguing that ‘state-building’ depends on governments’ engagement in service management. This article reviews the available evidence to identify what types of engagement are feasible and most likely to contribute to service delivery, or not to damage it. It considers the capacity requirements and the risks associated with state intervention through policy formulation, regulation, contracting and mutual agreements, and concludes by identifying ways of incrementally involving the state, beginning with activities that are least likely to do harm to non-state provision.