A Framework for Assessing Program and Project Aid in Low Income Countries Under Stress

Published on 1 January 2007

The Study Context

The international aid system faces real dilemmas and remains ill-equipped to respond to the peculiar challenges of quasi-statehood that characterise chronic political emergencies and their aftermath

(Macrae 2001, p0).

This reality has prompted a World Bank initiative to develop more systematic knowledge of how development agencies might most effectively engage in low income countries under stress (LICUS).[1]  The World Bank has produced a Task Force Report (World Bank 2002) on LICUS countries which has reviewed at length the issues involved in how to help poor countries “whose policies and institutions offer limited scope for poverty reduction through donor-supported programmes and projects”.  A specific research initiative is a study on how LICUS countries achieve turnaround.[2]

[1] There are 26 LICUS countries and a further eight on the margins.  Half of the LICUS countries are identified as post-conflict countries and in the others chronic poor governance impedes human development and growth; only a very few, which are “policy poor but resource rich” do not need finance, (World Bank, 2002).

[2] Defined as: a durable cessation of violent conflict; sustained economic growth; and, sustained improvement in the level of human development.


Martin Greeley

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
World Bank
Greeley, M.
Manor, J


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