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Title: Beyond the governance state : aid relations and state reforms in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Author: Moshonas , Stylianos
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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The Democratic Republic of Congo has been engaged since 2001 in a triple transition process towards liberalisation, democratisation, and peace. Throughout this movement, external actors (donors, international financial institutions, the UN system, aid agencies) have played a leading role, effectively setting the orientations and modalities of this transition, including their institutional dimension. Congolese actors have not been passively subjected to this process, however, but have potently shaped it in various ways. This thesis sets out to investigate the relationship between international aid partners and various Congolese actors. It examines this relationship as an aspect of the state reform process, with particular reference to the administration. The thesis argues that the pace and nature of reform has been compromised by the contradictions inherent within the process itself, as advocated by international partners, and by the ability of Congolese power holders to accommodate and co-opt such reforms in line with their own political strategies. This situation is not unprecedented, as shown by an incursion into Zaire's politico-administrative history, especially during the decades of structural adjustment. An examination of the politics of administrative reform in the last decade, as well as the compromises generated in other reform areas, poignantly illustrate the accommodative dynamics arising out of the political strategies of donors and the Congolese authorities. On the one hand, donors have been content pushing forward a vast array of state reforms, but have been reluctant to follow them through; additionally, they have misconceived Congolese social and political dynamics, and have been prone to tacitly accommodate poor results and inconclusive outcomes. The Congolese authorities - and especially the presidency - have navigated reforms following political strategies often aligned to preoccupations of political expediency and power consolidation which the democratisation context has exacerbated. These features of the aid relationship in Congo provide strong grounds for a critique of dominant tropes of interpretation of the Congo's reform landscape, which revolve around the absence of political will, inadequate ownership, or reform failure. Instead, much of the above points towards the fact that the nature of the relations tying the Congo to its international partners is better grasped as one of accommodation and compromise: despite the dismay of donors, this situation - which is partly of their own making - has not led to withdrawal, suggesting that continued engagement rests on the strategic importance of Congo, in terms of security and the safeguarding of past and present involvement - ranging from the securing of stability to the definition of development policies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available