Weak States, strong elites and acquiescent donors: State-building and aid relationships in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2006-2016

Lindström, Camilla (2019) Weak States, strong elites and acquiescent donors: State-building and aid relationships in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2006-2016. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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This thesis contributes to theories about aid negotiations by researching how development assistance for state-building has been negotiated in a fragile state, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Using qualitative methods, mainly in the form of semi-structured interviews, I explore how, in the context of the various structural factors that surround the negotiations, the different actors have tried to influence these factors to their advantage and what strategies the donors and the government have used to reach their objectives. In contrast to countries such as Rwanda and Uganda, I found that the Congolese government hasn’t tried to use image management to ‘sell’ itself to the donors. Instead, its strategy has been to increase its negotiation capital by taking an aggressive approach in discourse with the donors. Donors have struggled to have a constructive dialogue with the government and have been reluctant, due to international norms of ownership and previous experiences, to use conditionality as a negotiating strategy.

To see how the strategies employed by donors and the government varied depending on the sector and level (central – district) at which engagement was taking place, I reviewed two large donor-funded programmes; one in the health sector, the other in the justice sector. I found that the strategies used in the two sectors did indeed vary quite substantially, with the consequence that the donors had more influence in the health than in the justice sector.

To add to the complexity, Congo is what researchers have described as an archetype for a hybrid state, where the state is sharing its authority and legitimacy with a large number of non-state actors, such as customary chiefs and faithbased organisations. In this thesis I explored what this meant for donor efforts to build state-capacity and how it affects aid negotiations. I conclude with the recommendation that donors would benefit from working more closely with nonstate actors in their efforts to build state-capacity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0800 Africa > HC0955 Congo
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 12:01
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 12:01
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89771

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