Environmental Economics & Policies; Governance Indicators; Economic Theory & Research; National Governance; Poverty Assessment; Public Health Promotion; Decentralization
Summary: This paper analyzes the enormous obstacles that the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces in forming a stable, development-oriented state. No government could design, implement, and finance a development program for the country without coordinated analytical and financial support from the international community. And such support can be successful only if a powerful post reform coalition emerges that has a stake in maintaining the reforms. Torn by civil war for years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) has been in severe economic and political crisis. It lacks the prerequisites for a stable, development-oriented state: a sound fiscal base, revenue-generating ability, administrative capabilities, a monopoly over the means of coercion, and representative institutions that facilitate bargaining and decisionmaking about development strategies, policies, and programs. The authors examine the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in light of the growing literature on the formation of states. They show that the country has many material features that have characterized coercion-intensive societies stuck in adverse policy traps. These include low population density, poor infrastructure, dominance of the mining sector, and an underdeveloped private sector and capitalist class. There are no truly national pressure groups with common economic interests. The administrative and bureaucratic apparatus is patrimonial, centralized, and poorly qualified. The prerequisites of stable, development-oriented decision-making-bargaining among equally powerful groups can therefore not emerge. Any coalition wanting to promote the emergence of a development-oriented state would therefore be dependent on continual, coordinated, long-term financial and policy support from the international community to build the central preconditions for a stable, growth-oriented state. Such a strategy, the authors say, must be based on social peace, the development of free markets (both urban and rural), a capitalist class, decentralization of government, and the strengthening of countervailing civic organizations at all levels. Institutions for representation and mechanisms for accountability will not function unless independent pressure groups emerge to counterbalance coercive state tendencies, as well as one another's tendencies to build and abuse power. These include labor unions, farmers organizations, and other national interest groups that can cut across regional and tribal affiliations. The authors use the framework they develop to propose priorities for a future government and the associated external support.
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