Working Paper

Working paper 2018.08

Real Governance in the DRC (2003-2016): Between Reforms and White Elephants

Published on 1 August 2018

In this study, we explore if claims of ‘good’ (improving) economic governance are factual in DRC, particularly over the 2003-2016 period. We analyze the role of institutional reforms (mainly those of former P. M. Matata Ponyo) for gains in economic governance and how this compares to failures in basic functions of the state. We show how recent gains in economic growth and contentions of ‘good’ governance (in public institutions, big projects, etc.) overlap a ‘real’ governance composed of competitive clientelism and elite capture. In this regard, we document a list of major reforms and the ‘resistance’ to such reforms posed by the political elite. We also discuss the economics and governance of mega projects (often termed as ‘white elephants’) in the agribusiness sector, i.e. Parcs Agro-Industriels. By focusing on one major project (Bukanga-Lonzo), we depict the role and dynamics of key private actors and personalities.

Cite this publication

Marysse, S., & Megersa, K. (2018). Real Governance in the DRC (2003-2016): between reforms and white elephants. Working paper (no. 2018.08). University of Antwerp, Institute of Development Policy and Management.


Kelbesa Megersa

Research Officer

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