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Leuvensesteenweg 13
3080 Tervuren - Belgium
Tel. (+32) 02 769 52 11
Fax (+32) 02 769 52 42


Théodore Trefon

Earth sciences

Geodynamics and mineral resources

Title:Trefon, T. 2011. Congo Masquerade: The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure. Series ‘African Arguments’. London : Zed Books and Royal Africa Society. 176 p. (PR) ISBN: 978-1-84813-836-0.
Abstract:The setting The international community has devoted substantial funding, human resources and diplomacy to re-establish security, reduce poverty, improve governance and macroeconomic management and rebuild infrastructure. The evaluation is resoundingly negative. International partners and Congolese authorities share responsibility in failing to implement real reform. Why? Congo’s international partners have no master plan for reform, do not share a common vision and often implement contradictory programmes. Congolese authorities obstruct reform efforts to maintain their positions of relative power. Reform policies superficially respond to symptoms without addressing the root causes of problems such as the violence that emerges from deeply entrenched historical factors, social imbalances, institutional weakness, corruption and diverging perceptions of the need for change. Analysis Through an analysis of the strategies, agendas and weaknesses of Congolese and international actors, this book explains the reasons for reform failure. It emphasizes the paradox of reform actors who are ambitious in their objectives but cynical about unsatisfactory results. It offers a theoretical framework that inspires similar critiques in other state rebuilding contexts and sheds new light on the nitty-gritty of aid inefficiency. Based on a political anthropological approach, Congo Masquerade presents a critical examination of why aid is not helping the Congo. The problems are identified and their causes are known but things are going from bad to worse. Yet Congolese society remains dynamic, strong and creative.

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