Negotiating Public Services in the Congo

State, Society and Governance

Edited by Tom De Herdt and Kristof Titeca


An essential exploration of the DRC’s hybrid forms of governance and the challenges posed in delivering vital public services.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been widely derided as a failed state, unable to meet the basic needs of its citizens. But while state infrastructure continues to decay, many essential services continue to be provided at the local level, often through grassroots initiatives. So while, for example, state funding for education is almost non-existent, average school enrolment remains well above average for Sub-Saharan Africa.

This book addresses this paradox, bringing together key scholars working on public services in the DRC to elucidate the evolving nature of governance in developing countries. Its contributions encompass a wide range of public services, including education, justice, transport, and health. Taking stock of what functions and why, it contributes to the debate on public services in the context of ‘real’ or ‘hybrid’ governance beyond the state: does the state still have a function, or is it no longer useful and relevant? Crucially, how does international aid help or complicate this picture?

Rich in empirical detail, the contributors provide a valuable work for students and scholars interested in the role played by non-state actors in organizing statehood – a role too often neglected in debates on post-conflict reconstruction.

Author Bio

Kristof Titeca lectures at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp. He was previously a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. He has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post, and has also written for outlets such as Al Jazeera, African Arguments and others.

Tom De Herdt is a professor of development at the University of Antwerp, and current chair of the university’s Institute of Development Policy and Management. He has previously lectured at he Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua, and has coordinated consultancy projects on behalf of UNICEF. His previous works include Real Governance and Practical Norms in Sub-Saharan Africa (co-edited with Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, 2015).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - Tom De Herdt & Kristof Titeca
  • Part 1. Public Services and the state
  • 2. State reform in the DRC - Stylianos Moshonas
  • 3. Neighborhood chiefs in the DRC - Stephanie Perazzone
  • 4. The donors and the predatory state - Camilla Lindstrom
  • Part 2. Case-studies
  • 5. Electricity provision in Kinshasa - Jean-Pierre Mpiana Tshitenge
  • 6. Police at work in Bukavu - Michel Thill
  • 7. The public transport sector in Kinshasa - Albert Malukisa Nkuku and Kristof Titeca
  • 8. Garbage collection in Bukavu - Randi Solhjell
  • 9. Land management in Eastern DRC - Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka & Klara Claessens
  • 10. Justice and security in Haut Uele - Kristof Titeca


Publication Date: 15 June 2019
272 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786994004
Hardback: 9781786993991
eBook ePub: 9781786994028
eBook PDF: 9781786994011
eBook Kindle: 9781786994035

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