Ambivalent outcomes of statebuilding: multiplication of brokers and educational expansion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2004–13)
This empirical article explores how the interaction between two key aspects of statebuilding (democratisation and decentralisation) and existing forms of governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo led to a multiplication in numbers of political and administrative brokers. Furthermore, it investigates how these brokers construct their roles well beyond official mandates. Responding to local demands, they circumvent formal procedures in order to obtain decrees accrediting public primary and secondary schools. As a result, the number of public schools has almost tripled since the early 2000s. Building on qualitative and quantitative empirical data, the article thus reveals that democratisation and decentralisation can reproduce clientelist structures. However, it also uncovers changing socio-spatial dynamics: certain historically neglected and conflict-affected districts have particularly benefited from brokers’ involvement. Despite these positive aspects, the article further illustrates how these outcomes counteract other central administrative and political objectives.