Institute of Development Policy

Analyses and Policy Briefs

Analyses and Policy Briefs are crisp and sharp briefs that offer analysis and/or policy recommendations, and generally make reference to more extensive IOB research outputs. These are typically two- or four-pagers vetted by the chair of the IOB Research Commission. The findings and views expressed in the briefs are those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of IOB as an institute.


Delving deeper into the food security-development finance-governance quality nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa

Danny Cassimon, Olusegun Fadare and George Mavrotas
Analysis and Policy Brief 55

The focus on Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG-2) to address hunger and food security has led to increased foreign capital flows into Sub-Saharan Africa, yet the region continues to grapple with rising food insecurity and malnutrition rates, exacerbated by governance challenges and dependency on imported staple crops. Recent research underscores the critical relationship between governance quality, capital flows, and food insecurity in the region, particularly in the context of post-pandemic challenges.

How to cope with a refugee population? Evidence from Uganda

Mark Marvin Kadigo
Analysis and Policy Brief 54

Developing countries, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, host over three quarters of the world's refugees, with Uganda hosting the most in SSA, predominantly from neighboring countries such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a phenomenon dating back to the 1940s, primarily attributed to persistent conflict, and while hosting refugees can pose economic challenges, literature suggests mixed but generally positive economic effects on hosting countries.


Mission accomplie? L’évaluation des quotas ethniques au Burundi

Alexandre Wadih Raffoul and Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 53

Le Sénat burundais évalue les quotas ethniques en réponse à la Constitution de 2018, potentiellement influençant les institutions de partage du pouvoir et offrant des leçons sur la résolution des conflits ethniques en Afrique.

Can universal cash transfers spur citizenship? An evaluation of Busibi CT’s impacts on (perceived) political efficacy

Filippo Grisolia, Sara Dewachter and Nathalie Holvoet
Analysis and Policy Brief 52

This brief tracks a Eight vzw’s pilot project in rural Uganda over three time points, examining changes in recipients' citizenship and political efficacy, offering initial findings to inform policy, monitoring, and further research.

Investigating the sustainability of cash transfer effects: the Busibi case

Filippo Grisolia, Sara Dewachter and Nathalie Holvoet
Analysis and Policy Brief 50

The Institute of Development Policy (IOB - University of Antwerp) was entrusted by the Belgian non-profit organization Eight VZW to analyze the impacts of its first universal unconditional mobile cash transfer (UCT) pilot project, a small-scale basic income experiment, implemented in the rural Ugandan village Busibi. 


Conservation, conflict and semi-industrial mining: the case of eastern DRC | Conservation, conflit et exploitation minière semi-industrielle : le cas de l'est de la RDC

Judith Verweijen, Peer Schouten, Fergus O'Leary Simpson and Chakirwa Zirimwabagabo Pascal
Analysis and Policy Brief 49 & 51

Semi-industrial mining in and near protected areas in eastern DRC exacerbates violent conflict in three ways: 1) it fosters competition between political-military networks; 2) it creates new, and exacerbates existing, conflicts; and 3) it intensifies popular grievances because of negative social and environmental impacts. L'exploitation minière semi-industrielle dans et près des zones de la conservation de l'est de la RDC aggrave les conflits violents de trois manières : 1) elle favorise la concurrence entre les réseaux politico-militaires ; 2) elle crée de nouveaux conflits et exacerbe les conflits existants ; et 3) elle intensifie les griefs populaires à travers les effets sociaux et environnementaux négatifs.

Added value of community based monitoring (CBM): lessons from the Fuatilia Maji project

Jenipher Biira Salamula, Josué Guerrero Calle, Nathalie Holvoet, Sara Dewachter
Analysis and Policy Brief 48

Fuatilia Maji aims to empower rural communities to actively participate in the sustainable provision of clean water for domestic consumption through mobile technology use in community based tracking of access to, functionality, and quality of public water sources.

¿Qué retos enfrenta la minería informal de oro en el Perú? Lecciones aprendidas de La Rinconada, Puno​​

Maria Eugenia Robles, Sara Geenen and Boris Verbrugge
Analysis and Policy Brief 47


La minería informal de oro en el Perú es una actividad que alberga económicamente a miles de trabajadores. Sin embargo, enfrenta serios retos que afectan tanto a sus trabajadores como al espacio en el que habitan. En el marco del proyecto InForMining del Instituto de Políticas del Desarrollo (IOB en sus siglas en holandés) de la Universidad de Amberes, y la Fundación de Investigación Flanders (FWO en sus siglas en holandés) de Bélgica, se realizó una encuesta a 150 trabajadores de La Rinconada el año 2019. Los resultados analizan los retos encontrados en esta localidad, reuniendo las necesidades y reclamos de sus trabajadores. Ello nos permite entender desde una perspectiva local sus condiciones laborales con una mirada introspectiva de la actividad minera, de un enfoque no sólo productivo, sino también social e individual.

Underground struggles: improving working conditions in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining. Lessons from Mindanao, Philippines

Eugenia Robles Mengoa, Sara Geenen, Boris Verbrugge, Beverly Besmanos and Rafael López Valverde
Analysis and Policy Brief 46


In 2019, the InForMining project of the Institute of Development Policy (IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium) carried out a survey in three artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) areas in the Philippine region of Mindanao (provinces of Agusan del Sur, South Cotabato, and Davao de Oro). The objective of this survey was to understand the profile of the informal miner and the work he/she performs from his/her own experience. In this sense, we were able to gather data that allowed us to identify important challenges faced by the three mining provinces, which are analyzed in this policy brief. This document suggests some recommendations for sustainable solutions, that were validated and adjusted by the communities themselves.

“La mort, c’est la nourriture du creuseur” Le travail informel dans les mines de Shabunda et Watsa à l’Est de la RDC

Divin-Luc Bikubanya, Sara Geenen and Boris Verbrugge
Analysis and Policy Brief 45


A l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC), plus de 275.000 personnes dépendent de l’exploitation minière artisanale et à petite échelle (EMAPE) de l’or, selon les estimations de IPIS. 1801 mines d’or sont éparpillés dans les provinces du Sud-Kivu, Nord-Kivu, Ituri, Maniema, Tanganyika, Tshopo, Haut Uélé et Haut Katanga. Dans ces mines, on trouve une grande variété de travailleurs, des foreurs et pelleteurs qui descendent dans les puits en souterrain, jusqu’aux transporteurs qui portent les sacs de minerais sur leur dos, les machinistes qui opèrent les motopompes, les cuisiniers, et beaucoup d’autres. Leurs conditions de travail sont généralement qualifiés comme déplorables, avec plus d’attention internationale essentiellement dirigée vers la problématique du travail d’enfants. Cependant, il existe très peu de données systématiques et quantitatives décrivant les conditions de travail dans ces mines.

​​Increasing impact of international development study experiences

Wanda Casten, Sara Dewachter, Nathalie Holvoet, Hezron Makundi and Nawanda Yahaya
Analysis and Policy Brief 44

International Master’s programmes continue to be effective tools contributing to development impact around the world.


Debt-for-climate swaps in the COVID-19 era: killing two birds with one stone?

Dennis Essers, Danny Cassimon & Martin Prowse
Analysis and Policy Brief 43

The COVID-19 pandemic has further fuelled problems of debt sustainability in developing countries and has sapped the fiscal resources needed to finance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. We examine whether “debt-for-climate” swaps, instruments whereby debtor countries are relieved from their contractual debt obligations in return for local climate-related spending commitments, may be helpful in tackling worrying debt levels and climate concerns simultaneously.


‘For King, for Freedom and for Justice’? Comments regarding Belgium’s Congo Commission

Stefaan Marysse
Analysis and Policy Brief 42

In the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, outrage in Belgium also flares up about the country’s role in its former colonies. It would indeed be good if Belgium could come to terms with its colonial past and face up to its own blind spots of discrimination. 

“Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté” ? Annotations à la Commission Spéciale sur le passé colonial

Stefaan Marysse
Analysis and Policy Brief 41

Suite à la protestation mondiale contre la mort de G.Floyd et la discrimination permanente des Afroaméricains aux Etats-Unis, l’indignation sur le rôle de la Belgique dans l’histoire de ses anciennes colonies, a également refait surface. Il serait en effet bon que la Belgique se remette de son passé colonial et fasse face à ses propres points faibles en matière de discrimination. D’où le point d’interrogation dans la référence à notre hymne national dans le titre... 

Flagged and tagged by ITSCI: the practice of due diligence in non-state supply chain regulation in Rwanda

Hester Postma, Sara Geenen
Analysis and Policy Brief 40

In response to growing international concerns over mineral extraction and trade contributing to human rights violations and conflict financing, recent US (Dodd-Frank) and EU legislations have focused on transparency and due diligence in mineral supply chains. We have studied ITSCI certification in Rwanda and found several flaws when due diligence is put into practice.


Artisanal or industrial conflict minerals?

Nik Stoop, Marijke Verpoorten and Peter van der Windt
Analysis and Policy Brief 39

There is strong evidence that mining activities fuel local conflict. However, so far no distinction has been made between the two main modes of mineral extraction: artisanal and industrial mining. Making this distinction is important: while policymakers cannot change the location of minerals, they have decision power over the extraction mode. In a recent paper, we find that the mode of mineral extraction, as well as their interaction, have very different implications for local conflict.

Croyances religieuses endogènes et développement en Afrique Sub Saharienne

Sahawal Alidou et Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 38

La présente note de politique est basée sur de récents travaux de recherches examinant l’impact des croyances religieuses endogènes sur le développement en Afrique Sub Saharienne, spécifiquement sur la santé infantile et l’autonomisation des femmes.

Defying intuition: bigger families have no significant negative effect on children's schooling in Sub-Sahara Africa

Sahawal Alidou and Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 37

Many family planning programs are based on the idea that “a small family is a happy family”, or that a reduction in family size enables families to raise investments per child. Intuitively this makes sense: dividing scarce resources among less children, leaves each child with more resources. We prove this intuition wrong.

Uganda: Museveni's struggle to create legitimacy among the 'Museveni babies'

Kristof Titeca
Analysis and Policy Brief 36

Uganda has the world’s second youngest population. The Museveni regime is increasingly struggling to build legitimacy among this group, which wants public services and employment rather than distant stories about how the regime brought an end to war when it came to power in 1986. This brief aims to explain the ways in which the Museveni regime has dealt with these changing circumstances.

This publication was first published as an Africa Policy Brief at Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations.

Urbanization and dietary change

Lara Cockx, Liesbeth Colen and Joachim De Weerdt
Analysis and Policy Brief 35

Sub-Saharan Africa still evokes images of undernourished children in poor farming villages. And indeed, this is a region where one in every three children under 5 is stunted in their growth and in danger of irreversible physical and cognitive damage.  As recently as 2017, parts of South-Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria experienced episodes of famine.

Reaching climate funding targets: the polluters aren't paying. And green parties do not make a difference

Carola Klöck, Nadia Molenaers, Florian Weiler
Analysis and Policy Brief 34

At the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit, it was decided that by 2020, donors should rally up not less than US$100 billion per year for climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.


Congo's elections and its political landscape: some key-insights

Kristof Titeca and James Thamani
Analysis and Policy Brief 33

On 23 of December, Congo is scheduled to go to the polls to choose their next president, as well as national and provincial representatives. For the presidential elections, they will face the choice between Joseph Kabila’s handpicked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and 20 other candidates.

The biggest migration challenge ever

Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 32

The following policy brief is based on the author’s participation in a panel debate on “Migration, population growth and development cooperation”.Population in Africa increased almost six fold in the past seven decades, from 229 million in 1950 to 1.3 billion today, and it will continue to rise to around 4.5 billion in the year 2100, before stabilizing. Africa’s population structure will also change in this period: Africa will be the only region where the share of the working age population (aged 15-64) will increase, notably from 56% today to 64% in 2100. Thus decline of the dependency ratio will not necessarily be a demographic gift. Whether it will spur development or not will depend on the ability of the economy to absorb and productively employ the extra workers.

How do illegal ivory traders operate? Field research among illegal ivory traders aims to give an answer

Kristof Titeca
Analysis and Policy Brief 31

Much has been written about illegal ivory trade, from a variety of perspectives, ranging from DNA forensics to fascinating insights into how the ivory trade evolved or the impact of ivory trade bans. An actor which is largely missing from these analyses is the ivory trader himself, which my work aims to address.

Aid, trade, or state? The post-war recovery of the Rwandan coffee sector

Andrea Guariso and Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 30

The nature of the Rwandan State and its role in the country’s post-war economic recovery is much debated. In a recent article, we investigate the post-war recovery of the Rwandan economy through the lens of its coffee sector. The recent transition from the ordinary to the specialty coffee segment has been portrayed as emblematic of Rwanda’s rise from the ashes, after decades of dramatic violence. Our study, however, shows that this success needs to be qualified.  

Voodoo, vaccines and bed nets: magicoreligious beliefs affect health behavior in Benin

Nik Stoop and Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 29

There is ample ethnographic evidence that magicoreligious beliefs affect the demand for conventional healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. But, because of severe empirical limitations (see box 1), this relationship was not documented in a quantitative way. Thanks to the unique status and well-documented history of Voodoo (see box 2) – Benin’s main African Traditional Religion (ATR) – we managed to document this relationship for Benin.In our recent article, we find quantitative evidence that Voodoo adherence is associated with lower uptake of preventive healthcare measures. Instead, Voodoo adherents rely more on traditional healers, but this leads to worse child health outcomes. 

Monitoring changes in intrahousehold decision-making and evaluating its impact: a toolkit

Els Lecoutere
Analysis and Policy Brief 28

In this IOB policy brief we introduce a toolkit for monitoring changes in intrahousehold decision-making and evaluating its impact. The toolkit, the manual and an innovative behavioural exercise are available online (Links are included at the end of this brief).

La réforme constitutionnelle et la limitation du nombre de mandats présidentiels au Burundi: deux questions restées en suspens

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 27

Le discours qu’a tenu le Président Nkurunziza le 7 juin 2018 à Bugendana, à l’occasion de la promulgation du nouveau texte constitutionnel, semble avoir relégué à l’arrière-plan deux questions pourtant importantes concernant la limitation constitutionnelle du nombre de mandats que peut exercer un président de la République.

What good is an oil sector without oil? How regime security and shorttermism explains DR Congo’s (non-)oil sector

Patrick Edmond and Kristof Titeca
Analysis and Policy Brief 26

• The DRC has major possibilities for oil development, but very little actual development.• A major barrier is state inaction or blockages.• These emerge due to regime stability concerns. These are manifests in two key ways:

  1. The sector is a major source of patronage and rent-extraction. These rents are not created through the active production and development of the sector, but through selling access.
  2. Oil sector development is contrary to regime stability: internal geopolitics, regional relationships, and central control over major wealth are threatened by sector development.

• These elements have not only prevented companies from exploration and production, but have discouraged further investor interest.• Change is unlikely. The disincentives which have blocked development in the past remain strong.


Women in (and out of) artisanal mining: a call for revising Uganda’s draft Mining and Minerals Policy

Stella Muheki and Sara Geenen
Analysis and Policy Brief 25

In Uganda, a new draft Mining and Minerals Policy has been prepared by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. This policy brief addresses the gender dimensions of the proposed regulation. Using insights from a document review as well as a field study in Lujiinji B Mine in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende District, the research highlights i) the danger of blueprint policies that fail to recognize women’s variegated (productive and reproductive) roles in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM); ii) the structural and gendered inequalities in access to productive resources, leading to adverse incorporation; and iii) the risk of excluding female workers from the formal mining economy. It is a timely call for acknowledging women’s diverse roles and interests in ASM, and for making sure new legislation does not lead to more exclusion and/or adverse incorporation of the female workers.

Burundi’s constitutional amendment: what do we know so far?

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 24

For the past five years, since the 2012 new year’s address by President Nkurunziza, the future of Burundi’s constitution has been a controversial issue. On 15 November 2017, a commission in charge of drafting a constitutional amendment bill will conclude its activities. What do we know so far about the constitutional change? The short answer is: very little. Nevertheless, some insights and questions arise when looking at (i) the process and time-line of the constitutional amendment, (ii) some legal procedural challenges and (iii) the officially communicated or informally leaked substantive points. Structured along these lines, the purpose of this Brief is to present a state of the art. The purpose is not to judge the desirability of a constitutional amendment which for the government is a matter of national sovereignty and which some opposition groups have referred to as a declaration of war and a red line that should not be crossed.

From figures to facts: making sense of socio-economic surveys in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Wim Marivoet and Tom De Herdt
Analysis and policy brief 23

Over the last decades, both donor organizations and the national government have invested heavily in administering national-level surveys in the DRC. These survey results have been used in planning exercises (e.g. to elaborate the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) and in evaluation exercises (e.g. to decide on the country’s debt relief), but the quality of these data is highly contentious as some basic demographic information on the DRC is simply unknown. This policy brief first presents the issue and illustrates its direct implications before we present a discussion of possible solutions, also for the short-run.

Déjà vu? Congo from Mobutu to Kabila, twenty years later

Filip Reyntjens
Analysis and policy brief 22

Twenty years ago, Laurent Kabila’s AFDL troops marched into Kinshasa, thus putting an end to 32 years of rule by Mobutu. In fact, however, it was a victory orchestrated not by Kabila alone, but by a wide regional coalition whose members had good reasons for wishing to topple the regime. Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Angola wanted to neutralise the Zaire-based rebel movements that threatened them with Mobutu’s overt or covert support. Other countries, such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, had their own reasons for supporting Kabila’s campaign. They all reasoned that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The anti-Mobutu alliance was circumstantial, and its frailties would soon appear.


Not your average job. Measuring farm labor in Tanzania

Vellore Arthi, Kathleen Beegle, Joachim De Weerdt and Amparo Palacios-Lopez
Analysis and policy brief 21

The extent of bias in smallholder farm labor data is examined by conducting a randomized survey experiment amongst farming households in rural Tanzania. Benchmark agricultural labor estimates obtained from weekly surveys are compared to those from a traditional single end-of-season recall survey. Traditional recall-style modules overestimate hours worked per person per plot by a factor of 3.4. This recall bias is driven by the mental burdens of reporting on highly variable agricultural work patterns. All things equal, studies suffering from this bias would understate agricultural labor productivity.

The ICC Burexit: Free at last? Burundi on its way out of the Rome Statute

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 20

On 12 October 2016, parliament endorsed the Burundian government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC).1 The withdrawal is not final until a written notification is addressed to the UN Secretary-General, and, in accordance with article 127 of the Rome Statute, it shall take effect one year later. It is likely that Burundi will soon make history as the first state ever to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

This Brief is an attempt at understanding what might explain and motivate this withdrawal. After a short look at the historical context of Burundi’s ratification and withdrawal, attention is paid to the costs and benefits of what, presumably, is a rational decision and not – as has been suggested by some observers – a panic-driven reaction.

Urbanization and Poverty Reduction: The Role of Secondary towns in Tanzania

Luc Christiaensen, Joachim De Weerdt and Ravi Kanbur
Analysis and Policy Brief 18

In 2007, the world reached an important “tipping point”—half its population became urban. But not only is the world urbanizing, it has been doing so much more rapidly. While it took Industrial Europe 110 years (1800-1910) to increase its rate of urbanization from 15 to 40 percent, Asia and Africa did so in only 50 years (1960-2010), or twice as fast. And the urban population in the developing world is also concentrating, living increasingly in few large cities. This also holds in Africa, which already has a clear bimodal distribution of its urban population (Dorosh and Thurlow, 2013). Nonetheless, barring some exceptions, the academic literature and policy mind-sets have beensquarely focused on the aggregate rate of urbanization. They seldom go beyond the dichotomous rural-urban distinction, thereby ignoring the istribution of the urban population across cities of different sizes. Results from our research suggest, however, that the composition of urbanization might be as important as its aggregate rate.


Coopératives minières au Sud-Kivu: recours ou extorsion?

Sara Geenen and Jorden De Haan
Analysis and Policy Brief 19

A la lumière des développements politiques récents, les «coopératives minières » semblaient être le dernier recours pour les mineurs artisanaux congolais. Bailleurs internationaux, ONG, gouvernements nationaux et provinciaux, organisations de la société civile locales et même le secteur privé ont tous sauté dans le train de la promotion et du renforcement des coopératives de mineurs. Mais ces dernières prennent-elles vraiment la forme d’un recours, ou vont-elles plutôt soutenir l’extorsion de fonds par les acteurs les plus puissants ? Sur la base d’une étude de terrain dans la province du Sud-Kivu, ce document fait valoir que le pouvoir des mineurs et la répartition des richessesdans les mines artisanales n’ont pas été considérablement modifiés mais que les coopératives courent le risque de faire progresser le détournement et l’extorsion de fonds par les acteurs les plus puissants.

Burundi's crisis and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement: which way forward?

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 17

In virtually all of the international diplomatic statements concerning the ongoing political and security crisis in Burundi, reference is made to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement that was signed in August 2000. The current crisis is seen as potentially “seriously undermining the significant gains achieved through the Arusha Agreement”1. Repeated calls have been made for a “genuine and inclusive dialogue, based on the respect of the Arusha Agreement”2. At the domestic level as well, the Arusha Agreement stands at the heart of the political dispute. The missions of the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue, established in September 2015, include an evaluation of the Arusha Agreement.3 A newly established opposition movement, CNARED, is named after its main objective which is the restoration of the respect for the Arusha Agreement.4Most of the time, however, references to Arusha – and the need to respect its letter and/or its spirit – remain rather vague. This begs two important questions which this Brief addresses, and which are analysed in more detail in an accompanying IOB Working Paper.5 First, why should the Arusha Agreement, a fifteen year old peace accord, be so central in the current political debate? What gains need to be preserved? Second, assuming that there is a political agreement around the need to preserve the ‘Arusha acquis’, how can its respect be ensured and strengthened through Burundi’s political and judicial institutions? These questions will hopefully feature  prominently on the agenda of the – presumably - forthcoming dialogue and negotiations between Burundi’s political actors and between Burundi and its international partners.

Reduction of poverty and inequality, the Rwandan way. And the aid community loves it.

Filip Reyntjens 
Analysis and Policy Brief 16

Some time ago, I congratulated the Rwandan government on the progress shown in the latest Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4), particularly in terms of the reduction of poverty and inequality. I’m afraid I now have to withdraw my kudos. Both President Kagame and Minister of Finance and Economic PlanningGatete (in his foreword to the EICV4) claimed a substantial progress in poverty reduction, from 44.9% in 2010/11 to 39.1% in 2013/14, a spectacular drop of 6 points. This is indeed what can be found in the survey.

Real governance and practical norms in Sub-Saharan Africa: the game of the rules

Tom De Herdt and Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan 
Analysis and Policy Brief 15

Key messages

• While proposals for development policy usually address the “state” as a coherent development actor, the gap between what is made visible or explicit and what actually happens on the ground may be quite large.
• The real policy-makers are street-level bureaucrats, at the lowest level of the policy chain. The concept of “practical norms” may help to orient analysis to these “last mile problems” of policy implementation.
• It is important to avoid the rage de vouloir conclure and first gain a better understanding of people’s lived experience of public action and to explore the positive and negative sides of different aspects of this ‘real governance’.

This Analysis and Policy brief presents the main ideas of an edited volume on real governance and practical norms that was published this year at Routledge. The book traces the concept of practical norms back to the social science literature and the network of ideas from which it emerged, it extends the field of its application to other regions and sectors in Sub-Sahara Africa and it reflects on the concept’s usefulness for researchers engaged in processes of improving public service delivery.

Mining cooperatives in South Kivu: saviour or extortionist?

Jorden De Haan and Sara Geenen
Analysis and Policy Brief 14

Looking at recent policy, ‘mining cooperatives’ appear to be the latest saviour for Congolese artisanal mineworkers. International donors and NGOs, national and provincial governments, local civil society organizations and even the private sector all have jumped on the bandwagon to promote and empower miners’ cooperatives. But do the latter really take the form of a saviour, or do they rather sustain extortion by the most powerful actors? On the basis of a field study in South Kivu province, this brief argues that mineworkers’ power positions and the distribution of wealth in artisanal mining have not been significantly altered, but that cooperatives are at risk of advancing capture and extortion by the most powerful actors.

Discours diplomatique et mandats présidentiels en Afrique centrale. Une lettre ouverte à son Excellence l'Ambassadeur de l'Allemagne au Rwanda, M. Peter Fahrenholtz

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 13

Anvers, le 5 juin 2015

Excellence Monsieur l’Ambassadeur,

Le 18 mai 2015, vous avez accordé une interview au New Times que j’ai lue avec grand intérêt. Par la présente lettre ouverte, je me permets de réagir aux déclarations importantes que vous faites dans cette interview concernant la limitation constitutionnelle du nombre de mandats que peut exercer un chef d’Etat.

Comme vous le savez, dans plusieurs pays africains – entre autres le Burundi, la République du Congo et la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) – la question de la limitation du nombre de mandats présidentiels fait l’objet de tensions politiques, d’activisme de la part de la société civile et de débat scientifique. Au Rwanda, une initiative visant à réviser la constitution a récemment pris de l’ampleur. Un nombre impressionnant de pétitions viennent d’être présentées au parlement. Elles proposent d’annuler, par référendum, la limitation du nombre de mandats que peut exercer le président de la République, actuellement prévue par l’article 101 de la Constitution («Le président de la République est élu pour un mandat de sept ans renouvelable une seule fois. En aucun cas, nul ne peut exercer plus de deux mandats présidentiels»).

Presidential Term Limits and Dubious Diplomatic Discourse. An open letter to His Excellency Peter Fahrenholtz, German Ambassador to Rwanda.

Stef Vandeginste
Analysis and Policy Brief 12

Your Excellency,

Dear Ambassador Fahrenholtz,

 On 18 May 2015, the New Times published an exclusive interview you gave and which I read with great interest. I usually do not write open letters to diplomatic envoys. Exceptionally, I wish to do so in order to react to the important statement you made in this New Times interview concerning the topical issue of presidential term limits. 

As you know, in several African countries – including Burundi, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – the enforcement of constitutional presidential term limits is the subject of political controversy, civil society activism and scholarly analysis. In Rwanda, a movement to amend the Constitution has gained momentum. Around the time of your interview, an impressive number of petitions were handed over to parliament calling for a removal, ahead of the 2017 elections, of the presidential term limit currently laid down in article 101 of the Constitution (“The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once. Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of the Republic for more than two terms.”)

Scenarios for Burundi

Filip Reyntjens 
Analysis and Policy Brief 11

The question whether Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza can run for a third term at the presidential election scheduled for June has generated a great deal of debate, and it is now creating violent tensions leading to increasing refugee flows to neighbouring countries. It has even split the ruling party CNDD-FDD.

The social minefield of gold digging in South-Kivu, DRC The case of Kamituga

Janvier Kilosho, Nik Stoop and Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 10

Starting out as a Large-Scale Mining (LSM) activity in the colonial period, gold mining became more and more dominated by artisanal miners in the course of the past decades. Now, the pendulum swings back to LSM. What is the scope for a relocation and/or reorientation of artisanal miners? We study the case of Kamituga, one of Banro’s gold concessions in South-Kivu.


How to account for concessional loans in aid statistics?

Danny Cassimon, Robrecht Renard and Karel Verbeke
Analysis and Policy Brief 9

This is an output of the Acropolis BeFinD project. The ‘Belgian Policy Research group on Financing for Development’ (BeFinD) is a collaboration between the University of Namur (CRED), the KU Leuven (HIVA and CGGS) and the University of Antwerp (IOB) in the framework of the VLIR-UOS and ARES-CCD supported Acropolis project, that provides policy research support to the Belgian Development Cooperation. The opinions expressed in this policy brief are those of the authors only. 

The Final Deathblow to Development Planning? A comparative book review of Easterly's 'The Tyranny of Experts' and Ramalingam's 'Aid on the Edge of Chaos'

Dennis Essers and Bert Jacobs 
Analysis and Policy Brief 8

When New York University Professor William Easterly released his best-seller The White Man’s Burden, it was described by Simon Maxwell, then director of think tank ODI, as the only book in a chain of recent works that dared to go against what he called ‘the inevitable social-democratic consensus… that aid is a worthwhile undertaking but could be better’ (Maxwell, 2007). The year was 2007 and the aid community was still head-in-clouds after the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness had given it a new sense of direction and purpose. Cautious optimism about aid and other forms of external support for development was reflected in a series of critical but generally uplifting publications by the likes of Jeffrey Sachs (2005), Stephen Browne (2006) and Roger Riddell (2007), which shared their respective views on how to achieve greater aid effectiveness. 

Reviving Benin's Shrimp Export sector: The need for an Integrated Approach

Romain Houssa, Johan Swinnen and Marijke Verpoorten
Analysis and Policy Brief 7

Benin’s shrimp sector collapsed following a ban on its exports to the EU. The ban was imposed in July 2003 and resulted from the non-compliance with EU food safety standards. Strikingly, the sector did not revive, despite the lift of the ban in 2005 and considerable Aid for Trade flows. We argue that the sector’s dependency on the EU, Benin’s poor institutional environment, and inadequate Aid for Trade have played critical roles in explaining the persistent effects of the ban.

Rwanda, twenty years after the genocide

Filip Reyntjens 
Analysis and Policy Brief 6

The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda started on 7 April 1994. In a mere hundred days, three-quarters of the Tutsi minority wasexterminated. At the beginning of the massacres, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) –the rebel movement that invaded the country inOctober 1990 from Uganda and with Ugandan support– launched an offensive that gave it military victory in early July. As the Hutuextremists had massively killed Tutsi “live” on television, these were the “bad guys”, while those who fought them, the RPF rebels,had to be the “good guys”. Few observers realised in these days that this was not a conflict between “good” and “bad” guys, but onebetween “bad guys”.


Out of Garamba, into Uganda. Poaching and trade of ivory in Garamba National Park and LRA-affected areas in Congo.

Kristof Titeca 
Analysis and Policy Brief 5

Ivory poaching and trading in central and eastern Africa has recently received a lot of attention. On the one hand, there have been a number of analyses highlighted how ‘tusks fund terror’ for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). On the other hand, there have been a wide range of news reports on the confiscation of large consignments of ivory, in Entebbe airport, but particularly in Mombasa, all of which highlighting the intensified trade in ivory and the important (transit) role of Uganda. This analysis wants to better document both of these points, by  linking them together: it wants to explain the poaching dynamics in Garamba National Park (GNP) in the DRC, where the LRA is active. It particularly wants to show how the LRA is a relatively minor actor in poaching – it can by far not explain the strong intensification of elephant poaching in the park: whereas from 2007 to 2012, 7 to 8 elephants were killed in the park, in the first 10 months of 2012 alone, a staggering 50 elephants were killed. Related with this, the analysis wants to show how much of the ivory passing through Uganda, or confiscated in Mombasa, comes from GNP. Therefore, while calls from the UN Security Council to investigate the role of the LRA in ivory poaching are useful in bringing attention to the poaching problem, the strict attention to the LRA is not particularly helpful, and will only have a limited impact.

Une nouvelle Constitution pour le Burundi? Un défi pour la Charte africaine de la démocratie, des élections et de la gouvernance.

Stef Vandeginste 
Analysis and Policy Brief 4

Le 9 et 10 octobre 2013, le Conseil des Ministres burundais a adopté un projet de loi portant modification de certaines dispositions de la Constitution du Burundi. Moins de deux ans avant les élections générales de 2015, cette démarche suscite de nombreuses interrogations. La présente analyse se limite à développer trois éléments d’analyse très précis. S’agit-il une d’une révision de la Constitution du 18 mars 2005 actuellement en vigueur ou de son remplacement par une nouvelle Constitution? Si, en effet, il est question d’une nouvelle Constitution qui remplacera l’actuelle, quelles seront les conséquences en ce qui concerne l’éligibilité de l’actuel Président de la République Pierre Nkurunziza? Enfin, comment peut-on évaluer cette initiative au regard de la Charte africaine de la démocratie, des élections et de la gouvernance? Avant d’aborder ces trois questions, un bref aperçu historique nous paraît utile.

Is 'tradition' the solution? Lessons from Rwanda's gacaca courts for justice and reconciliation after mass violence

Bert Ingelaere 
Analysis and Policy Brief 3

Over the past years, there has been an increasing attention for the use of tradition-based or home-grown justice and reconciliation mechanisms in the aftermath of violent conflict. The Rwandan gacaca court system is often evoked in this global trend. The gacaca courts operated nationwide between 2005 and 2012. This policy briefing summarizes major findings and policy recommendations based on extensive field research conducted during these years.

Armed Conflict and Economic Performance in Rwanda

Marijke Verpoorten and Pieter Serneels 
Analysis and Policy Brief 2

We study whether conflict had an impact on economic performance across Rwandan administrative sectors six years after end of massive violence. Economic performance is measured using household expenditure data from a nationwide survey. Conflict intensity is measured using an index of excess mortality called WEMI (wartime excess mortality index). The findings show that economic performance was significantly lower in conflict-affected sectors, even after controlling for production factors (land, labor, education).

And what about Africa's original sins?

Dennis Essers and Danny Cassimon 
Analysis and Policy Brief 1

Sub-Saharan African governments have made significant progress in developing domestic local currency bond markets over the last decade. While this bodes well for their countries’ economic resilience and facilitates necessary investments, many challenges remain.