Institute of Development Policy

Discussion Papers

The IOB Discussion Papers (ISSN 2294-8651) are peer reviewed. Publication as an IOB Discussion Paper does not constitute prior publication and does not preclude publication elsewhere. The findings and views expressed in the IOB Discussion Papers are those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of IOB as an institute.


Miners’ endurance in informal gold mining: the extreme case of La Rinconada, Peru

Eugenia Robles Mengoa and Ana Luisa Sánchez
Discussion paper 2024.03

This paper delves into miners' endurance in La Rinconada, Peru, an extreme case of informal ASGM, to understand how they persist in adverse conditions, drawing on the concept of endurance as the ability to persist in difficult circumstances, constantly adapting to unpredictable contexts and envisaging a better future, as observed through social navigation theory.

Can cash transfers really be transformative? A literature review of the sustainability of their impacts

Filippo Grisolia
Discussion paper 2024.02

The text highlights a gap in literature reviews regarding the sustainability of cash transfer (CT) programs' impacts beyond monetary poverty alleviation. This paper aims to fill this gap by gathering evidence on CT sustainability across various outcome domains and program features. Contrary to the assumption, CTs have shown positive and sustained effects on schooling, incomes, food security, expenditures, and savings, challenging the belief that they are ineffective in building sustainable livelihoods. However, evidence on child labor or early marriage remains mixed.

The differential effects of foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa

Afuge Akame and George Mavrotas
Discussion paper 2024.01

This paper explores the impact of various forms of donor aid on economic growth in 39 sub-Saharan African countries from 2002 to 2020. The findings suggest that while total aid positively influences growth, different aid modalities have varying effects, with project aid and technical assistance boosting growth, while budget support and humanitarian assistance hinder it. The study emphasizes the importance of disaggregating aid types in research on aid effectiveness, challenging the traditional approach of using a single figure for aid in policy recommendations.


Authority and power in local orders: Customary authorities, the state, and jihadist insurgency in Mali

Gianfabrizio Ladini
Discussion paper 2023.02

This paper discusses the conflict and instability in Mali since 2012, highlighting the challenges faced by customary authorities in local governance due to persistent insecurity and the emergence of armed groups as influential actors. It explores the evolving relationship between state and customary authorities, as well as the threats posed by jihadist insurgents who aim to replace the state with alternative forms of governance.

Effective Altruism and the strategic ambiguity of ‘doing good’

Mollie Gleiberman
Discussion paper 2023.01

The paper presents initial empirical findings from a study about Effective Altruism (EA) to address a common misunderstanding in the public and academic consciousness about EA, which operates on two levels, one for the general public and new recruits focused on reducing global poverty, and one for the core EA community centered on AI-safety/x-risk, now lumped under the banner of 'longtermism'.


The influence of COVID-19 on remittances - potential development outcomes

Catherine Van den bosch and George Mavrotas
Discussion paper 2022.04

This paper contributes to the growing recent literature on the impact of the pandemic in developing countries by trying to examine the influence of COVID-19 on remittances and provide insights into the potential developmental effects this could have in recipient countries. In particular the paper tries to address the following research questions: (1) In what way has the pandemic influenced trends in remittances? and (2) what potential influence does the COVID-19-induced drop in remittances have on development?

Social accountability initiatives in the delivery of public services in SSA: a systematic literature review

Doreen Nico Kyando
Discussion paper 2022.03

Poor public service delivery is pervasive in Sub-Saharan Africa. Weak institutions, ineffective monitoring systems, and weak accountability relationships between actors involved in the service delivery chain have exacerbated the problem. Social accountability has emerged as an innovative strategy that aims to improve public sector performance by engaging ordinary citizens in exacting accountability as well as bolstering state/providers’ responsiveness. How do information interventions social accountability initiatives impact public service delivery? 

The structuration of armed mobilisation in eastern DRC’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Fergus O’Leary Simpson, Romain Lwaboshi, Yves Ikobo, Papy Mulume
Discussion paper 2022.02

This discussion paper contributes to ongoing debates over militarised conservation and armed mobilisation surrounding protected areas situated in violent environments.

Crispations identitaires et "identités légitimatrices" en période de crise politique: un regard rétrospectif sur la crise du 3ème mandat au Burundi

Denis Banshimiyubusa
Discussion paper 2022.01

En fin d’avril 2015, le Burundi a vécu les moments de crise politico-sécuritaire consécutifs à l’annonce officielle de la 3ème candidature de feu président Pierre Nkurunziza à sa propre succession. Si l’officialisation de cette candidature a été interprétée comme une volonté délibérée du président et de son parti, le Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces de Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD), de violer l’Accord d’Arusha et la Constitution qui en était une émanation directe, la crise qui en a résulté devrait rester purement politique.


The case of ‘double’ mining and conservation frontiers: evidence from DRC and Madagascar

Marketta Vuola and Fergus Simpson
Discussion paper 2021.07

This article contributes to the literature on commodity frontiers by providing evidence from locales where two different frontiers overlap. We focus on intersecting commodity frontiers produced through biodiversity conservation and mineral extraction that increasingly compete for control over land and resources.

Changing intrahousehold decision making to empower women in their households: a mixed methods analysis of a field experiment in rural south-west Tanzania

Els Lecoutere and Lan Chu
Discussion paper 2021.06

This study assesses the impact of an intervention that challenges gender relations by introducing a more participatory way of intrahousehold decision making on women’s empowerment in monogamous agricultural households in Tanzania. 

Online supplementary materials for download

Sharing the little there is: towards a durable refugee-host relationship in Northern Uganda

Sarah Vancluysen
Discussion paper 2021.05

This paper explores the nature of the relationship between South Sudanese refugees and their Ugandan hosts. Situated in northern Uganda, a context characterized by chronic underdevelopment and poverty, it examines if and how peaceful coexistence between nationals and refugees is maintained.

​Beyond Samuragwa’s sweet and sour succession: a closer look at Burundi’s 2020 elections

Stef Vandeginste
Discussion paper 2021.04

Unlike the 2015 elections, Burundi’s 2020 general elections did not plunge the country into chaos. They rather illustrate how elections can be used for authoritarian consolidation. As expected, they enhanced the ruling party’s control on the state, thus consolidating a decade of gradual return towards a de facto single-party regime. A closer look at the elections sheds light on some important political governance developments and challenges.

When the hidden transcript storms centre stage: from slow to sudden violence in eastern DRCongo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Fergus O'Leary Simpson
Discussion paper 2021.03

It has been argued that protected areas give rise to forms of incremental ‘slow’ violence when populations are displaced from their lands and resources. The literature has shown how this can lead communities living at the edge of national parks to resist conservation regulations, often through everyday strategies designed to go under the radar of park authorities. I make an original contribution to this debate by exploring how conditions of slow violence and practices of covert resistance surrounding conservation projects can over time be transformed into forms of overt resistance and a state of ‘sudden’ violence. 

How to understand ex-combatants’ political participation against the background of rebel-to-party transformations?

Eliane Giezendanner and Bert Ingelaere
Discussion paper 2021.02

How do ex-combatants participate politically in the context of their rebel movement hav-ing transformed into a political party? What factors shape and structure these forms of participation? And what heuristic framework can guide the study of this topic in a variety of contexts in order to fill important knowledge gaps?

Abordaje de la venta ambulante en Guayaquil - Ecuador

Lisette Villacrés y Sara Geenen
Discussion paper 2021.01

Las políticas de regeneración urbana que tienen por objeto “embellecer” el espacio público, han tenido impactos disímiles, en particular en lo que respecta a la restricción del acceso al espacio público de algunos grupos considerados “indeseables” en el nuevo paisaje urbano.


Big Data for poverty measurement: insights from a scoping review

Michaëla Stubbers and Nathalie Holvoet
Discussion paper 2020.03

The research reviews 53 studies on using Big Data to measure poverty-related concepts. It explores whether Big Data can replace or complement traditional statistics for tracking poverty, economic development, and inequality. Findings indicate the field's relevance stems from data availability, involving diverse researchers, with underrepresentation from the global south. Common data types include Call Detail Records and satellite images, with night-light linked to economic development. Big Data is mainly used for feature extraction, while classical statistical methods are preferred for analysis. Despite opportunities, challenges include technical issues, stability, sustainability, and legal barriers. The review concludes that while Big Data improves accuracy and timeliness of socio-economic indicators, it won't replace traditional data soon due to significant barriers.

Framing street vending in Guayaquil – Ecuador: from hegemonic discourses to a rights-based approach

Lisette Villacres and Sara Geenen
Discussion paper 2020.02

Urban renewal policies, particularly in Guayaquil, Ecuador, have disproportionately restricted access to public space for informal street vendors, a vital part of the local economy. The paper argues that despite evolving discourses framing street vending as a symbol of the past, a right to work, and entrepreneurship, the current policies hinder vendors' access to public space. It suggests adopting a right to the city approach, recognizing the rights to appropriate public space and participate in city decisions, as a transformative avenue for addressing this issue.

Abstracting Congolese forests: mappings, representational narratives, and the production of the plantation space under REDD+

Catherine Windey
Discussion paper 2020.01

Drawing from Science and Technology Studies and field research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this paper examines the creation and use of geospatial-driven narratives and seemingly neutral cartographic representations in the REDD+ process. It reveals how simplified satellite maps, in a complex socio-political context, contribute to a 'national consensus' that blames local communities for environmental threats while overlooking industrial extraction. The paper argues that despite purportedly inclusive strategies, this framing reinforces geospatial control, marginalizes local knowledge, and perpetuates colonial discourses, resulting in social and environmental injustices unaddressed by the standardized subjects of the 'socially responsible green company' and the 'enviropreneurial commodity petty producer/labourer.' The study highlights the interconnectedness of epistemic and material dispossession, unveiling ongoing processes of slow violence with long-term socio-ecological consequences.


Can the Logical Framework help to manage change? Perspectives from the field of Security Sector Reform

Daniel Szczepanski and Tom De Herdt
Discussion paper 2019.04

Despite its widespread popularity, the logical framework (LF) has also been the subject of much criticism in development. Much of this critique contends that many development processes are associated with non-linear and dynamic change, while notions of change as implied by the logical framework are based on a predicted set of causal and linear results. This critique is all the more poignant for in the domain of peacebuilding and security sector reform (SSR), where the perceived dissonance between the assumptions inherent in the LF and the complexity and unpredictability of typical SSR environments is all the bigger.  Based on an analysis of the perceptions of SSR practitioners, we find that the logical framework’s ability to pre-determine change is limited, as it is particularly utilized as a communications tool and mainly during a projects’ design stage. Evidence suggests that determining the change process during the stage of project design was often the subject of a dialectic relationship and lengthy discussions between the various stakeholders and that the logical framework was found quite helpful in this phase of the project cycle. Its use as a communications tool, primarily during project design and the complex dialectic process of negotiation during its creation, largely explain why its perceived inability to predict and manage the complexity of change is not experienced as a problematic feature, that would ‘straightjacket’ the change process itself.

Tilting the balance. A real options analysis of Burundian president Nkurunziza's third term candidacy

Danny Cassimon and Stef Vandeginste
Discussion paper 2019.03

The paper analyses what drives incumbent presidents, in this case Burundian President Nkurunziza, to decide to run for a contested third term, and how to explain the timing of this decision. Compared to a conventional cost-benefit analysis, the real options approach used here is better capable of capturing additional components of the decision: uncertainty surrounding benefits and costs, opportunities to temporarily delay the decision and potential opportunity costs associated with waiting. The last-minute nature of President Nkurunziza’s announcement to run at the 2015 elections was mainly due to intra-party dissidence. This initially created uncertainty, compromising the incumbent’s chances of successfully exercising the third term option. While international actors failed to seize the momentum, Nkurunziza successfully managed and reduced the uncertainty before finally announcing his candidacy.

The Missing Link in Hybrid Peacebuilding Localized Peace Trajectories & Endogenous Knowledge

Aura Liliana López López  and Bert Ingelaere
Discussion paper 2019.02

Peacebuilding and its study has taken a local turn (Mac Ginty & Richmond, 2013). This turn was informed by a questioning of the goals and methods of the so-called liberal peace. One of the consequences of this examination of the local in relation to the liberal peace agenda is the growing awareness that there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ local or liberal type of peacemaking. Instead, a growing body of research within governance and development scholarship has embraced the notion of ‘hybridity’ in the post-liberal peace era.

Did conditional cash transfers in the Productive Safety Net Program empower women in Tigray, north-east Ethiopia?

Megos Desalegne Gelagay and Els Lecoutere
Discussion paper 2019.01

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), policy instruments for social protection, also have potential to economically empower women. The assessment of the impact of the CCT component in the Productive Safety Net Program in Tigray, Ethiopia, on women’s economic empowerment generates important insights for policy and future CCT programs in similar contexts. Not only does it demonstrate a differential impact on diverse aspects of women’s economic empowerment, it also shows a heterogeneity in the effects in man- and woman-headed households. Women’s access and decision-making power over credit is positively impacted in both types of households, yet, the effect seems larger among woman-headed households, suggesting CCT affect married women differently in this regard. Negative effects are observed as well and call for particular policy attention. Among woman-headed households, CCT reduced women’s decision-making power over agricultural production and asset transfers. If this means women received help in agricultural production and safeguarding their assets as part of the program, this might actually be positive, provided women themselves also appreciate sharing decision-making power. Among man-headed households, there is a negative effect on women’s time available for leisure, which corroborates other findings of increased work burdens due to conditionalities; but here, this only affects married women.


Women in (and out of) artisanal mining: apposing policy and women's lived experiences in Lujinji B and Wakayiba mines, Mubende, Uganda

Stella Muheki and Sara Geenen
Discussion paper 2018.02

This paper is situated within an emerging literature on women in mining. It seeks to understand the role of Ugandan women in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) as well as the impact of formalising ASM on these women. Using insights from research on social exclusion and adverse incorporation, the paper explores the challenges of integrating an informal economy into the formal economy, with an emphasis on the Ugandan Minerals and Mining Policy 2018. The study observes that the regulatory framework underpinning formalisation of ASM glosses over gender considerations and risks further marginalizing women. It suggests ways to mitigate likely impacts of this legislation and argues for real transformative change so as to make women’s participation in ASM more beneficial for them. 

Chicken now, not eggs later: short-termism, underdevelopment and regime stabilisation in the DRC’s oil governance

Patrick Edmond and Kristof Titeca
Discussion paper 2018.01

The DRC has major possibilities for oil development, but very little actual development. This paper aims to show why this is the case, demonstrating that the main function of the oil sector is regime stability, which manifests itself in various ways. First, 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 primarily through not developing the sector, which is much more interesting for short-term rent extraction for the concerned actors. Second, we show how there are political and social logics behind corruption, which are also related with regime-stability: rent extraction is allowed as a form of political reward, but this political logic equally means that it should not be overdone. Overdoing corruption brings unnecessary attention, which is detrimental for regime stability. Paradoxically, oil sector development is contrary to regime stability: internal geopolitics, regional relationships, and central control over major wealth are threatened by sector development. The importance of describing these dynamics goes beyond the oil sector: it allows for a better understanding of how political control and corruption function within the DRC, and how development becomes their victim.


​Local Integration as a Durable Solution? The Case of Rwandan Refugees in Uganda

Frank Ahimbisibwe, Bert Ingelaere and Sarah Vancluysen
IOB Discussion Paper 2017.02

Despite multiple attempts over the last 15 years, Uganda has been unable to find a durable solution for a group of approximately 17,000 Rwandan refugees living on its soil. The cessation of their refugee status has been repeatedly postponed and is about to come into effect at the end of December 2017. If invoked, Rwandan refugees will become illegal immigrants under Ugandan law and can face deportation. This paper argues instead that a policy facilitating local integration in the host country, even if not perfect, offers the best outlook for many Rwandan refugees currently residing in Uganda. In addition, taking into account the voices of these Rwandan refugees themselves, the paper analyses which obstacles still need to be overcome before local integration can be a real durable solution. Two suggestions are made. First, it is needed to move towards a situation of inclusive development for both refugee and host populations in order to guarantee socio-economic integration and avoid potential xenophobia and resentment. Second, Uganda’s conflicting laws need to be addressed in order for refugees to acquire citizenship, an essential dimension of local integration as a durable solution.

Water and local development in Huamantanga:  a pathway interpretation of opportunities and risks of the Law of Compensation and Reward Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services in Peru

Johan Bastiaensen, Patricia Velarde, Katya Pérez, Gert Van Hecken and Bert De Bièvre
IOB Discussion Paper 2017.01

Peru is one of the first countries in the world to introduce a specific law for the promotion and regulation of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). This ‘Law on Compensation and Reward Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services’ (MRSE-Law) mainly aims to protect and restore ecosystems that provide critical services to the Peruvian population, including hydrological services for year round water provisioning.  Since many of the water-related services are produced and affected by poor communities in the uplands of critical watersheds, the PES-arrangements under the MRSE-Law are also held to contribute to reduce poverty and exclusion of and within these communities. Through a case-study of an innovative water management initiative in the village of Huamantanga, which could potentially benefit from the new mechanisms under the MRSE-Law, this paper adopts a pathways perspective to study the risks and opportunities of a water-related PES-arrangement in line with the MRSE-Law. It shows how such an arrangement is inevitably articulated with and embedded within the on-going power-laden institutional bricolage that generates the currently dominant ‘alfalfa-cattle market pathway’, which tends to undermine peasant community control and increases privatization and social differentiation. This raises concerns about the ultimate impact of the proposed MRSE-project, which might end up dispossessing poorer local farmers from their access to the mountain pastures without providing adequate alternatives. However, the participatory and peasant-community based features of the incubating process and the flexible MRSE-legal provisions provide some opportunities to counterbalance this emerging risk.


Diagnosing Monitoring and Evaluation Systems for Climate Change Programs Case Study of the Caribbean’s Climate Change Program

Saudia Rahat and Nathalie Holvoet
IOB Discussion paper 2016.02

This paper is based on a diagnostic exercise of the monitoring and evaluation instrument (MEI) for the Regional Framework for addressing climate change in the Caribbean. The MEI, which operates at the supranational level, was diagnosed to provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the system, understand why they exist and provide guidance on improvements required.The diagnosis covered seven dimensions: institutional readiness; unified system (supply side); results measurement and data management; plans, guidelines, and budgeting; evaluation; verification and demand side. It was elucidated that some of the core requirements for an M&E system shift at various scales (local, national, supranational). For instance, target setting at the supranational level is not driven by the baseline and existing resources, but more so by the aggregation of national priorities which is a function of each country’s political processes. A notable discovery is that there are almost no incentives to promote M&E of mitigation actions outside of the UNFCCC system in the Caribbean. This can result in limited evaluations to detect leakages and document best practices for mitigation programs. Further, the research strongly signaled that investing in a bottom-up approach encourages a unified supply side through the rationalization of indicators and information flows, and can secure buy-in, ownership and ultimately use.Better mainstreaming of M&E across the Caribbean might be attainable through the establishment of a community of practice; release of a policy statement by the CARICOM Secretariat regarding the M&E roles and responsibilities for member states and regional specialized agencies; and the promotion of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) within the ambit of the newly established Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

The Rwenzururu Movement and the Struggle for the Rwenzururu Kingdom in Uganda

Arthur Syahuka-Muhindo and Kristof Titeca
IOB Discussion Paper 2016.01

This paper provides a broad introduction to the Rwenzururu protest movement which erupted in the 1960s in western Uganda as well as the subsequent struggle for the recognition of the Rwenzururu kingdom. The struggle for the recognition of the Rwenzururu kingdom had become the defining factor in the politics and security of the Rwenzori region in post-independence Uganda. Underscoring the different perceptions, challenges, and responses to this struggle by successive post-independence governments, the paper describes how the Rwenzururu struggle has taken place on different levels and political contexts, leading to the recognition of the Rwenzururu kingdom (as the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu) by the NRM government.


The frontiers of the debate on Payments for Ecosystem Services. A proposal for innovative future research

Gert Van Hecken, Johan Bastiaensen and Catherine Windey
Discussion paper 2015.05

This paper offers a review and analysis of the key issues and different perspectives in the Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) debate. We discuss how the current debate has to a certain degree moved beyond ‘neoliberal’ vs. ‘non-neoliberal’ discussions, instead recognizing the variegated ways in which this policy tool plays out in the field. We argue, however, that despite this progress PES research remains weakly theorized in social and political terms, resulting in only superficial understanding of the role of culture, agency, social diversity and power relations in the shaping of PES institutions and their outcomes. Building on insights from other fields and disciplines in the social sciences –in particular critical institutionalism, social anthropology and political ecology-, we subject some of the common assumptions underlying mainstream and alternative conceptualizations of PES and identify the main issues that, we believe, deserve more attention in future research. More specifically, we explore three key challenges in current PES research related to the tendency (1) to assume that institutions can be designed in order to make them ‘fit’ specific human-nature problems; (2) to oversimplify culture and social diversity through the apolitical concept of ‘social capital’; and (3) to conceptualize human agency, collective action, and institutional change through either overly-rational or overly-structuralist models. We argue that an expanded actor-oriented, socially-informed and power-sensitive conceptualization of PES can help generate novel insights in the power geographies underlying institutional logics, and thus the complex ways in which PES policies are shaped and experienced in the field.
Keywords: Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), neoliberal conservation, power, critical institutionalism, institutional bricolage, agency, environmental governance

Making sense of territorial pathways to rural development: a proposal for a normative and analytical framework

J. Bastiaensen, P. Merlet, M. Craps, T. De Herdt, S. Flores, F. Huybrechs, S. Flores, G. Steel and G. Van Hecken
Discussion paper 2015.04 

It is impossible to look at something without conceptual lenses. This also holds true for the way in which one looks at rural development, in particular if one wants to reflect upon strategies to promote more beneficial alternative pathways. This paper therefore introduces a normative and an analytical framework for conceptualizing the development of rural territories. It was developed as a collective effort within the long-term institutional cooperation of the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB, University of Antwerp) and its Nicaraguan partner the Instituto Nitlapan-UCA (Universidad Centroamericana) as part of a VLIR-UOS sponsored project that aimed to support Nitlapan-UCA in its strategy to reposition itself as a university-based service delivery organization within broader rural territorial dynamics. The inspiration for the normative and analytical framework comes from a variety of theoretical sources. These are patched together in order to generate a conceptual lens that provides an actor-oriented, relational view on the criteria to judge development in rural territories which is subsequently connected to a more operational understanding of development as the dynamic emergent outcome of complex interactive processes between a multitude of actors in the institutional realms of ideas, rules and social networks.

Discourses, fragmentation and coalitions: the case of Herakles Farms' large-scale land deal in Cameroon

Teclaire Same Moukoudi and Sara Geenen
Discussion paper 2015.03

This paper contributes to the recent debate on ‘land grabbing’ by analysing the case of Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), a subsidiary of Herakles Farms. The acquisition of over 73,086 hectares of land by this company has spurred the ‘land grabbing debate’ to the limelight in Cameroon, leading to a renegotiation of the initial agreement. The paper concentrates on the following questions: How did the different actors claim their rights to land in the case of the SGSOC - Herakles Farms land deal? What strategies and narratives did they use? And what were the outcomes of these competing claims over land rights? Based on an analysis of both primary and secondary data, the paper makes two main arguments: 1) different sub-groups that are opposing or supporting the large-scale land deal make use of particular (and sometimes similar) discourses; their narratives are manifestations of power relations and have real effects, leading to action and/or legitimation. But on the other hand they are also pretty mainstream in echoing prevailing development discourses; 2) agency in this struggle translates into fragmentation within and between groups as well as (un)likely old and new coalitions. 

La construction d'un socle de protection sociale au Burundi

Frédéric Ntimarubusa 
Discussion paper 2015.02

Since 2011, Burundi has been engaged in the process of building a social protection floor with the adoption of the National Social Protection Policy. This Policy will help to extend the coverage at the majority of Burundian population which is now excluded by the existing schemes. The task will not be easy as more than 60% of the Burundian population live below the poverty line.But on our opinion, the government can achieve the extension of the coverage by adopting strong measures to reduce poverty, measures which are in The Strategic Document to Reduce Poverty 2012-2016 and the Vision 2025.The government will also have to take strong measures to combat social exclusion such as social pensions, family allowances and health care assistance to the needed.The main challenge for the government will be to finance all these social programs. It is increasingly accepted that the sustainable financing of social programs requires domestic and external financing. Then, finding the necessary national fiscal space and identifying exit strategies from external financing remain paramount for the government.Another challenge for the government will be the governance of that social protection floor. It is also accepted that efficient use of resources is crucial. The capacity to deliver social security benefits is increasingly viewed as being linked strongly to the capacity of management and the quality of administration. Meeting this obligation will help to raise contribution compliance and the public trust in social protection agencies.

Arusha at 15: reflections on power-sharing, peace and transition in Burundi

Stef Vandeginste
Discussion paper 2015.01

Fifteen years after the signature of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, this paper presents a state of the art of power-sharing in Burundi. Used both for the purpose of war termination and of constitutional transformation, power-sharing played a critical role in Burundi’s transition from conflict to peace. With the benefit of hindsight, this paper, first of all, sheds some light on how Burundi managed to overcome the adoption problem. Next, it looks into the – so far – sustainable respect for power-sharing, in particular in its ethnic dimension. At the same time, some more light is shed on the impact of recent developments, including the 2010 general elections, on the erosion of one of the pillars of power-sharing in Burundi. In order to understand its dynamics, power-sharing must be placed in the context of stubborn, context specific historical political and institutional features. This paper explains recent developments of power-sharing in Burundi against the background of a tradition of single party rule, state centralism, militarism and neo-patrimonialism.


Colombian Coffee Strategies And The Livelihoods Of Smallholders

Monica Patricia Niño Peña & Wim Pelupessy
Discussion paper 2014.01

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effects that different competitiveness strategies based on commercial quality attributes may have on the livelihoods of small coffee growers in Colombia. Using a combination of global value chain and sustainable livelihood approaches, it appears that the impacts of traditionally applied material quality, symbolic and in-person services characteristics are quite different for the growers.The possibility of smallholders to benefit from quality attributes is greatly influenced by the global chain governance structure imposed by big multinational roasters in developed countries and the National Federation of Coffee Growers who acts as domestic lead firm and official external regulator in Colombia.The unequal power distribution in the chain has effects on growers’ income as they grasp direct benefits from the first transformations of coffee, but are far from the end product that consumers buy. Most of the value added during the coffee trans­formation process accrues to the consuming country where branding, marketing and advertising are high-value generating activities. From the micro-level perspec­tive it appears that endowments of key assets are not enough for growers to reach the poverty line through coffee production exclusively, while the socio-cultural assets of coffee growing are also threatened by disintegrating pressures from the nearby capital Bogotá. Further material and symbolic quality improvements may benefit the growers but are usually not enough to raise household income above the poverty line. A regional denomination of origin strategy may improve the local economic and cultural sustainability of coffee growing.


The future ofartisanal gold mining and miners under an increasing industrial presence in South Kivu and Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Sara Geenen, Daniel Fahey and Francine Iragi Mukotanyi
Discussion paper 2013.03

While the Congolese government is actively promoting large-scale industrial mining since it provides easy rents, artisanal mining seems to escape most attempts to control and regulate it. Yet artisanal mining provides employment and livelihoods to an estimated million people. This paper presents original research on artisanal gold miners in Province Orientale (Ituri district) and South Kivu. In both locations, the start of industrial gold mining operations threatens to displace artisanal mining from some of the areas where the soils and rocks have the highest gold concentrations. The research findings presented in this paper thus provide an understanding of artisanal miners’ perceptions on their work, income and livelihoods, at a time of transition, when local economies are shifting from purely artisanal production to a mix of industrial and artisanal production. They demonstrate that artisanal miners are strongly committed to their jobs and livelihoods. Even if they are displaced by industrial mining operations, artisanal miners are likely to remain within the sector, moving to new or existing mining sites. Thus, the success of state- or corporate-sponsored resettlement programs and alternative livelihood schemes may be affected by the desire of artisanal miners to retain their livelihood. While academics and policymakers debate whether industrial or artisanal mining can lead to long-term economic development, the survey results suggest that from the point of view of those engaged in artisanal mining, the artisanal livelihood is seen as more likely than large-scale mining to promote development, in part because it provides large numbers of relatively-good paying jobs.

Adolescents and Violence: Lessons from Burundi

Marc Sommers
Discussion paper 2013.02

Burundi has one of the youngest and poorest populations in the world. Known as a rural-based nation, its urban growth rate is among the world’s highest. These defining characteristics of contemporary Burundi shaped field research on the state of Burundian adolescents and the role of violence in their lives. The research, undertaken in late 2012, found a profusion of young Burundians threatened by deprivation and domestic and sexual violence. Most receive limited social and state protection and have difficulty remaining in school, finding work or securing adulthood. In the countryside, strong cultural traditions and a weak state facilitate the mistreatment of orphans and girls who become unmarried mothers. In Bujumbura, many adolescents arrive alone and are vulnerable to exploitation. Their condition is underscored by girl prostitutes called Toto Show and the Manjema men who “eat” them. Adolescents and Violence contrasts factors and specific populations that might fuel violent conflict with countervailing factors that have the potential to promote peace. The discussion paper ends by highlighting twelve lessons, drawn from the field research in Burundi, that promise to powerfully impact post-war development and reconstruction work in other countries.

Let's Be Friends: The United States, Post-Genocide Rwanda, and Victor's Justice in Arusha

Luc Reydams
Discussion paper 2013.01

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued its last verdict in December 2012. This article examines whether the ICTR was doomed from the start to be a court of ‘victor’s justice.’ I explore the issue by re-examining the politics of the ICTR’s creation. Interviews with (former) US and UN ambassadors and hundreds of declassified diplomatic telegrams (‘cables’) and intelligence reports of the US Department of State shed new light on this process. My analysis concentrates on the strategy of the RPF vis-à-vis the international community and the responses of the United Nations and United States. In a previous publication, I claim that US leadership is a necessary (but not a sufficient) condition for successful international prosecutions. Building on that research, I argue that understanding the evolution of the relation between Washington and Kigali – from an early, almost accidental support of the RPF to nearly unconditional backing – can help explain RPF impunity. I do not suggest that Washington planned to shield Kagame from international prosecution, or that the US was the only Security Council member to embrace him. However, once Washington entered into a partnership with the ‘new’ Rwanda, it was committed to moving forward – and this implied burying the past and oftentimes also ignoring the present. The result was victor’s justice in Arusha – and seemingly endless war in neighboring Congo.


Rwanda's Ruling Party-Owned Enterprises

Nilgün Gökgür
Discussion paper 2012.03

In the last 18 years, large enterprises have emerged in post-conflict Rwanda, which are fully or partially owned and controlled by the ruling party – Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) – in association with state-owned enterprises, the military and the RPF-appointed managers (i.e. the new business elite).  These enterprises (i.e. ‘party-statals’) operate in key sectors of the economy, thus constituting the RPF’s business empire.  The Government of Rwanda (GoR) initially created them in order to spearhead much-needed economic development.  Over the years, however, it has expanded them in number and in size, instead of cultivating its hapless private sector. By virtue of their incestuous relationship with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Defence and certain state-owned banks, the party-statals have become increasingly reliant on the state’s scarce fiscal and monetary resources – the latter made possible with budgetary support from development partners. The expansion of these capital and skill-intensive party-statals, with their guarantees of massive asymmetry in market access and profits through state backing, has begun to impede the growth of a more inclusive, broad-based and labour-intensive private sector. Based on newly available but necessarily limited data, this paper provides a framework with which to assess the actual and potential developmental impact of party-statals (individually and combined) on various stakeholders, including the Government of Rwanda, development partners, owners and operators, domestic and international investors, the Rwandan workforce and consumers. The paper further argues that the international donor community should insist on transparency and full disclosure of the party-statals’ financial statements, that it should monitor their fiscal activity with the state and that it should assess their impact on stakeholders and private sector development. Finally, the paper proposes exit strategies aimed at improving competitive dynamics within the domestic business environment, where competition is desirable and feasible, thereby benefiting Rwandans as investors, workers and consumers.

Struggles over property rights in the context of large scale transnational land acquisitions. Using legal pluralism to re-politicize the debate.

Pierre Merlet and Johan Bastiaensen
Discussion paper 2012.02

A key issue in the context of increasing large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries is how poor populations can prevent their land rights being encroached upon by more powerful actors. To date, the majority of policy recommendations have been directed towards the legal recognition and formalization of land rights in order to safeguard local and historical land rights holders, as well as towards the design and implementation of ‘voluntary’ guidelines or codes of conduct which should regulate large-scale investments in land, in order to contribute to positive development outcomes. We argue, however, that these types of recommendations tend to depoliticize the debate surrounding access to land and natural resources. This paper therefore aims to reintroduce a political dimension into the analysis, by proposing a framework based on the socio-institutional definitionof land rights consistent with the legal pluralist approach. It acknowledges a multiplicity of land rights and rights holders, governed by the existence of several superimposed normative orders and social fields.It also implies that state and non-state normative orders interact to determine land management practices and, as a result, also the actual ‘rules in use’ that are followed and enforced locally.We demonstrate the analytical potential of this theoretical framework using case studies from Ghana and Madagascar, two countries with different legal traditions and distinct levels of recognition of non-state tenure systems. Our tentative analysis reveals that what is fundamentally at stake are power relations and social struggles between actors in a variety of social fields.The key is therefore to strengthen the bargaining capacity of weaker actors within certain political arenas when it comes to land. Their capacity is not unrelated to the nature of formal national and international legal orders, since these co-shape and affect actors’ bargaining position, but we should not expect a one-way relationship between formal rules and the effective enforcement of the rights of the poor. Related issues that will also play a critical role in the analysis are broader discursive struggles regarding the concept of ‘idle land’; the role of small-scale family production versus large-scale entrepreneurial production in agricultural development; and the requirements of social and environmental sustainability.

From Property Rights and Institutions, to Beliefs and Social Orders: Revisiting Douglass North's Approach to Development

Sebastian Dellepiane-Avellaneda
Discussion paper 2012.01

Douglass North is a uniquely creative and inspiring social scientist. The impact of North’s ideas in the area development cooperation can hardly be overstated. By stressing the role of institutions, this scholar has immensely influenced development thinking and practice, providing intellectual underpinnings to the dominant good governance paradigm. North’s landmark Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance is one of the most cited books in the social sciences. This paper contends, however, that North’s ideas are widely cited, but not always properly understood. Moreover, some of his core arguments have been overlooked, ignored, or misrepresented, not least by the aid community. This paper provides a systematic assessment of the content and evolution of North’s writings, from his pioneering works on property rights and institutions in the 1970s, to his recent scholarship on beliefs and political violence. The focus is on identifying the key analytical problems and remaining challenges of the institutional approach to development. The paper also takes issue with the inconsistencies and policy gaps of the good governance consensus. In doing so, it also reflects upon the future of the research program on institutions and development. Would the renewed emphasis on politics, conflict, inequality, and context lead to an improved governance agenda or to a shift towards a post-institutionalist paradigm?


Voting practices and voters' political thinking during the 2010 Burundi elections

Hélène Helbig de Balzac, Bert Ingelaere and Stef Vandeginste
Discussion paper 2011.06

A scholarly consensus exists regarding the fact that electoral processes can facilitate democratisation but can equally be the source of instability and/or advance authoritarian rule. Generally, these processes are analyzed by focussing on macro-political institutions and actors. This paper, however, presents a « bottom-up » analysis of the 2010 electoral proces in Burundi through the analysis of survey results that are representative for the Burundian electorate. The results reveal the existence of two regional tendencies regarding “political mobilisation”. In addition, four major “electoral groups” can be identified throughout the Burundian territory. Although the “generic” motivation to exercise civic rights and democratic duties through elections is widespread throughout these electoral groups and regions, the findings reveal that an important part of the electorate is either disinterested or characterized by populistic or clientelistic thinking and behaviour. The findings also suggest the existence of a divide between the perceived preoccupations of the political class and the aspirations of the ordinary population. Situated in the context of twenty years of political transition in Burundi, these “pragmatic” and “populistic” practices and local ways of political thinking observed during the 2010 electoral process reveal the danger of an instrumentalisation of these tendencies by anti-democratic and/or violent “forces”. Secondly, it raises the question how to democratize Burundi’s political transition in substance, thus also in local popular thoughts and practices.

Pratiques de vote et pensées politiques des électeurs durant les élections de 2010 au Burundi

Hélène Helbig de Balzac, Stef Vandeginste and Bert Ingelaere
Discussion paper 2011.05

Il existe un consensus scientifique concernant le fait que les processus électoraux peuvent faciliter la démocratisation mais peuvent également être la source d’instabilité ou encore amener un régime autoritaire. Généralement, ces processus sont analysés en mettant l’accent sur les acteurs et les institutions politiques macros. Cet article présente toutefois une analyse par le bas du processus électoral de 2010 au Burundi par le biais de l’analyse des résultats d’un sondage représentatif de l’électorat burundais. Les résultats révèlent l’existence de deux tendances régionales sur le plan de la « mobilisation politique ». En plus, quatre grands «groupes d’électeurs » peuvent être distingués au sein du territoire burundais. Bien que la motivation « générique », c’est-à-dire l’exercice des droits civiques grâce à des élections, soit très répandue dans l’ensemble de ces groupes d’électeurs et les diverses régions du pays identifiées, les résultats révèlent qu’une partie importante de l’électorat est désintéressée ou alors caractérisée par des comportements et des pensées populistes ou clientélistes. Les résultats indiquent également l’existence d’un fossé entre la perception des préoccupations de la classe politique et les aspirations de la population ordinaire. Situées dans le contexte de vingt années de transition politique au Burundi, ces pratiques « pragmatiques » et « populistes » et les modes de pensée politique observés au niveau local durant le processus électoral de 2010 révèlent le danger d’une instrumentalisation de ces tendances par des « forces » antidémocratiques et/ou violentes. En second lieu, se pose également la question de savoir comment démocratiser en substance la transition politique du Burundi, donc aussi dans les pratiques et les pensées populaires locales.

Community-based initiatives in response to the OVC crisis in North Central Uganda

Kristof Titeca and Samuel Samson Omwa
Discussion paper 2011.04

In response to the orphan crisis, a number of community initiatives have proliferated to enhance service delivery to OVCs (Orphans and other Vulnerable Children). Part of the literature paints a bleak and pessimistic picture: it believes that community based support interventions anchored on the family are faltering under the weight of increasing number of orphans; while others argue that communities are innovative and resilient to the extent that they have devised new coping strategies. The paper shows how OVC community responses in Northern Uganda are under severe pressure from a range of factors; but how these community initiatives are not collapsing – as the ‘social rupture’ thesis predicts. Instead, these community initiatives are dynamic and constantly evolving through various mechanisms to respond to the challenges of meeting the needs of the orphans. The paper shows how some of these initiatives are more successful than others in doing so.

Towards an Understanding of Civil Society Organisations' Involvement in Monitoring and Evaluation Unpacking the Accountability and Feedback Function of M&E

Marie Gildemyn
Discussion paper 2011.03

The focus on Aid effectiveness and the adoption of aid modalities, such as budget support, has put the spotlight on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Both donors and recipient countries are asked to reform their M&E system in line with the principles of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. These reforms should improve country-led M&E systems and enable them to perform their dual function: 1) strengthening (domestic) accountability to ensure the implementation of programmes and policies, and, 2) provide feedback to improve programmes and policies.

The Belgian NGO Landscape and the Challenges of the New Aid approach: Dealing with Fragmentation and Emerging Complexities

Nadia Molenaers, Leen Nijs and Huib Huyse
Discussion paper 2011.02

Belgium's Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)-sector embodies some of the country's most distinctive characteristics. Two of its main features are the affiliation of many organisations to one of the societal pillars and the divergence of the NGO-landscape on the different sides of the language border. A high degree of fragmentation is the result of these traits, which manifests itself internally in a scattering of small organisations and externally in a dispersion of NGOs' aid in the south. Past attempts of the bilateral aid agency to alleviate this ineffective situation have only been partially successful. Currently however the aid effectiveness debate is increasingly putting pressure on official and private aid actors to rethink the current practices of the non-governmental channel. Conflicting tendencies influence this debate, and in this chapter we aim to identify the elements that push the advance for a more effective Belgian NGO-sector, and those that possess the potential to obstruct it.

Approfondir le profilage géographique de la pauvreté en RDC: L'introduction d'indices composites sur base des avoirs

Wim Marivoet and Hugues Keje
Discussion paper 2011.01

Par nécessité ainsi qu’à cause de leur valeur intrinsèque et complémentaire, les méthodes synthétiques sur base des avoirs (en anglais: « asset-based approaches ») ont dernièrement regagné en importance dans l’évaluation de la pauvreté. Dans ce papier de recherche, on va appliquer l’une de ces méthodes statistiques sur les données de l’Enquête 1-2-3 (2004-5), en complétant ainsi le profil de la pauvreté monétaire en RDC. Les résultats de cette étude montrent que les ménages dans le milieu urbain disposent d’un ensemble d’avoirs plus important, de telle sorte qu’ils sont moins vulnérables aux chocs et plus capables de poursuivre une meilleure vie que leurs homologues ruraux. Ceci compte d’autant plus pour la province urbanisée de Kinshasa par rapport, à l’autre bout de l’échelle, aux provinces du Bandundu, du Maniema, Orientale et de l’Equateur. Par conséquent, et après avoir examiné les dimensions ‘budget’ et ‘capital’, on constate que la pauvreté urbaine en RDC est moins structurelle que celle de la campagne, ce qui nécessite donc des interventions d’un autre type.


Budget support and policy/political dialogue - Donor practices in handling (political) crises

Nadia Molenaers, Linas Cepinskas and Bert Jacobs
Discussion paper 2010.06

Budget support entered the aid scene at the turn of the millennium and it is considered as the aid modality par excellence to foster ownership and more effective aid through institutional reform. In 2008-2009 a number of political events in aid receiving African countries however pointed at the difficult relation between budget support and (political) governance. The paper analyzes donor policies and practices surrounding policy/political dialogue and budget support and offers a number of policy recommendations on where and how to deal with "political" issues.

Food Aid Impact on Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidence from Rural Households in Ethiopia

Mulubrhan Amare Reda & Germán Calfat
Discussion paper 2010.05

Ethiopia is one of the highest food aid recipient countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Despite the magnitude of the aid, its impact as development resource is inconclusive in both theoretical and empirical evidences. This paper evaluates the impact of food aid on poverty reduction making use of an Ethiopian rural longitudinal household survey data (ERHS) primarily collected in 1999 and 2004, with the purpose to add empirical evidences on the existing debate on food aid. Besides, it deals with the correlation of poverty assets which has fundamental importance for policy implication and the choice of appropriate development strategies.

Institutional Embeddedness of Local Willingness to Pay for Environmental Services: Evidence From Matiguás, Nicaragua

Gert Van Hecken, Johan Bastiaensen and William Vásquez
Discussion paper 2010.04

The concept of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) has gained increasing popularity in the conservation literature as it offers the potential to reconcile opposing social and ecological objectives by paying land owners for the positive environmental externalities they generate on their land. Based on extensive fieldwork in Matiguás, Nicaragua, this paper aims to complement the literature on locally-financed PES schemes in agricultural watersheds. Using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches, it inquires into the under-researched demand-side potential by assessing local willingness to pay (WTP) for water and watershed services in an upstream-downstream setting.

Managing Multilaterals' Effectiveness: Which way forward?

Koen De Koster and Nathalie Holvoet
Discussion paper 2010.03

This paper analyzes the current state of affairs in the field of assessing multilaterals. It feeds into the debate on how bilateral donors should effectively and efficiently manage the performance of the MOs they fund. The analysis of three country cases (Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) reveals significant differences in the performance management of multilaterals by bilaterals. The paper examines these differences in the light of the literature on performance measurement. It argues that while donors are increasing their efforts in measuring the performance of multilaterals, the use of this information often remains insufficient.

The new territorial paradigm of rural development: Theoretical foundations from systems and institutional theories

Mateo Ambrosio-Albalá and Johan Bastiaensen
Discussion paper 2010.02

This paper reflects about the governance of development and change in rural areas. It builds a conceptual framework from two complementary theoretical sources: (a) complexity theory views on the governance of resilience and (b) institutional theories. Given the impossibility to predict and plan social change in a top-down fashion, it stresses that change requires that actors of a social system construct a sufficiently shared vision of a desired future state and manage to act together in order to 'navigate' the pathway towards that aim. Capacity for territorial governance is also critical in rural governance of resilience. System resilience refers to the capacity of actors to adjust the desired pathway whenever external shocks threaten its viability, or in certain cases, impose the need for a more fundamental change in the prevailing system and the desired pathways of change.

Challenges in impact evaluation of development interventions: opportunities and limitations for randomized experiments

Jos Vaessen
Discussion paper 2010.01

This paper discusses the prospects and limitations of REs from the perspective of three categories of challenges in impact evaluation: delimitation and scope, attribution versus explanation, and implementation challenges. The implicit lesson is twofold. First of all, the question 'to randomize or not to randomize' is overrated in the current debate. Limitations in scope, applicability as well as implementation will necessarily restrict the use of REs in development impact evaluation. There is a risk that the current popularity of REs in certain research and policy circles might lead to a backlash as too high expectations of REs may quicken its demise.