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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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).

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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.

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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.

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