Power and policy-making in the DR Congo: The politics of human resource management and payroll reform
IOB Working Paper 2018.01
Over the past fifteen years, the DRC has been engaged in a vast process of state reconstruction and reform, with significant support provided by donors. Partly due to an inimical political context, though, until 2012 donor-sponsored attempts at civil service reform and retirement remained limited and proved largely inconclusive. Since then, a series of encouraging steps have been taken with regards to administrative reform: the launching of the key reform of bancarisation in 2011, a revised civil service reform strategy supported by the World Bank in 2013. This paper provides an overview of the politics of HR management and payroll reform in the
DRC, in order to situate the dynamics behind current civil service and payroll reform initiatives. The political economy of wage payment has already been substantially altered by bancarisation, and payroll and HR management can be considered as the administrative and technical ‘infrastructure’ on which payment of remunerations rest. While bancarisation has been presented as a resounding success, HR and payroll management is mired in considerable opacity and malpractice. Why do certain policies in the DR Congo work, and others fail? What are the wider political dynamics, but also the sectoral specificities, which drive such reforms? And what
impact do donors have on these policies? The paper should be read as an introductory literature review on these aspects, providing a tentative sketch of how political settlement analysis and organisational ethnography can be used to make sense of these questions.