Accepted paper:

The politics of state capacity in Rwanda: "pockets of effectiveness" and the developmental state in the 21st century

Authors:

Benjamin Chemouni (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

This paper interrogates the role of bureaucratic "pockets of effectiveness" (PoEs) in the state-building trajectory of Rwanda since the genocide and its attempt to become an African developmental state. It reflects on whether PoEs in Rwanda can play a similar role as in Asian developmental states.

Paper long abstract:

This paper interrogates the role of bureaucratic "pockets of effectiveness" (PoEs) in the state-building trajectory of Rwanda since the genocide and its attempt to become an African developmental state. The Rwandan case does not seem to clearly follow the patterns of other African countries whereby few effective public organizations exist in an otherwise relatively dysfunctional governance context. Under the Rwandan dominant political settlement, while some organisations clearly over-perform, performance is relatively well distributed in the state apparatus. In addition, performance differentials between "pockets of effectiveness" and the rest of the state might be smaller than observed elsewhere. By taking the cases of a PoE -the Ministry of Finance- and of organisations performing less well such as the Rwandan Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure, the paper aims at understanding this phenomenon and reflecting on whether PoEs in Rwanda can play a similar role as in Asian developmental states. The paper also aims at analysing the conditions under which pockets of effectiveness can spread and constitute a feasible basis for broader state building.

back to panel H4
Stream:
Transnational political economies of development
State capacity and the politics of development in Africa [paper]