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Title Page & Intro


congo

democracy project.

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Title Page & Intro


congo

democracy project.

 

The Congo Democracy Project (CDP) provides independent analysis, original data and research on elections and democratic governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

We amplify Congolese voices and Congolese perspectives on democracy, focusing primarily on national elections but also addressing local and provincial elections.

Our work is made possible by the generous support of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

 
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The DRC, a fragile but resilient country emerging from over two decades of armed conflict, is on the brink of an acute political crisis that could send ripple effects across Central Africa.

2016 was set to mark Congo's first ever peaceful and democratic transition of executive power, a significant political watershed.

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The DRC, a fragile but resilient country emerging from over two decades of armed conflict, is on the brink of an acute political crisis that could send ripple effects across Central Africa.

2016 was set to mark Congo's first ever peaceful and democratic transition of executive power, a significant political watershed.

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Instead, President Joseph Kabila - in power since his father's assassination in 2001 - looks set to extend his stay in office beyond the two term limit imposed by the country's constitution.

Presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2016 are likely to be delayed, and local elections planned for August 2015 have been indefinitely suspended.

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Instead, President Joseph Kabila - in power since his father's assassination in 2001 - looks set to extend his stay in office beyond the two term limit imposed by the country's constitution.

Presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2016 are likely to be delayed, and local elections planned for August 2015 have been indefinitely suspended.

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After more than two decades of fighting, there is no "silver bullet" that will secure peace, prosperity and democracy overnight in the DRC.

Free and fair elections do not guarantee participatory, liberal democratic governance.

But the likely postponement of this year's elections threatens to spark renewed conflict, with tensions on the rise.

Story Scroll_3


After more than two decades of fighting, there is no "silver bullet" that will secure peace, prosperity and democracy overnight in the DRC.

Free and fair elections do not guarantee participatory, liberal democratic governance.

But the likely postponement of this year's elections threatens to spark renewed conflict, with tensions on the rise.

Democracy Map


Democracy Map


donor mapping: elections & democratic governance.

one: introduction.

What? 

This interactive map visualizes the various projects focused on democratic governance and elections in the DRC. It sorts relevant projects by 13 categories, each of which is represented on the map by a different colored marker. Clicking on a marker reveals a summary of the project, its donor and implementing partner(s). The combined total budget of all projects in a given province is also represented on the map. The provinces with the greatest investment are green, and the provinces with the least investment are red. A full-screen version is available here.

Why? 

Stakeholders from the Government of DRC, Congolese civil society, the diplomatic and development communities identified a common challenge: limited information about the various ongoing projects designed to support democratic governance and the next electoral cycle in the DRC. The Congo Democracy Project received several requests to help tackle this problem. The map's first and principal objective, therefore, is to provide information on on-going relevant projects in the DRC in a clear, accessible and transparent way. But our analysis also revealed several thematic and geographic "gaps": provinces and project categories that had received little funding or attention from international donors. Our second objective is to help inform future coordination to address these gaps, contributing to a more strategic approach to investments in democratic governance and elections in Congo.

Where? 

This map covers the entirety of the DRC. And while the markers on the map do represent the approximate location of each of these projects, they do not represent the full scope or geographic reach of each project. A project based in one city, for example, may have impact in rural or semi-urban geographies surrounding that city. The project markers therefore represent only the core target zone of a given intervention. 

When? And how?

Researchers from the Congo Democracy Project traveled to the DRC on several occasions in early 2016 to collect project data, working alongside donors, implementers and civil society actors to verify the information we received about these projects. And while the majority of the most influential stakeholders from the international community were canvassed and included, our dataset is not comprehensive and needs to be regularly updated to reflect an ever-shifting funding landscape. If your project has not been included or has been misrepresented in any way, please contact us. 

 

two: where are the thematic gaps?

Our international donor mapping exercise revealed a number of important project categories that been relatively marginalized by international donors in their support for elections and democratic governance in the DRC.

To better analyze specific projects, we've removed the province coloring from the map below and just left the project markers. Full-screen version available here.

A total of 197 individual projects are highlighted below and divided into 13 different categories, including an "other" category. Congo Democracy Project staff defined these categories in consultation with leading DRC analysts and practitioners:

The map highlights that some categories of projects are significantly more prevalent than others. The pie chart below clearly demonstrates this break-down, showing the percentage of projects that fall under each category:

Percentage Share: Project Categories

Monitoring and observation (26%); Civic education (20%; Elections media (19%); Forums and political debates (9%); Women's political participation (9%); Public institution capacity building (6%); Political party capacity building (2%); Electoral justice (2%); Other (2%); Technical support to CENI (2%); Candidate training (1.4%); Technical analysis (1.3%); Surveys and polling (0.3%)

More than half of all democratic governance and elections-focused projects supported by international donors in the DRC are restricted to just three of the 13 project categories: monitoring and observation, civic education and elections media.

Only one in ten projects focus on building the capacity of Congolese democratic institutions: be they public institutions, the CENI or political parties.

And while women represent just 42 out of the 500 members of DRC's National Assembly and 4% of Congo's Senators, only 9% of relevant projects supported by international donors seek to tackle the obstacles to increased women's participation in public decisionmaking and the political process.

A wider trend confirmed by several donors is an increasing hesitancy to invest in projects deemed to be "politically sensitive." Amidst rising tension linked to uncertainty about future elections, deteriorating relationships with President Kabila's administration, and the government's increasingly brutal repression of opposition figures and protestors, donors' appetite for funding such projects is limited at this moment in time.

This may partly explain the significant allocation of donor budgets towards issues such as civic education and long-term civil society monitoring efforts. That is not to claim that such projects are not contentious: they can be and have been so on numerous occasions. However, candidate training projects for opposition parties and running polls on the president's popularity can reasonably be regarded as more sensitive in the current political climate. Only limited financial resources have been dedicated to these more sensitive projects, perhaps regarded as "riskier investments." 

 

three: where are the geographic gaps?

The CDP's mapping initiative also revealed that there are stark disparities in the amount of donor funds invested in the DRC's different provinces and regions.

To facilitate this province-based analysis, we've removed the individual project markers entirely from the map below. We leave only the "heat map" layer, showing each province's combined total amount of funding for elections and democratic governance projects.

The provinces with the least funding are colored red, progressing along a sliding color scale to the provinces with the most funding which are highlighted in green. The full-screen version is available here.

There are a number of important caveats that must frame our analysis of total donor investments by province. These project budget are not comprehensive and are therefore only indicative of trends in donors' relative financial commitments to elections and democratic governance projects in each of the DRC's 26 provinces. 

The first and most significant such methodological clarification concerns the important difference between a given project's total budget and the total amount spent. While a donor may allocate a certain budget towards a project, it is entirely possible that that entire sum is never fully spent. For example, as highlighted in recent testimony to the UK Parliament's International Development Committee, there is significant under-spend on budgets allocated to projects surrounding the DRC's 2015 / 2016 electoral cycle by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID).

In our calculations for this map, we have included all allocated funds - not funds spent to date. Often, CDP researchers found that precise numbers on total funding spent to date were hard to come by. Different donors and implementers have different reporting timelines, different financial reporting systems, and different regulations on financial transparency. This leads to some over-estimation of total donor funding for elections and democratic governance in the DRC.

Secondly, the budget totals represented on the above map include all project costs, including overhead and administrative expenses for the organizations, grantees and sub-grantees implementing these projects. The total amount of funding invested directly in activities in support of elections and democratic governance in the DRC is therefore less than the totals represented here. It was similarly challenging to gain uniform and universal access to detailed project budgets. Again, this inevitably causes some over-estimation of total funding invested in this sector.

Thirdly, budget calculations presented here include each project's total multi-year budget. This is merely a "snapshot" of the combined total budgets of all projects that were in the implementation phase in April 2016. For example: ehe total budget of a five-year project that began in 2011 would be included, as would the total budget of a five-year project that began in March 2016 but will run until 2021. It is hard to know if this has led to an under-estimation or over-estimation of the total funding invested in this sector. However, this methodological weakness does somewhat undermine claims to precision about the quantity of international donors' support for elections and democratic governance in the DRC at a given moment in time, or in a given year. With greater transparency on year-to-date expenditure from donors and implementers alike, future mapping efforts could therefore provide more precise figures on the total amount spent directly on activities over the course of a given month, quarter or year.

And finally, it's important to underscore that increased quantity of investment does not necessarily result in improved quality of projects. Investing greater resources in the elections and democratic governance space does not necessarily guarantee improved outcomes if those projects are ill-conceived, poorly executed, or limited by some external factor.

The combined budget total of all the projects in our database is $70.9 million (USD). However, for all the reasons described above, it's important to consider this figure as an indicative rather than definitive total of all donor investments in the sector.

That said, these figures still allow us to identify key trends in the geographic location of projects in this space, as represented in the bar chart below:

Percentage Share Per Province: Project Investments

Kinshasa (24.4%); Sud-Kivu (23.6%); Nord-Kivu (13%); Maniema (8.7%); Haut-Katanga (8.6%); Kasai Central (8.1%); Kongo Central (2.1%); Lualaba (1.9%); Tshopo (1.4%); Kasai Oriental (1.2%); Kwilu (1%); Haut-Uele (0.8%); Equateur (0.7%); Sub-Ubangi (0.5%); Bas-Uele (0.4%); Sankuru (0.4%); Kwango (0.4%); Mai-Ndombe (0.3%); Ituri (0.3%); Kasai (0.3%); Lomami (0.3%); Mongala (0.3%); Nord-Ubangi (0.3%); Tanganika (0.3%); Tshuapa (0.3%).

These differences are striking. 61% of all funding for elections and democratic governance projects is funneled towards just three of the DRC's provinces: Kinshasa, Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu. The 16 most marginalized provinces in the DRC subsume just 7% of total allocated donor funding for this sector.

A reasonable technical logic may well underpin some of these regional variations. Donors can leverage each others' investments in the same geographies to maximize impact for their own investments. For example: it may make sense for one donor to invest in a training project for journalists in the same province or city where another donor has recently supported the construction of a new, powerful antenna for the most influential independent radio station.

In a context where funding is inevitably finite, it also makes sense for donors and implementing partners to invest and spend those funds strategically and prioritize certain provinces: perhaps those with the largest populations, the worst affected by armed conflict, or the most substantial risk of future electoral violence. 

A future phase of the Congo Democracy Project's research may include developing a statistical model to help inform these decisions about "priority provinces", that simultaneously analyzes a wide variety of such variables.

It's very difficult to know how many people there are per province in the DRC: the last nationwide census was in 1984. However, taking the best available data and projections, we discovered some interesting trends in democratic governance project investment per person in each province:

Province $ Spend Per Person: Project Investments

Sud-Kivu ($3.34); Maniema ($3.28); Kinshasa ($1.94); Kasai Central ($1.94); Haut-Katanga ($1.56); Nord-Kivu ($1.25); Lualaba ($0.80); Kongo Central ($0.40); Tshopo ($0.39); Equateur ($0.32); Kasai Oriental ($0.32); Haut-Uele ($0.31); Bas-Uele ($0.29); Sankuru ($0.23); Kwilu ($0.15); Kwango ($0.14); Sub-Ubangi ($0.14); Mai-Ndombe ($0.13); Nord-Ubangi ($0.13); Mongala ($0.11); Lomami ($0.10); Tanganika ($0.08); Haut-Lomami ($0.08); Kasai ($0.06); Ituri ($0.05)

This analysis reveals even starker disparities in the amount of donor funding allocated per province. Total investment in elections and democratic governance projects in Sud-Kivu is $3.34 per person. By contrast, it is as low as $0.06 per person in Kasai province. Given the scale of the challenges in Nord-Kivu, the province also appears relatively under-funded at $1.25 in relevant project investments per person. 

Investment per person in Ituri province is just $0.05 and the province has received only 0.3% of all donor funding for elections and democratic governance projects. The provincial-level map below hones in on the projects currently being implemented in Ituri and surrounding regions (full page version):

As the map demonstrates, both the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK's DFID are supporting projects in Ituri province. 

DFID are working in partnership with the Carter Center and la Commission episcopale justice et paix (CEJP) to support a local network of election observers' work: they monitored and reported on the March 2016 indirect elections of Ituri's governor and vice-governor, for example, with allegations of government attempts to influence the outcome in favor of majority party loyalists.

USAID are also working with CEJP in Ituri province as part of their "Bonkengi Bwa Maponomi" project, strengthening the organizational and technical capacity of CEJP to conduct election observation missions in accordance with international standards. Beyond these two projects, however, the international community has made few investments in elections and democratic governance projects. 

In this context, Ituri should be regarded as one of the main priority provinces for donors' further investments in future electoral cycles and democratic governance projects in the DRC. Located in the far northeast of the country on the border with Uganda, Ituri faces deep ethnic and political cleavages. The province is at heightened risk of electoral violence in future ballots. This is also the region of the DRC where opposition to President Kabila's rule is most widespread and fervent, as confirmed a by recent polling in the region. 

Donors' relative underinvestment in provinces such as Ituri could be explained by numerous factors. As suggested above, there may be legitimate reasons to focus project investments on other target provinces - although the evidence indicates that Ituri should almost certainly be regarded as one of those high-risk regions.

Poor infrastructure and prohibitive transport costs mean that many such provinces are challenging for international nonprofits to operate in, and similarly challenging to recruit staff to.

In turn, there is a perception both among many donors and international nonprofits that effective and capable Congolese civil society partners in these regions are few are far between beyond a few select provinces: Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu and Kinshasa. This perception may not align with reality, however. As numerous previous analyses have confirmed, there are many capable Congolese organizations working on issues of elections and democratic governance in many different regions of the country. Countless networks of capable analysts and community champions exist across the DRC, many with the organizational capacity, technical competency and willingness to partner with international donors and nonprofits.

A future initiative of the Congo Democracy Project, working in partnership with the Kinshasa-based Agir pour des élections transparentes et apaisées (AETA), will be to map the most effective Congolese organizations working on these issues in each province. It is hoped that this database will help facilitate new project partnerships between international donors, nonprofits and Congolese civil society actors in these under-funded provinces.

 

four: recommendations.

On the basis of our findings, the Congo Democracy Project makes the following five recommendations to international donors seeking to support democratic governance and future electoral cycles in the DRC:

  1. Allocate a greater share of funding to critical projects that build and support the DRC's democratic institutions: political parties, including opposition parties; candidates for public offices, particularly women candidates; and public bodies, including security and justice sector institutions. These efforts remain critically under-funded at present.
  2. Ensure that provinces at high risk of future electoral violence and large urban populations receive a commensurate level of investment in democratic governance and elections-focused projects. It is logical to prioritize certain provinces given finite resources, but numerous high risk provinces continue to be relatively neglected. Ituri should be considered a first priority for future projects given the critical lack of projects currently funded there, as well as Tanganika and Lualaba provinces. 
  3. Combine a technical and political approach to elections and democratic governance in the DRC. While this analysis has focused on the technical aspects - the type, location and budget of projects - it is critical that such investments be coupled with robust diplomatic engagement. The challenges are both political and technical in nature, and a strategy that neglects either aspect is destined to fail: the international community's overly technical and insufficiently political approach to the flawed 2011 national elections is a cautionary tale to this end. Donors should work in close strategic partnership with other members of the international community to apply diplomatic pressure on the Government of DRC while investing financially in Congolese democracy at the grassroots level. 
  4. Improve coordination of investments in the democratic governance and elections space. There have been suggestions of duplication of project funds - particularly in civic education projects - in the DRC. This need not be the case; two donors may quite strategically decide to support parallel community sensitization efforts in the same province. Yet coordination of these efforts is critical to ensure parallel efforts are working in collaboration and not targeting the exact same territories, groupements or communes, for example.
  5. Regard efforts to build liberal democratic institutions and expand political participation in the DRC as a holistic, long-term investment in strengthening democratic and participatory governance at the grassroots level. While some projects and some funding may reasonably be made conditional upon the organization of elections, it remains important to invest in these efforts at all stages of future electoral cycles. 
 
 
 
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Parliament Testimony


advocacy.

The Congo Democracy Project's Director, Tom O'Bryan, recently provided testimony on elections and democratic governance in the DRC to the UK Houses of Parliament.

Evidence was provided as part of the International Development Committee's inquiry into fragility and development in the DRC.

Read online here

Parliament Testimony


advocacy.

The Congo Democracy Project's Director, Tom O'Bryan, recently provided testimony on elections and democratic governance in the DRC to the UK Houses of Parliament.

Evidence was provided as part of the International Development Committee's inquiry into fragility and development in the DRC.

Read online here

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Media


media.

 Foreign Affairs: "Breaking Congo's Glass Ceiling: Gender Politics in the DRC" (February 2016)

Harvard Africa Policy Journal: "Exclusive Interview - Congo Opposition Leader Arrested and Detained" (May 2016)

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Media


media.

 Foreign Affairs: "Breaking Congo's Glass Ceiling: Gender Politics in the DRC" (February 2016)

Harvard Africa Policy Journal: "Exclusive Interview - Congo Opposition Leader Arrested and Detained" (May 2016)

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Podcast


podcast.

For more news and analysis, you can now subscribe to the Congo Democracy Project's podcast.

We'll be speaking exclusively with the most influential civil society leaders, analysts, journalists and policymakers from across the Congolese political spectrum.

Download podcast on iTunes

Podcast


podcast.

For more news and analysis, you can now subscribe to the Congo Democracy Project's podcast.

We'll be speaking exclusively with the most influential civil society leaders, analysts, journalists and policymakers from across the Congolese political spectrum.

Download podcast on iTunes

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Contact


contact.

Contact


contact.

 
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