Accepted paper:

Political economy of data collection: lessons from the unaccomplished population census (DR Congo, 2006-18)

Authors:

Tom De Herdt (University of Antwerp)
Cyril Brandt

Paper short abstract:

The history of the census project throws a light on the project's major tensions and how different players engaged with the project. It may also help us to understand the junctures at which things could have gone differently.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyses the attempt to carry out a second population census in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wider political, state-building and statistical capacity building environment attaches great practical and symbolic value to the census, at least discursively. The success of such a vast project hinges on the way in which the tensions between different partners can be managed. The history of the census project throws a light on the project's major tensions and how different players engaged with the project. It may also help us to understand the junctures at which things could have gone differently. Though the census project was still not accomplished 12 years after its official authorization, the census nonetheless remains on the agenda as key actors have found ways of legitimising new activities, producing coherence, reassembling solutions and tying in new supporters. The paper concludes with some suggestions for the management of fragile projects like the census.

panel Econ31
Continuity and disruption in public service provision