Regulation, taxation and violence: the state, quasi-state governance and cross-border dynamics in the Great Lakes Region
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Review of African political economy. - London, 1974, currens
, p. 530-544
University of Antwerp
The conflicts that have plagued the Great Lakes Region during the last 20 years are domestic and regional at the same time, with considerable inputs and outputs across national borders. As elsewhere in Africa and the world, borders unite as much as they divide. State weakness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and border porosity enable non-state armed groups, neighbouring governments' armies and private entrepreneurs of instability to freely operate on Congolese soil. As most analyses tend to focus on the macro-level structures and patterns of economic control, they do not take into account the dynamic processes of renegotiation of the existing local political, social and economic space. This article attempts to bring together hitherto scattered micro-level field data and analyses produced by other scholars and UN experts, which it organises in five themes: regulatory activities, including taxation; the straddling of public and private spheres; the struggles for control; the transnational nature of activities and, closely linked, profound regional integration; and non-state groups acting as proxies for states. In addition to addressing the greed versus grievance debate, the cases presented here challenge a recent strand in research that sees criminal activities and forms of hybrid governance as potential processes towards state formation.