Political transition in DRC: how did Kinshasa households fare?
Faculty of Applied Economics
Institute of Development Policy and Management
African development review. - Abidjan
, p. 400-425
University of Antwerp
Officially announced on 24 April 1990, the political transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would eventually culminate in presidential elections. By comparing the results of two household surveys, conducted in 1986 and 2004 respectively, we are able to trace the economic reflection of this process in the standard of living of the Kinois (the inhabitants of Congo's capital, Kinshasa). Although the exercise is fraught with methodological problems, it nevertheless generates some salient outcomes. First and foremost, the available evidence unanimously points to a slight increase in the general standard of living, thereby contradicting the official macro-data. Further, given an increase in inequality, it is well possible that the period of transition was experienced increasingly unequally by different population groups. Third, one of the most significant changes observed is that Kinshasa has become more closely connected with world (food) markets. Meanwhile, the level of education of the principal income earner remains one of the main predictors of the level of household consumption, even in a thoroughly informalized economy.