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Working paper 154
Maheen Sultan and Pragyna Mahpara
This paper explores the way power operates in a gendered manner, and how informal processes shape possibilities for gender equity. It investigates how and why gender equality policies are formulated, when these may not be popular with formal institutions, what role informal networks and practices play in their promotion or opposition , and whether the influence of informal networks varies across different types of policies. In clientelist contexts such as Bangladesh, informal networks and networking are particularly important, as they allow patrons to maintain their privilege, even after formal institutional reforms are carried out. (The paper analyses three types of policy or legal change cases: Compulsory Primary Education Act 1990 (ameliorative); Domestic Violence (DV) law 2010 (transformative status change policy); and the National Women’s Development Policy (NWDP) 2014 (transformative doctrinal change). These were placed on a continuum based on the degree of resistance they generate from actors resisting gender equality reforms using categories developed by Htun and Weldon (2018). Our analysis found that the degree of resistance in the case of compulsory primary education act was minimal, while transformative policy changes generated resistance with different outcomes. Though the three cases showed the importance of informal networks and practices, particularly the use of personal relations to gain access to key actors; their significance in diffusing resistance varied across cases. The ability of critical actors within the state depended on their ability to counter resistance from oppositional groups. Mobilisation strategies that worked for law enactment did not necessarily work for policy implementation. The strength of informal networks used by the oppositional forces to gender equality and the political cost to the ruling party determined the effectiveness of informal networks across the cases. Currently, as Bangladesh politics shifts towards a more ‘dominant party’ system, the space for mobilisation becomes limited for dissenting actors, particularly on issues where women’s rights group disagree with the state.
Working paper 153
Caesar Cheelo and Marja Hinfelaar
This working paper analyses the role of Zambia’s central bank, the Bank of Zambia (BOZ), in delivering on its mandate, following banking reforms in the early 1990s. Despite occasional political pressures arising out of the competitive clientelist democracy, especially with regards to banking supervision and appointments of governors, BOZ has been able to deliver on its mandate and is regarded as a ‘pocket of effectiveness’. Its relatively independent position has been attributed to the conscious efforts of its top echelon to entrench BOZ’s autonomous position and work towards legislative independence in 2016. Besides changes in the legislative framework, BOZ’s countervailing powers were strengthened by the acknowledgement on the part of political leaders that the central bank acts as an important ‘signaller’ to international financial markets; a strong tradition of self-assessment; and an emphasis on public accountability. Historically, the BOZ governor plays an important role in defending BOZ’s mandate vis-à-vis the Executive, with the ability to stress the necessity for BOZ to abide by international and regional central banking standards. BOZ’s autonomy was briefly under threat in 2011. This transition coincided with a major political and ideological shift, which saw Patriotic Front (PF)’s short-lived attempt to confront conventional central banking policies. In this paper, BOZ’s effectiveness is measured in terms of price and financial stability and organisational and leadership capacities, traced in the context of Zambia’s changing political settlements.
Working paper 152
Although most public water utilities in developing countries perform poorly, some have achieved remarkable turnarounds and now deliver effectively on their mandate. Current analyses of such turnarounds focus on institutional- and organisational-level explanations that ignore the political economy factors that drive public sector performance in developing countries. This study employed the ‘political settlement analysis’ to explain both Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) turnaround that happened between 1998 and 2004 and why its performance has since been uneven. For the turnaround to happen, Uganda’s dominant ruling coalition, struggling to chart a developmental trajectory with limited domestic resources, agreed to a World Bank-inspired programme for building NWSC’s commercial and financial capabilities in 1998. The botched privatisation move helped bring the political elite, key technocrats and donors into a rare coalition that enabled a six-year programme of harmonised and uninterrupted support for NWSC. Meanwhile, the post-turnaround phase happened under different political dynamics, characterised by a fractious ruling coalition, increased political competition and frosty government–donor relations. The ruling elite turned to the newly effective NWSC for rents and for building its urban popularity. The pressures from this incentivised NWSC leadership to prioritise activities with visible and immediate commercial benefits, at the expense of long-term operational sustainability. These findings suggest that external support for institution building can succeed, where it is aligned with the dominant incentives generated by the local power relations. And how leaders of public organisations manage the changing political context within which they operate is as important as their technical capacity.
Working paper 151
In a survey conducted in Rwanda by the Pockets of Effectiveness project, the Central Bank was listed as among the top-performing government organisations in the country. This paper examines the political determinants of the portrayal of the National Bank of Rwanda’s (BNR) achievement of its mandate: promoting price and financial stability. The paper uses the political settlements framework to highlight the political determinants of financial sector reforms in the country. Rwanda’s underlying political economy – and particularly the government’s evolving relationships with domestic capital vis-à-vis foreign capital – has contributing to shaping the Rwandan financial sector’s trajectory. In particular, the Rwandan government has prioritised a strategy of being a financial sector hub, which is based on increased global financial integration and portraying the achievement of ‘best practice’ reforms. These goals have come at the cost of traditional developmentalists goals for central banks, including direct lending for structural transformation. BNR has achieved success in its mandate. However, achieving success in its market-led mandate reduces the policy tools at its disposal to promote structural transformation. The paper argues that reforming BNR along neoliberal lines has mirrored the broader macro-strategy of the country, with the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) choosing to rely increasingly on legitimacy with external actors, rather than supporting the growth of strengthening domestic state–business relationships to support economic transformation.
Working paper 150
This paper examines the factors that have shaped the ability of Kenya’s National Treasury (Ministry of Finance) to deliver on its mandate since the early 1990s. It identifies a key role for Kenya’s competitive and fragmented political settlement, which generates strong incentives for ruling elites to constrain the Treasury’s bureaucratic autonomy and decision-making, especially during election periods. The Treasury has, therefore, generally been curtailed in its ability to function as a pocket of effectiveness (POE) throughout the period of analysis. That said, the organisation did more closely resemble a POE (albeit a fragile and progressively weakening one) from around 2003, when a shared set of ideas motivated then-President Mwai Kibaki and a small circle of trusted ‘technopols’ to try and shield the Treasury – or at least some of its core functions and departments – from the more corrosive and short-termist pressures generated by Kenya’s political settlement. This gave the Treasury sufficient autonomy – not just from domestic politics, but also from external donor advice – to design and implement heterodox economic policies that responded to the specificities of the Kenyan context and contributed to a period of relatively impressive macroeconomic performance, especially between 2003 and 2007 (though benign global conditions certainly also played a role). These findings, the paper argues, show that there is significant space for policy coalitions composed of small numbers of like-minded politicians and technocrats (who are able draw selectively from, but are not beholden to, the advice and support of donors and other transnational actors) to exercise their agency and secure developmental outcomes within the structures of power that characterise a country’s political settlement.
Working paper 149
Peter Bofin, Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen and Thabit Jacob
While research suggests that the rise in global oil prices from 2004 to 2014 strengthens the bargaining position of new ‘oil country’ governments, this paper suggests that the structure of deals is also significantly influenced by domestic political dynamics. By analysing the development of the petroleum sector through three sets of deals in a new oil country, mainland Tanzania, it demonstrates how changes in domestic political and economic interests and institutions influence deals. First, greater control was exercised over rents generated from the petroleum sector as a moderate kind of resource nationalism emerged, driven by corruption scandals and intensified electoral competition. From 2010, resource nationalism became radicalised, enabled by major offshore gas finds and Chinese loan capital. However, when global oil prices crashed, the ruling coalition, which had since 2010 become both more vulnerable and more authoritarian, increasingly struggled to finance its plans to take increased control over the petroleum sector. At the same time, the oil and gas companies saw the terms of deals becoming more unpredictable and unstable. A complicating factor in this regard is the materiality of natural gas and its links to energy production, which opens the sector to a wider range of interest groups than oil per se, and created difficulties for the authorities in coordinating the development of the sector in the context of a shifting policy environment and weak institutions. In the paper we analyse three sets of deals for the commercialisation of natural gas, which cover much of Tanzania’s recent petroleum history.
Working paper 148
Eyob Balcha Gebremariam
After surviving the most challenging electoral competition in May 2005, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) (now defunct) remained the dominant political force in Addis Ababa for a considerable time. This paper seeks to answer how the Ethiopian ruling coalition under EPRDF succeeded in dominating the socio-economic and political spheres in Addis Ababa (2005-2018). The paper argues that three interrelated strategies enabled EPRDF to effectively dominate and govern Addis Ababa during the above-mentioned period. The first, perhaps overarching, strategy is the use of state-led developmentalism as a legitimising discourse. Developmentalist discourses and narratives played an instrumental role in generating acquiescence among the public and as sources of legitimacy for the ruling coalition. The second, no less overreaching, strategy is legal manoeuvring. Politically inspired legal manoeuvring helped EPRDF to shape and reshape formal and informal channels of governance and control for the ruling coalition. The simultaneous role of the formal and informal channels of control was quite instrumental in constraining the organisational power of rival political coalitions. The third strategy is co-optation, which includes a contextual use of both ‘passive co-optation’ and ‘co-operative empowerment’. These context-dependent tactics enabled EPRDF and different social groups in the city to establish dynamic relationships that contribute to the ruling coalition’s agenda of dominance in Addis Ababa. The empirical section of the paper analyses the case of Urban Consumers’ Cooperatives (UCCs) and urban youth employment programmes in Addis Ababa.
Working paper 147
This paper examines the politics of implementing the PSNP in Ethiopia. The PSNP is a targeted food and cash-for-work programme that places a strong emphasis on its ‘productive’ contribution through public works, a livelihoods component and the aim of mass ‘graduation’ from support. The paper focuses on how local governments resolve two challenges related to the distribution of social transfers. First, is the challenge for state capacity of generating sufficient and accurate information with which to select households while limiting undue influence of powerful local actors. Second, is the recurrent tension between the programme’s developmental objectives and its protective function. The paper argues that variation in state infrastructural power is vital to understanding how these challenges are resolved in different parts of Ethiopia. Drawing on two research sites in each of Afar, Oromiya and Tigray, the paper highlights the extremes of variation within Ethiopia. Implementation is shaped by the particular spatial pattern of expansion of the party-state carried out under EPRDF rule. In Tigray, strong party-state infrastructural power underpins selection processes and local state compliance with national targets. In Oromiya, state infrastructural power was underpinned by a significant degree of coercion in the face of limited legitimacy of the party-state. However, recent political events have seriously eroded this. In Afar, the state is forced to compensate for its own limitations by engaging in negotiation with clan structures.
Working paper 146
Nansozi K. Muwanga, Paul I. Mukwaya and Tom Goodfellow
Although Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) has dominated Uganda’s political scene for over three decades, the capital Kampala refuses to submit to the NRM’s grip. As opposition activism in the city has become increasingly explosive, the ruling elite has developed a widening range of strategies to try and win urban support and constrain opposition. In this paper, we subject the NRM’s strategies over the decade 2010-2020 to close scrutiny. We explore elite strategies pursued both from the ‘top down’, through legal and administrative manoeuvres and a ramping up of violent coercion, and from the ‘bottom up’, through attempts to build support among urban youth and infiltrate organisations in the urban informal transport sector. Although this evolving suite of strategies and tactics has met with some success in specific places and times, opposition has constantly resurfaced. Overall, efforts to entrench political dominance of the capital have repeatedly failed; yet challenges to the regime’s dominance have also been unable to weaken it in any sustained way. We examine why each strategy for dominance has produced limited gains, arguing that together these strategies reproduced a situation of intensely contested control, in which no single group or elite can completely dominate the city.