REVIEW – Congo Masquerade: The political culture of aid inefficiency and reform failure
A new review of Theodore Trefon’s African Arguments book ‘Congo Masquerade’:
In Congo Masquerade, Congo expert Theodore Trefon seeks to explain why a decade of internationally supported state-building efforts has brought very little progress in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As the title indicates, Trefon’s narrative centres on the hypocrisy of the interactions between Congolese authorities and international partners, during which both sides “˜make a show of being what they are not’ and “˜pretend not to recognize who is behind the masks surrounding them’ (p. x). Congo Masquerade is compact and accessible, and therefore an ideal introduction for those less familiar with the DRC’s predicament. Yet it will certainly also interest Congo experts and activists, because of its razor-sharp and provocative analysis of who is responsible for the country’s lack of progress and why.
The analysis, based on a political-anthropological approach, is presented in five concise and accessible chapters. The book starts relatively slowly, with the first two chapters respectively discussing more … [read in full]