The Democratic Republic of Congo experienced a merciless war from 1998 to 2002 that seriously affected its labour market, as it did all other aspects of society. The effects on the labour market have aroused various debates. This thesis offers a first analysis of the reconstruction process of the labour market in post-war Congo, and of the roles that key actors involved played in it. It asks the following fundamental question: what are the processes involved in the reconstruction of the post-war Congolese labour market, and how did the main actors affect these processes?
The research used a constructivist methodological approach and the extended case method to collect detailed data through field interviews conducted with 109 people in Kinshasa. The data suggest that the past of the Congolese labour market is clearly visible in its post-war recovery processes (2003–2018). While the past weighed heavily on the present, from 2003 to 2011 the Congolese government nevertheless delayed the implementation of reform policies aimed at achieving a functioning labour market. Reforms introduced since then have been blunted by poor implementation processes. Moreover, the inherent weakness of Congo’s labour market institutions deepened the lack of impact of the reconstruction attempts. Likewise, the private sector did not contribute substantially to efforts at creating an effective labour market. Entering this landscape, many Congolese employees struggled to achieve integration into the formal labour market. The main argument of this thesis is that the post-war Congolese labour market has experienced an extended reconstruction due to delayed and poorly implemented labour market policies. On a more positive note, this study demonstrates the usefulness of Peck’s theory of labour market social regulation as an efficient theoretical tool in evaluating a problematic transition such as that experienced in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thesis (PhD (Sociology))--University of Pretoria, 2020.