I am a Ph.D. student and assistant at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (
research focuses on the political economy of the Congolese mining sector, and more particularly on the gold setor in South-Kivu, which is for the large part 'artisanal' and organized outside the regulatory framework of the state. Currently, tensions between industrial, large-scale actors and artisanal actors are mounting in Eastern DRC. This is happening in the context of a new globalized scramble for natural resources, international pressures, and external and internal initiatives to 'reorganize' and 'formalize' the artisanal mining sector in te DRC. With this project I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the current political economy of gold exploitation and trade in South-Kivu, looking at different levels:
First, I study the ‘micro-functioning’ of the gold network, looking at actors, relations and regulations at the local, national and regional level. In this empirical study, issues of hierarchy, power and agency, institutional arrangements and organizational and distributional issues in the
will be discussed. The cross-cutting questions, inspired by a political-economy approach, are what the power relations are, and who gets the benefits in gold exploitation and trade.
Second, the gold network is analyzed in its specific context(s), in order to assess how local, national, regional and global actors and interests interplay and how these interactions shape local realities. In the current context of growing industrial interests, increasing international concerns about the sector and Congolese efforts to ‘reorganize’ artisanal mining, a critical approach to 'formalization' and what constitutes legal/ illegal or legitimate mining, is needed.
I have done fieldwork in Bujumbura (Burundi), Uvira, Bukavu, Kamituga, Luhwinja, Mukungwe and Lugushwa, Butembo and Bunia (DRC).