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Titeca, Kristof

I am a postdoctoral fellow (2009-2012) from the Research Fund – Flanders (FWO). My main research interests are 1) informal cross-border trade, 2) public services in so-called 'failed states' and 3) rebel groups in central Africa.

1)    Informal cross-border trade

My main research focus is on informal cross-border trade in the borderlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Sudan; with particular attention to the West Nile region in north-Western Uganda. For this, I am currently working on a postdoctoral project of the Research Fund – Flanders entitled “The crossborder informal economy in Sub-Saharan Africa: criminalisation or survival option?”.

In studying this informal cross-border trade, my research is interested in regulatory practices on a meso- and micro-level. On a meso-level, the research looks at how different actors - such as state officials, traders, rebel actors, etc - are involved in the regulation of this trade. Although there is a high degree of interaction between the ‘formal’ and the ‘informal’, the informal economy still has a distinct regulatory authority rather than simply merging in the state regulatory framework. This regulation also has a distinct plural character, which involves a wide range of state and non-state actors. On a micro-level, the research looks at how ‘practical norms’ come into existence in regulating this trade, and influence the interaction between traders and state officials. 

Key publications:

Titeca, K. Tycoons and contraband. Informal cross-border trade in north-western Uganda. forthcoming.

Titeca, K., (in press) Access to Resources and Predictability in Armed Rebellion: The FAPC’s Short-lived ‘Monaco’ in Eastern Congo. Afrika Spectrum.

Titeca, K., De Herdt, T. (2010) 'Regulation, cross-border trade and practical norms in West Nile, north-western Uganda 'Africa 80(4): 573-594. 

Titeca, K. (2009) 'The 'Masai' and Miraa: public authority, vigilance and criminality in a Ugandan border town'Journal of Modern African Studies 47(2): 219- 317

Titeca, K. (2009) “The changing Cross-border Trade Dynamics between North-western Uganda, North-eastern Congo and Southern Sudan”, Crisis States Working Paper 63 series 2, London School of Economcis and Political Science,Crisis States Research Centre, London. 

Titeca, K. (2006) ‘Les OPEC boys en Ouganda, trafiquants de pétrole et acteurs politiques’Politique Africaine, n°103 : 143-159.

A recent interest in this research stream is the regulation of informal economic activities in urban contexts:

Goodfellow, T., Titeca, K. Presidential intervention and the changing 'politics of survival' in Kampala's informal economy. Forthcoming

Titeca, K. (2011) 'The "politics of survival" in Kampala's urban planning' in: Klem, M. (ed.) Who belongs to the city / To whom belongs the city. Den Haag: a report by Research for Development, commissioned by VNG international, pp.71-84. 

2)    Public services in so-called ‘failed’ states.

In the DRC, the state administration has retreated from much of the public domain. By analyzing the specific case of the education sector – a domain traditionally reserved for the state – shows how public services continue to be provided, and how the Congolese state continues to survive and transform itself. This research therefore takes the ‘real governance’ of a particular sector as a starting point, instead of the ‘failed state’ concept. In doing so, it is shown how services continue to be provided in an evolving negotiation process between state and non-state actors. The negotiated nature of statehood and the power differentials between the various actors, involve constant renegotiation; which makes that regulation depends on power figurations in particular localities and particular times, in which there is a ‘loose coupling’ between state bureaucracies and actual practices.

This research is the result of a 2008-2010 project on post-conflict reconstruction in the D.R. Congo , and a 2010-2013 project of institutional cooperation with the Catholic University of Congo on decentralization and public services, of which I am the Flemish coordinator.

Key publications:

De Herdt, T., Titeca, K. ‘Privatisation or loose coupling? Understanding Governance with empty pockets in the education sector in the DRC’. Work in progress.

Titeca, K., De Herdt, T. (2011) 'Real governance beyond the "failed state": negotiating the education sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)' African Affairs 110(439):213-231.

De Herdt, T., Titeca, K.  and Wagemakers, I. (2011) “Making Investment in Education part of the Peace Dividend in DRC”,in: UNESCO (ed.)  The hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education, Paris, UNESCO.

De Herdt, T., Titeca, K. & I. Wagemakers (2010) 'Aider l'état à délivrer le dividende de paix: le cas de l'éducation en RDC', in: Marysse, S., Reyntjens, F. et S. Vandeginste (eds.) L'Afrique des Grands Lacs. Annuaire 2009-2010. Paris: L'Harmattan, pp.151-174.

Several chapters were written for the report  De Herdt Tom [edit.], Poncelet M..-Enjeux et acteurs autour de la réduction des frais scolaires en RDC : rapport final Glasgow: DFID, 2010   

3)    Rebel groups in Central Africa.

Lastly, I am working on rebel movements in central Africa such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) or the 'Force Armées du Peuple Congolais' (FAPC).

Key publications:

Titeca, K., Vlassenroot, K. Rebels without borders in the Rwenzori borderland? A biography of the  Allied Democratic Forces. Forthcoming.

Titeca, K., (in press) Access to Resources and Predictability in Armed Rebellion: The FAPC’s Short-lived ‘Monaco’ in Eastern Congo. Afrika Spectrum.

Titeca, K. (2010) 'The spiritual order of the LRA' in: Allen, T., Vlassenroot, K. The Lord's Resistance Army: Myth and Reality. London, Zed Books: 59-73. 

Adam, J., De Cordier, B., Titeca, K. and Vlassenroot, K. (2007) In the Name of the Father?’ Christian Militantism in Northern Uganda, Tripura (India) and Ambon (Indonesia),Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30:1–21

    4)    Past projects:

For my Phd, I was interested in the different effects of social capital on community associations and  the influence of outside interventions.

Key publications 

Vervisch, T., Titeca, K. (2010) Bridging community associations in post-conflict Burundi: the difficult merging of social capital endowments and new ‘institutional settings’Journal of Modern African Studies 48(3): 485-511.

Titeca, K., Vervisch, T. (2008) ‘The dynamics of social capital and community associations in Uganda: linking capital and its consequences’. World Development 36 (11): 2205-2222.

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