Households' Livelihoods and Survival Strategies Among Congolese Urban Poor

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This book examines the issue of urban poverty and survival strategies in the Congo. The book analyzes the extent of economic decline throughout the country and criticizes proposed Western development strategies before suggesting new strategies for the promotion and articulation of local and native practice of development that are adapted for use in urban Congo. This book contains 9 color photographs.


“Dr. Guillaume Iyenda has produced a highly original account of life in his country’s capital city, blending ‘thick description’ of the country’s descent into destitution and a clear conceptual understanding with rich insights derived from first-hand knowledge and careful field research.” - Professor David Simon, Centre for Developing Areas Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London

“This book is about urban poverty in the Congo. In the literature on urban social work, the topic of community-based survival strategies is well known, but I have rarely seen it so well-documented and so thoroughly analyzed as in this book.” - Professor Mary Douglas, Emeritus Professor, University College London

“Dr. Iyenda’s ultimate message is clear - what Kinshasa desperately needs, and what its people want, is more of the ‘state’ - some infrastructure, some decent health and education - and jobs that yield reasonable incomes instead of the extreme poverty in which most people live. Dr. Iyenda’s book thus provides both a study of a major African city characterized by great resilience and resourcefulness and a heartfelt call for recognizing the state’s centrality in achieving ‘development’ in any city.” - Dr. Deborah Potts, City Research Group, Geography Department, King’s College, University of London

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Foreword Professor David Simon
1 Introduction
2 Urbanization and Current Debates on Poverty and Development
3 Democratic Republic of Congo, the City of Kinshasa and the Current Economic Situation of the Country
4 The Employment Situation in Kinshasa and Income Poverty
5 Human and Social Aspects of Poverty in Kinshasa
6 Social Capital, Post-Modernism, Post-Colonialism and New Forms of Entrepreneurship and Survival Strategies in Kinshasa
7 Gender Relations, Informal Social Networks and Survival Strategies in Kinshasa
8 Conclusion

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