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South Sudan is in a unique combination of (post)-conflict reconstruction and the birth of a new state in which old policies are re-activated and new policies introduced. By looking at three case-studies of taxation and private sector regulation reforms, the paper will show how the overlapping and often contradictory regulatory frameworks of the state provide the setting for bricolage strategies by different actors. These actors, and particularly state officials, rely on a variety of institutional resources to implement, resist or remake certain regulatory measures. Although the breadth of regulatory measures has increased exponentially, the institutional corridor – the space in which bricolage is performed and on which various actors can rely – remains narrow. This space is contingent on wartime authority structures, and more particularly pre-existing Sudan's People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) power structures, as well as a deep-rooted resistance to centralised control. Importantly, these regulatory practices are not fixed: intense periods of rearrangement of the social order or ‘open moments’ may provide a window of opportunity for regulatory reform.
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Everything changes to remain the same? State and tax reform in
South Sudan
Rens Twijnstra and Kristof Titeca
The Journal of Modern African Studies / Volume 54 / Issue 02 / June 2016, pp 263 - 292
DOI: 10.1017/S0022278X16000033, Published online: 13 May 2016
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How to cite this article:
Rens Twijnstra and Kristof Titeca (2016). Everything changes to remain the same?
State and tax reform in South Sudan. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 54,
pp 263-292 doi:10.1017/S0022278X16000033
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Everything changes to remain the
same? State and tax reform in
South Sudan*
Wageningen University, Special Chair for Humanitarian Aid and
Reconstruction (HAR), P.O. Box   AA, Wageningen, the
Antwerp University, Institute of Development Policy and Management
(IOB), Prinsstraat ,B- Antwerp, Belgium
South Sudan is in a unique combination of (post)-conict reconstruction and
the birth of a new state in which old policies are re-activated and new policies
introduced. By looking at three case-studies of taxation and private sector regu-
lation reforms, the paper will show how the overlapping and often contradictory
regulatory frameworks of the state provide the setting for bricolage strategies by
different actors. These actors, and particularly state ofcials, rely on a variety of
institutional resources to implement, resist or remake certain regulatory mea-
sures. Although the breadth of regulatory measures has increased exponential-
ly, the institutional corridor the space in which bricolage is performed and on
which various actors can rely remains narrow. This space is contingent on
wartime authority structures, and more particularly pre-existing Sudans
* The authors have contributed equally to writing this article. They would like to thank the
following people: Prof. Thea Hilhorst of the Special Chair for Humanitarian Aid and
Reconstruction (HAR) Wageningen University; the anonymous reviewers; Mollie
Gleiberman. The research described in this article was nancially supported by the Dutch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the IS Academy for Human Security in Fragile States Grant
[Act number , Contract number DEK].
J. of Modern African Studies,,(), pp.  © Cambridge University Press 
People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) power structures, as well as a
deep-rooted resistance to centralised control. Importantly, these regulatory
practices are not xed: intense periods of rearrangement of the social order
or open momentsmay provide a window of opportunity for regulatory reform.
Between  and  southern Sudan witnessed one of Africas
longest conicts. In January , following a six-year interim period sti-
pulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of , a ref-
erendum was held to decide whether the southern region would remain
as a semi-autonomous region within the Sudan or separate completely
and gain independence as Africasth fully recognised state.
Following a ·% popular consensus to separate, South Sudan
gained its independence on July . This not only meant that
post-conict reconstruction could continue a process started after
the  Peace Agreement but also that a new state came into exist-
ence. South Sudans recently acquired independence and its lack of a
consistently formalised state regulatory framework does not, however,
imply that it started with a clean slate. As Thomas Bierschenk
(:) highlights, African statehood is path-dependent, and its bur-
eaucracies best resemble never-nishing building sites. This is clearly
the case for South Sudan, which may have inherited more laws, acts, pro-
visions and ordinances than most stable African countries. Due to almost
 years of violent conict and historically embedded resistance to cen-
tralised control (associated with attempts by repressive regimes to subju-
gate the South), the regulatory framework has become immensely
complex, overlapping and inconsistent. In other words, South Sudan wit-
nessed a unique combination of post-conict reconstruction and the
birth of a new state, in which old policies were re-activated, new policies
introduced, previously considered non-state actors became state actors
(and vice versa), while donor agencies and international non-govern-
mental actors became increasingly involved in providing technical assist-
ance and buildingthe institutional capacity of the state. In this context,
the breadth of regulatory measures has increased markedly, and state
ofcials are able to rely on a wide variety of rules and regulations at
times contradictory in attempting to pursue their interests. As will be
shown, these contradictory rules and regulations may allow state actors
to dene one and the same practice as both legal and illegal. Under
these circumstances, not all regulations are applied and followed,
while some actors may be more successful in implementing or resisting
particular regulations. Put differently: a wide range of regulations, and
regulatory actors, are in place in South Sudan, but the mere existence
of these regulations does not mean that these will be applied and have
an actual effect. An important question that this paper sets out to
answer is: what determines which regulations are implemented and
accepted, and which other regulations fail to be implemented?
By looking at a number of taxation and private sector regulation
reforms in South Sudan from after the  peace agreement, the
paper will show how the patchy, overlapping and often contradictory
regulatory frameworks of the state provide the setting for institutional
bricolageby a range of actors. While taxation and private sector regula-
tions are a clearly limited empirical focus, taxation is central to the func-
tioning (and building) of the state, and is instrumental in multiple
processes, from economic growth to the forging of social contracts
(Lough et al.:). It therefore offers key insights into the involve-
ment and interaction between state and non-state actors, and the
general functioning of the state and its interface bureaucrats.
Particular, but not exclusive, attention will be given to the interface bur-
a person employed by the state
who is in direct contact with
the statesusersand who plays an important role regarding the way
in which a rule or regulatory measure is implemented. In this respect,
the interface bureaucrat functions as an institutional bricoleur, who,
through appropriation, reconguration and amalgamation of an exist-
ing set of rules that individually retain their appearance as state
rules, becomes the master of state embodiment. In this process, the
lack of a coherent regulatory framework and overlapping formal narra-
tives do not hinder the functioning of the state agent, but actually enable
him to congure and signify his or her position as an agent of the state.
Importantly, the paper will show how this increased regulatory breadth
does not mean that different actors have absolute freedom in pursuing
their bricolagestrategies. While this multiplication of rules and regula-
tions in theory allows a bewildering number of options and actions,
older practices of authority continue to play a dominant role in structur-
ing regulatory realities, particularly regarding taxation. Concretely, it will
be shown how pre-existing arrangements by the politico-military elites
dating back to both before and after the CPA play an important role in
shaping and reshaping regulatory practices at different levels of the
state bureaucracy. In doing so, regulatory measures will serve as an import-
ant lens to understand state-building and war to peace transitions.
This article is based on ongoing qualitative eldwork conducted in
South Sudan since October  up to July . Data collection
methods include content analysis of legal documents, news reports,
repeat interviews with a diverse group of over  interface bureaucrats,
state ofcials that interact with citizens on a daily basis, as well as with ap-
proximately  higher-level state ofcials in the County, State and
National levels of government. Furthermore, more than  interviews,
a dozen focus group discussions and continuous qualitative (partici-
pant) observations were conducted among traders and the general
public on topics of taxation and insurance.
In the next section, we begin by describing the regulatory framework
of South Sudan, and offer an overview of the countrysscal regulation
system. We then provide the analytical background for the study and
introduce the concept of the institutional corridor, through which
we describe three case studies. This allows us to draw some general con-
clusions about bricolage and regulation.
The South Sudanese regulatory framework for taxation and private
sector regulation is a haphazard amalgamation composed from three
main policy sources: older Anglo-Egyptian policies dating from before
; legislation enacted by successive regimes in Khartoum, which
was asymmetrically administered in the southern states (Benson
); and the provisional orders of the SPLA/M. To further compli-
cate the picture, a scal decentralisation trend rooted in the SPLA/
Ms promotion of decentralised civil governance following the move-
mentsrst National Convention in Chukudum, in  (Chol ;
Rolandsen ; Walraet )has yielded a process of rejecting,
adapting, and/or composing new local tax arrangements in response
to national legislation. The result is the bewildering landscape of
South Sudans tax and business regulation system.
Furthermore (and typical for the early-recovery phase of a post-
conict state), international donors and nancial institutions have com-
pounded this pre-existing complexity by insisting on a torrent of aid-
conditional generic reforms. Since the CPA of , a number of
these reforms have led to new bills and acts, such as the Local
Government Act and the Taxation Act of . Not all the reforms
have passed; some were rejected by parliament, while others remain
tabled until further notice.
The tax regulatory framework does not stop here: since the semi-au-
tonomous government of Southern Sudan rst presented its Growth
Strategyin late ,
there have been a series of policies, ofcial com-
muniques and addresses issued by the central government in which
South Sudans private sector is heralded as the driver of economic diver-
sication, tasked with increasing domestic production (particularly in
the agricultural sector), and, most importantly, with increasing the gov-
ernments non-oil revenue tax base.
At the time of writing however, do-
mestic production and manufacturing were almost non-existent, and the
governments only sources of non-oil revenues remain international aid,
foreign loans and international import taxation.
Not only is there a wide range of rules and regulations, there is also a
wide range of institutional structures, which have authority in taxation
and private sector regulation: due to its decentralised system of govern-
ance at three legislative levels (National, State and County) with corre-
sponding revenue raising powers,
national, sub-national and local-
level administrations retain their claim to tax these international
imports in one way or another. Historically rooted in South Sudans
asymmetric relationship with oppressive and exploitative centralised
regimes from Khartoum which conceived the South as a peripheral
backwater (Johnson ), this decentralised disposition of governance
imposed a heavy administrative burden that sharply enhances the need
for revenue generation just to nance the administrative structure of
government at three levels(World Bank Group : viii), thereby cre-
ating a precarious competition for revenues.
This institutional competition for revenues can be observed between
different levels of government, as well as between revenue authorities of
the different states and between the different counties within those
states. Since the main source of tax revenue in South Sudan comes
from taxing (cross-border) trade, a county or states geographic location
vis-à-vis an international border and its supply routes is key. Attempts to
address inequalities between States to raise their own revenue from
border-trade include the  interstate taxation agreement
ing that goods in transit could be taxed at the international point of
entry, as well as at every subsequent State border. In addition, there
exists a persistent competition over revenue collection between different
levels of government; the national, the sub-national and the local.
Characterised as complex, uncoordinated and unharmonised
(Selassie :), the Government of South Sudan (GoSS)
Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Task Force (IGFR) introduced a pro-
posal in late  to align the multitude of different State taxes into a
common taxonomy and centralise it to the national level of govern-
Despite initial scepticism about the feasibility of such a proposal,
the centralisation of border trade taxation was implemented by the end
of  against the backdrop of high demands by the central govern-
ment for non-oil revenues to cover the countrys budget decit resulting
from the January  oil-shutdown,
which deprived the young nation
of % of its revenues.
In sum, there are a whole range of administrative actors and regula-
tions, all of which have the authority to intervene in taxation, and
which often go in competition with each other. In the next sections,
we aim to explain how efforts to regulate taxation are being implemen-
ted and negotiated on different levels.
As the above section illustrates, South Sudans regulatory landscape of
taxation and private sector regulation are a far cry from being a coherent
formalised set of rules. As one regional South Sudanese trader noted,
and as will be shown in detail below, We have so many rules, but
none that apply [the same way] to everyone. It all just depends [on]
who you know and what they can do for you …’
Major progress in
understanding the functioning of the state and the processes of regula-
tory authority, particularly in fragile and conict-affected areas, has been
made by conceptualising the state as mediated (Menkhaus )or
negotiated (Hagmann & Péclard ) within broader non-state institu-
tional domains, producing a type of hybrid political order (Boege et al.
). One major implication of this view is that rather than labelling
such states as failedor fragilebased on a Weberian ideal-type, re-
search and policy should focus on the strength of weak states
(Meagher ), working with the grain (Booth & Golooba-Mutebi
) of local institutional realities rather than against it. What all of
the aforementioned concepts have in common is that statehood and
everyday governance is the outcome of an on-going interaction or ne-
gotiation’–between state and non-state actors. Regulatory practices con-
stitute an important part of this negotiation, which as Bierschenk &
Olivier de Sardan () highlight, takes place between different
poles of powerwhich do not have equal power. As a result, the state
does not necessarily have a monopoly on regulation (Hagmann &
Péclard ).
In this literature, the main focus has been on negotiation between dif-
ferent poles of power on a macro- or meso-level, such as rebels and
traders (Raeymaekers ), the state and civil society organisations
(Raeymaekers et al.), the state and the church (Titeca & De Herdt
), and so on. By placing ourselves in this literature, we are able to
see how regulation, and taxation regimes are inuenced by negotiations
over power and authority, in which different categories of actors state
and non-state, local, national and international are involved in pro-
cesses of negotiation, contestation and bricolage(Hagmann &
Peclard :). However, it is rstly important to mention that
these negotiations do not only happen between poles of power (e.g.
between churches and the state), but also within these poles of power,
a question which is largely neglected in this literature. The state is not
a unitary actor; for example, state ofcials at different levels and loca-
tions might have different competing interests, and the state as a pole
of power might itself be a site of negotiation. In this paper, we want to
analyse how the South Sudanese state in itself is negotiating its regula-
tory framework among its different levels and locations. Secondly,
these poles of power do not only exist, and negotiate, on a macro- or
meso-level (the church, rebel groups, the state, and so on), but also
on a micro-level: local-level individual actors play an important role in
the negotiation of the regulatory framework and the day-to-day govern-
ance of the state.
This is also, or particularly, the case in South Sudan, where state actors
play an important role in the application of the state regulatory frame-
work and in dening how statehood itself is negotiated. From the per-
spective of the interface bureaucratin South Sudan the tax
collector, the revenue ofcial, or the clerk at the licensing ofce in
the central bank this wide array of inconsistent and overlapping rules
provides a diverse toolbox of institutional devices with which he can
congure his position vis-à-vis his users, and through which he is poten-
tially able to declare one particular action at the same time legal or
illegal, depending on how he wishes to use this particular toolbox.
Although one may be tempted to assume a large degree of agency on
behalf of the interface bureaucrat, in reality the space for improvisation
and selective application of rules is limited by a number of factors, which
can be explored using the literature on institutional bricolage.
The concept of bricolage was introduced by Lévi-Strauss, and he
broadly dened it as making do with the resources at hand(Lévi-
Strauss :; Miner & Bassoff :). Resources can take a
variety of forms: acquired skills, social contacts, nancial resources and
so on. Making dorefers to the continuous combination, re-combin-
ation and re-deployment of different practices, organizational forms,
physical resources, and institutions(Mair & Marti :).
Bricoleurscontinuously try to cobble together solutions by looking
through their available resources which constitute the rules of the
game(Lévi-Strauss :; Berk & Galvan :).
Frances Cleaver (:) introduced the concept of institutional
bricolage to specically refer to mechanisms for resource management
and collective action [that] are borrowed or constructed from existing
institutions, styles of thinking and sanctioned social relationships.By
using this term, she highlights how individual action is characterized
by both agency and structural constraint: they are conscious and uncon-
scious social agents, deeply embedded in their cultural milieu but none-
theless capable of analyzing and acting upon the circumstances that
confront them(Cleaver :). Cleaver gives the example of
water management in Zimbabwe, where people consciously draw on
and adapt existing norms and mechanisms for new purposes, while at
the same time, pre-existing customs and practices confer new arrange-
ments with the legitimacy of tradition(Cleaver :). In doing
so, bricolage implies an active assembling of particular parts (norms,
values and arrangements) to suit a new purpose which involves both
a conscious scrutiny of some beliefs, and an unconscious acceptance
of others in the formation of institutions(Cleaver :).
Applying these insights to our case-study, this has several consequences
highlighting this tension between agency and broader structural
The rst is that the state ofcial is still bound by the rules he chooses to
apply; interface bureaucrats rarely make uprules or simply ask for
money without any justication. This is very clear in the examples
below where ofcials legitimise the taxes they collect or the rules they
apply by referencing various legal texts of the state such as the
Constitution, a county ordinance or a state law, informal as those taxes
might actually be. In this respect, the interface bureaucrat is truly an in-
stitutional bricoleur: one who can improvise a creative solution by using
pre-dened components by which he is constrained (Cleaver ), and
in which the possible outcomes are predicated on whats availablein a
setting that he/she did not create or control (Lévi-Strauss ). When
the bricoleur is an agent of the state, his or her toolbox contains a het-
erogeneous set of formal regulations that emanate from the state, pro-
viding each individual rule with an authoritative power vis-à-vis the
users, even when such practices are actually outside the domain of
the state. In other words, the power the ofcial wields to legitimate his
practices is derived from the formal discursive language of the state.
This argument is in line with the literature about hybrid governance
(Titeca & De Herdt ; Meagher et al.) and the notion that state
institutions (and their language) are not redundant in a context of state
fragility or failure, but become locally anchored and enmeshed with infor-
mal non-state institutions (Titeca & De Herdt ;Cleaveret al.).
The second factor that limits the selective application of rules by the
ofcial is what we refer to as the institutional corridor. In similar
fashion to Sehrings comparative analysis on institutional reform, the in-
stitutional corridor comprises
the context for the implementation of the reform, the main actors, inter-
ests, power relations, institutional setting; this is not a catchall phrase for
all societal phenomena but is restricted to those institutional arrangements
that inuence the implementation in the eld under consideration, the in-
stitutional corridor the implementation process has to go through. (Sehring
In other words, the institutional corridor refers to the actual available
options for bricolage, or the space which allows actors to modify pre-
existing institutions. Moreover, instead of referring to the general struc-
tural circumstances, the term institutional corridor specically refers to
the political space through which institutional reforms pass, and in
which powerful authoritative resource are located.
Applying this concept to the situation in South Sudan, it becomes ap-
parent that a context in rapid transformation does not necessarily
present a situation where institutions are completely in ux and easily
changed. Pathdependent continuities play an important role, often
rooted in pre-existing institutional arrangements. In South Sudan,
many of these continuities are embedded in SPLM/A power networks
and in local-national power plays that pre-date the signing of the CPA
in . The institutional corridor in South Sudan (i.e. the range of
options the institutional setting leaves for interface bureaucrats
choices), is in fact quite narrow, as will be demonstrated in the following
cases. There is, nevertheless, some space for actors to modify these path-
dependent continuities. These can be changed in what we referred to
above as open moments(Lund ) in which the social order is re-
The third factor limiting the selective application of rules is the fact
that institutional bricolage is not ubiquitous among different bricoleurs,
as the position and by extension the toolbox of each individual actor
varies. In other words, not every bricoleur has equal bargaining power.
This power is largely dependent on the number, and power, of authori-
tative resources which are allocated to, and mobilised by, the actor.
These authoritative resources can take various forms: they can be
nancial power, or power through access to political or kinship networks
(Cleaver :; de Koning :).
In the next sections, we will look at two cases in which reform was
appropriated and/or subverted through processes of bricolage to re-ef-
fectuate pre-existing arrangements, suggesting that the institutional cor-
ridor was very narrow. A third example will be provided to indicate that
under certain circumstances change is possible through an open
momentthat can broaden the institutional corridor and allow for sign-
icant reform to aggregate.
We will start by analysing the bricolage practices of county tax-collectors
from Magwi County in Nimule, the largest border crossing in terms of
trafc of people and goods in South Sudan, located in the Eastern
Equatoria State (EES) (see Figure ). Nimule thrives off international
trade ows, and prior to the aforementioned Customs and taxation
reforms implemented in mid-, there were as many as  different
authorities to consider when crossing the border,
ranging from
Customs to Immigration, from the Bureau of Standards to county tax
collectors, and from the Eastern Equatoria EESRA to the Commerce
and Supply import license authorities. The presence of these actors
leads to a bewildering number of taxes. Not all of these taxes are effect-
ively implemented, and some of these taxes can be legal and illegal at the
same time. The so-called Gibana
tax illustrates this process well. This
tax was introduced between  and  in many counties in South
Sudan: some imposed the tax simply on domestic goods transiting
through a county (Selassie :), others levied it as a local excise
tax (Solomon & Bell ). In the case of Magwi however, the Local
Government Council proposed something else: considering its geo-
graphic advantage of comprising several major border crossings, it
levied the tax at the border directly upon entry into South Sudan
and therefore gave the tax a very different application than elsewhere
in South Sudan.
Importantly, up to the time of writing, this proposal has never been
passed by a legislative body. Notwithstanding, Gibana tax has been and
is still being levied in a relatively uniform way across all four border cross-
ings in Magwi County: our eld research shows how in practice, all county
tax-collectors at the border levy a %ad valorem County tax on the value of
goods being imported into South Sudan by local traders indigenous to
Magwi County, on the condition that these traders do not move beyond
the County borders.
In exchange, the local traders are exempted from
paying cross-border taxes to the national government.
As explained by
one of the EESRA ofcials stationed at the Owinkibul border crossing in
February ,Gibana is just a a local tax between these local Magwi
traders and the County. They get exemption from the rest because they
just move within here [Magwi County] It is only us [the EESRA] and
the County who collect from them.
When we asked ofcials about the
legal basis of this tax, we found that many
cite the  Local
Government Act
(although this bill does not specify what this tax
Figure The Republic of South Sudan, with its southernmost border town
of Nimule and the State Capital of Eastern Equatoria State, Torit.
exactly entails), or the transitional constitution which states that Local gov-
ernments shall have powers to levy, charge, collect and appropriate fees
and taxes in accordance with the law(RSS Legislative Assembly :
Article ,clause). When we visited the much smaller and remote
Poge border crossing in Magwi County in early ,weobservedthat
the county tax collector had photocopied and framed the relevant pages
of these two texts, and displayed them on the wall of his small ofce. As
another County ofcial explained in November ,This constitution
is for all the South Sudanese [As] an independent nation we can
collect our own taxes, even the Gibana is there.
In other words, a
wide variety of legal references are invoked to implement this tax.
However, an equal amount of legal references could be used to declare
this tax illegal. As demonstrated above, it has not been ofcially passed
by the local government council, nor does it feature in the County
In addition, levying Gibana on international border trade is in
violation of the  taxation act that stipulates only national and State-
level authorities can impose taxes on international border trade
(GovernmentofSouthSudanb). In other words, the County inter-
face bureaucrats collecting taxes are openly selective about which rules
they choose to use and what rules they omit from their day-to-day practices.
But how is it determined what rules can or cannot be used to collect
these taxes that are statein their appearance but clearly non-statein
their practices, since there was no record of Gibana tax in the County
treasury, and they are at the same time illegal? In other words, what is
the power base of the County ofcials ability to successfully engage in
these bricolage practices?
We distinguish three authoritative resources that played an important
role in the County ofcialsability to collect this illegaltax. The rst is
rooted in pre-CPA SPLM/A practices along the same border whereby
traders were taxed using percentage charts issued by local SPLA com-
manders between the mid-s and  as part of a trend to boost
the Movements decentralised civil governance capabilities. As early as
, local SPLA authorities carried a laminated chart of customs
rates for the greater Equatoria Region (before the establishment of
the  states) which is the basis for todays% Gibana tax collected by
county interface bureaucrats (as well as a number of other border
taxes). On two occasions during data collection, taxation ofcials pre-
sented these same laminated cards that they were still using to legitimise
the taxes being levied, something which was also conrmed by other re-
In this manner, local ofcials have reproduced wartime
SPLM/A practices by appropriating aspects of post-CPA legislation.
The second authoritative resource employed by ofcials entails the
element of enforcing rents through consultationswith the local com-
munity. Before the CPA, the region now known as Magwi County was
rife with armed groups with which the SPLM/A had to compete for le-
gitimacy among the local populace. All groups imposed their burdens
on the local communities through taxation, plunder, and (forced) re-
cruitment. One of the outcomes of the  SPLM convention was
that SPLM/A commanders were expected to invest more in community
relations, providing some rudimentary level of civil administration and
actively involving the local communities in decision-making processes
regarding how taxes were to be negotiated and administered. As one
local trader who had been active in trading medical supplies across
the border during the conict in the late s noted: After ,
Dr John Garang was telling the SPLA to discus with us about exemption
[from taxation] for medicines; we were even trading with them more
[than before] …’.
In a similar fashion, the present-day Gibana tax
levied by county ofcials was set at % through a consultation meeting
with the local chamber of commerce, which represented indigenous
traders who had voiced concerns and protested the tax increases
levied by ofcials between  and . The chairman of the local
chamber of commerce described the process as follows:
When more of us [local cross-border traders] started coming back [from
exile in Northern Uganda] and doing business in Magwi, taxation was too
much Then they called for a meeting. Those of Torit [EESRA] were
there, even the County and the Payam collectors had to be there. That is
when they agreed Torit would take % and the County would take %.
This formalisationof tax collection into a set gure of % was wel-
comed by the traders who felt their concerns had been taken into
account, signifying a degree of ownership in the formalisation of the in-
stitutional arrangements of the state, and also signifying the relative
power of the traders: tax collectors could not simply impose random
taxes on the traders. As one trader noted: Yes, it [the % Gibana
rule] is good! We cannot just pay whatever they say, it has to be calcu-
lated from the bill.
A third authoritative resource relates to justications for the deliber-
ate evasion of national legislation prohibiting local government
ofcials from levying taxes on international border trade. This prohib-
ition features in a wide range of agreements: for example, the CPA,
the Interim Constitution and in the  Taxation Act, all of which
forbid local governments to levy border trade charges. The County
tax ofcials however overcame this legal discrepancy by relying on the
legal authority of the next level of government in the hierarchy, the
Eastern Equatoria State Revenue Authority (EESRA). This State govern-
ment has effectively sanctioned the levying of Gibana. This arrangement
was made during the same meeting in  referenced above with the
local chamber of commerce, whereby the State and the County
revenue ofcials agreed to a % split of the taxes levied upon
local traders. As one of the EESRA ofcials explained:
We normally collect the Torit [Eastern Equatoria State capital] taxes from
traders at the border in Nimule. Some percent[age] of that money is
given to all the Counties, so indirectly they also receive [tax] revenues.
But they [the Counties] dont believe we are sending them all [that] they
are supposed to receive. [I]nstead we agreed that for those local local
traders we will collect %, instead of that % we were collecting before,
and now they [County tax ofcials] can collect that % directly from
This arrangement signies a long-standing practice (pre-dating even the
 SPLM/A convention) in local civil administration, whereby nation-
al level measures or commands can be circumvented by sanctioning the
evasion through the next-highest level of authority in this case, the
state governments. In other words, because a state government is institu-
tionally closer to a local government than to the national government,
national legislation is more easily evaded on the basis of statespermis-
sion. Under these circumstances, distance and proximity are important
authoritative resources: the national government is more distant than
the state-level government, whose capacity of legalising particular
actions holds more power than the national government.
In sum, although particular taxes are illegal from a national perspec-
tive, the sub-national actors involved creatively relied on a number of
resources to enact their legality. In analysing these authoritative
resources, we gained a better idea of the institutional corridor on
which actors can rely. The high level of path dependency in these
resources is important: they are largely pre-CPA SPLM/A practices
that determine which elements were appropriated into local practices,
and which were rejected. This is further elaborated in the next case
The second case-study relates to regulatory reform in one of the fastest
growing industries in South Sudan in which there is an increasing
involvement of regional and global competition: the insurance sector. As
both private and corporate demands increase to insure property, freight,
the wellbeing of ones employees, third party liability and more, regional
and global insurance companies are starting to establish themselves in
Juba and in several other state-capitals throughout South Sudan.
These multinational rms compete with two other categories of insur-
ance providers for local market share: locally established insurance com-
panies and local branches of insurance companies that formerly
operated in South Sudan from Khartoum. At the time of writing,
there were four international rms operating in South Sudan (three
of which were operational), three Sudanese companies (which had
been operated in South Sudan from Khartoum before independence,
and were in the process of changing their license), and seven local
The regulatory framework for the insurance industry in South Sudan
is confusing to say the least; since the supervisory authority shifted from
Khartoum to Juba in late , it has been a challenge to establish pro-
visional working modalities. Strictly legally speaking, the regulation of
the insurance industry in South Sudan is contingent on the Insurance
Act of , which was signed by the then chairman of the SPLM, Dr
John Garang de Mabior (Stitt ). Although it was termed an Act
it was more of a provisional order, meaning that it still had to be
endorsed by an elected legislature. After the signing of the CPA in
, this endorsement was deprioritised and instead a new bill was
drafted in  to replace the  act. The formalisation of this bill
has been a protracted process since  and remains tabled at the
Ministry of Justice awaiting endorsement by Parliament (Stitt ).
In reality, while the insurance sector is governed by certain aspects of
the  Act, other aspects are provisionally borrowed from the 
draft bill, and in some cases neither of the two is applied. The Central
Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) has been designated as the regulatory au-
thority, although government ofcials emphasise that this is a temporary
The BoSS lacks both the proper legal grounds to regulate the
industry and the resources and capacity to do so, even if the bill is
Additionally, the close relationship between the BoSS and
the national government has raised concerns about a conict of interest,
since the government is a majority shareholder in at least two of the in-
surance companies active in South Sudan.
As this brief overview of the regulatory framework for the insurance
sector suggests, there are in fact many rules and regulations that can
be used to govern access by international corporations, which are
beyond the legal text of the (pending
) new insurance bill. For the
interface bureaucrats more particularly the ofcials within
the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) and within
the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) tasked with registering services,
issuing permits, licenses and conducting audits with service providers
this lack of transparency creates the ideal circumstances to hand-pick
the rules as they see t to further their interests. As this article argues,
however, this bricolage is by no means arbitrary but is strictly governed
by a narrow institutional corridor.
Insurance in South Sudan itself is a relatively new phenomenon.
Public awareness about insurance is very low and is concentrated
among returnee communities that repatriated from urban settings in
East Africa, Khartoum, Cairo and the West. One of the major difculties
that international insurance rms encounter in South Sudan is the lack
of condence and understanding by the general public.
This resonates
with ndings from focus group discussions conducted in four major
urban hubs in South Sudan
which showed that a majority had no
knowledge of the insurance services provided in South Sudan at all
and had never been insured to their knowledge. The only type of insur-
ance that most people were familiar with was the compulsory rd party
liability insurance needed to register a vehicle or motorcycle in South
Sudan. However, the notion that an insurance company would pay
claims to the insured remained largely absent.
As a result, most South Sudanese, including business owners and
traders, regard insurance more as a compulsory tax. Since this taxis
administered by companies with branches located within the trafc
police departments responsible for issuing vehicle registration and
number plates, they are often seen by the public as semi-governmental.
The companies (mostly local, including formerly Khartoum-based
rms) represented at trafc police stations provide insurance for very
low premiums but with a remarkably low settlement rate.
Consequently, most people will opt for the lowest premium since the
prospect of reaching a settlement is extremely unlikely.
This practice causes concern for the international rms whose services
are tailored to a more informed public that may choose to pay a higher
premium for better coverage and reliable settlement schemes. They
regard the low premiums offered by local companies as unfair competi-
tion, since they would never be able to offer such low premiums whilst
offering the quality services and reasonable settlement rate that their
international reputation is contingent upon.
In , three
of the international rms used the Insurance
Association a business forum under the South Sudan Business Forum
(SSBF) to voice concerns about an upcoming insurance bill. They
insisted that the bill include, among other things, a stronger regulating
authority that would conduct audits annually and compulsory licensing
with high capital requirements.
The licensing through capital require-
ment was considered a crucial aspect of the bill, since it would determine
the type of players active in the market and subsequently inuence the
publics perception of and trust in the industrys integrity.
One of
the international rmsmanaging directors noted: Especially in a
setting where the insurance market is in its infant stages and general
awareness about insurance is very limited, it is important to set the
right precedence.
When the BoSS began issuing licences for insurance companies in
South Sudan in , it selectively applied an entry capital requirement
of US$.million: the licensed international rms were forced to abide
by the requirement, but the local companies were somehow exempted.
However, when the bill was drafted in , the capital requirement had
been reduced to just , South Sudanese pounds approximately
US$, at the ofcial exchange rate
or  times less than the
bank was (ofcially) requiring at the time.
This dramatic decrease
incited concern and protest from the three international rms who
had actively lobbied for the US$.million threshold. Around the
same time, in , a fourth major international insurance company
was in the nal stages of obtaining an operating licence in South
Sudan from the BoSS, for which the capital requirements were set at
US$.million with an additional % security deposit.
In other
words, very different capital requirement rules were being applied for
international and local rms. Apart from this inconsistent application
of capital requirements, the supervisory authoritys proximity to govern-
ment and the current lack of resources further contribute to a grim
outlook for reform: ofcials within the BoSS as well as within the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) have openly
stated that such reforms are not feasible with limited resources and
This case demonstrates that even if the proposed reform is implemen-
ted, the supervisory authority will certainly not be able to enforce it.
The legal ambiguity of the capital requirements, especially, provides
interface bureaucrats in the licensing department of the BoSS with the
ideal conditions to circumvent this reform. An important factor in
explaining this situation lies again in pre-CPA SPLM/A practices. The
dominant political movement has historically made use of private sector
rms, such as insurance companies and foreign exchange bureaus, as
resources to reward service in the movement before the signing of the
CPA. South Sudans economic governance remains predicated on pre-
CPA practices, characterised by the creation, seeking, distribution and
utilisation of rents along a logic that has colloquially been termed the
big tentstrategy, i.e. buying off loyalty from a broad and vastly hetero-
geneous range of actors within South Sudans political marketplace
(De Waal ;Garang).
Insurance companies are also used in
this strategy: most of the local insurance companies, as well as the local
branches of the rms formerly operating from Khartoum, are owned
by SPLA veterans and their close relatives who accumulated signicant
political capital through their loyalty and sacrice during the war. A
number of informants from within the insurance sector explained
that since these former commanders and their families were not able
to benet from any type of pension plan after the signing of the CPA, al-
ternative pensions were awarded by means of shares in local SPLM-
owned rms or licences to operate, among other possibilities, a foreign
exchange bureau or an insurance company. It is a way to keep the com-
rades happy [T]o reward them for their sacrices But it is not busi-
Or, in the words of a senior branch manager at a newly
established insurance company (which had branched off from a
Khartoum-based rm) during an interview conducted in April :
Many of us [local insurance companies] are not interested in these other
kinds of insurance, like life, health, or property insurance. [W]e deal
only in the one that is compulsory [mandatory rd party liability insurance
for vehicle registration]. This is steady income that will always be there, this
is what they [the owners of the insurance companies] want; they are not
interested in doing business. Most of them are too old for this some of
them, they cannot even read or write.
In other words, local insurance companies have little interest in other
insurance products, since many of these companies are primarily a
rent distribution mechanism for the SPLA/M elite. The delay and insti-
tutional ambiguity of the current efforts to regulate the insurance indus-
try are better understood in relation to the advantages for SPLA/M
actors intent on preserving this informal rent distribution system.
Similar to the previous case of state ofcials subverting tax reform, the
actors involved in insurance reforms have little incentive to enforce reg-
ulations or pass reforms in a timely manner. The institutional corridor
has been narrowed down by pre-existing arrangements, which prevent
reform efforts from aggregating in any meaningful or consistent way.
As the previous two examples have indicated, the space for reform in
South Sudan appears to be quite limited. The toolboxes of the different
political and administrative bricoleurs such as interface bureaucrats or
insurance companies comprise an array of heterogeneous regulatory
arrangements, suggesting a large degree of freedom and space for insti-
tutional reform and innovation. However, the underlying arrangements
appear to be quite rigid and xed along the lines of pre-existing power
congurations. The high degree of path-dependency bodes ill for effect-
ive reform, suggesting that the institutional emergence of the state is, in
fact, merely a façade behind which older practices continue to be
This assumption, however, would be misguided on the premise that
the examples above illustrate a context that is relatively stable. Local
practices evolve gradually, since national reform progresses slowly and
interface bureaucrats must adjust their appropriation, contestation or
subjugation of reform into local realities within a relatively xed frame
of informal networks. However, to this perspective of gradual structur-
ation must be added the notion of open moments(Lund :).
These are ‘… occasions when the social rules and structures are sudden-
ly challenged and the prerogatives and legitimacy of politico-legal
institutions cease to be taken for granted(Lund :). For political
elites, open momentsmay offer a double-edged possibility of reasser-
tion or erosion of power, or, as noted by Bastiaensen et al. such
moments may also provide the momentum for the elites to open a
window of opportunity to grant greater political leeway(Bastiaensen
et al.:).
In the case of South Sudan, we argue that when the institutional
arrangements that delineate the institutional corridor come under
stress from power struggles within the politico-military command struc-
tures of the SPLM/A surrounding a particular event, such a window of
opportunity may present itself.
In early , the government of South Sudan shut down the coun-
trys oil production, as a result of a deadlocked negotiation process
with Sudan over oil transfer fees through the pipeline to northern
Sudan. At this point, South Sudan effectively lost % of its revenues,
which was expected by many to result in economic collapse. The
World Bank argued that it has never seen a situation as dramatic as
the one faced by South Sudan.
Considering that the governments
main source of revenue after the oil rents was from taxes levied on
imports, reforming the South Sudan Customs Service became a national
priority in a matter of months.
Previously, customs interface bureaucrats based their conduct on a
number of practical norms at the border in relation to the traders
(Twijnstra et al.), in which not all traders were charged equally.
The most striking manifestation of this unequal treatment was the allo-
cation of tax exemptionsthat were often formally sanctioned by
ofcials within the ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
(MoFEP) in Juba. These formal exemptions provided duty-free clear-
ance for certain traders or certain loads altogether. Acquiring a letter
of tax exemption from the MoFEP was a procedure initially reserved
for humanitarian agencies, but also became accessible for large-scale
traders who were involved in multiple government procurement con-
tracts in . Based on statements by Customs Director Fredrick
Lokule, media sources
report that tax exemptions in early  may
have amounted to  million South Sudanese pounds per month
(c.US$ million). Although such estimates are ambiguous since
recordkeeping was highly inconsistent at this time, it illustrates how a
small group of traders and their counterparts in the MoFEP and
SPLA/M elites benetted from the weak regulatory framework for tax
In this way, the trade sector, and particularly trade supplies to the
public sector, had become a source of self-enrichment for SPLA/M
elites or for actors with close ties to these elites. After the oil-shutdown,
customs revenues were to be collected from all traders, irrespective of
who the trader was or the nature of his/her connection to the SPLM/
A. All prior tax exemptions were revised by presidential decree, as
noted in the Public Financial Management Action Plan Progress
Report for November June :
During the planning and budget process for the / scal year, there
has been an emphasis on greater political engagement. [A]n Austerity
Measures Committee (AMC) was empowered by Presidential Decree to
decide austerity budget ceilings [and to] streamline and regularize the
process of granting exemptions and provide transparent reporting on
exemptions …’ (Government of South Sudan MoFEP :,)
Moreover, according to sources within the National Customs Service at
the border in Nimule, as well as within the local branch of Commerce
and Supply from MoFEP, a substantial number of ofcials were
This was corroborated by observations that within six
months after the oil shutdown, at least ten of the ofcials working in
these ofces in Nimule who had previously been interviewed for our
study had been reassigned to Juba or to other posts across South
Sudan. Furthermore, donors assisted by providing consultants to imple-
ment a computerised system to monitor revenues, and the security
forces at the border were instructed to monitor the conduct of
customs ofcials. As a result, within six months after the oil shut down,
customs revenues at the Nimule border crossing had allegedly increased
by ,% compared with .
Conrmed by interviews with more
than  different large-scale cross-border traders,
the room for nego-
tiation with customs ofcials in Nimule had been reduced dramatically.
This reform did not seem to be temporary; unlike previous reforms,
which were only implemented briey, customs rates remained xed,
and relatively transparent and registered. One of the most afuent
traders interviewed for this study noted:
Usually when the government acts it is harsh and short-lived, things go back
to the way they were within weeks. At the border its different, things have
changed permanently. But its not because of those consultants,
because the oil money is gone and they need income. At the border, they
comply because the future of the SPLM depends on that revenue.
What this example indicates is that at a time when the survival of the
state or,moreprecisely,theconguration of the political marketplace
in a way that is relatively stable and appears monolithic was threatened,
space for reform was created. This open momenthad the effect of almost
instantly breaking open the institutional corridor, which had remained
narrow under the stable context of abundant oil rents that kept customs
revenues from becoming a priority. The national reform was effectively
implemented and aggregated into the institutional corridor.
In this respect, the top SPLM/A leaderships ability to defy Khartoum
and legitimise the oil shut-down reveals an authoritative resource far
more powerful than those described above, such as the primacy of
local arrangements over national legislation. One could argue that the
success of the Customs Service reform lies in the fact that the formal
content of the reform was synonymous with the most important authori-
tative resource to effect institutional change in South Sudan, namely ex-
plicit resistance to northern pressure.
By discussing a number of case-studies on taxation and state reform in
South Sudan, this article has shown how the space for regulatory
reform is quite narrow: the institutional corridor is contingent on pre-
existing SPLM/A power structures, as well as a deep-rooted resistance
to centralised control. As these two elements constitute the most power-
ful institutional resources at stake, they need some more elaboration.
First, the paper has shown how different bricoleurs have different
resources at hand. For example, the international insurance companies
have a more limited institutional toolbox: they can rely on the Insurance
Association, but this proves to be a weak resource when compared with
the resources on which local insurance companies can rely. More gener-
ally, SPLA/M power structures play an important role. At the national
level, international donors and international insurance companies
have shown themselves to be incapable of inuencing the regulatory
practices of the insurance sector. These practices mirror existing
power relations and structures of authority in which the international
actors clearly have much less leverage than national actors; decision-
making is largely monopolised by SPLA/M actors with an interest in
maintaining a situation of ambiguity. Also illustrated in the rst
example, local-level county interface bureaucrats rely on a variety of in-
stitutional resources in which various (unspecic) legal references play
an important role, as well as past SPLM/A practices of taxation. Yet,
the example also shows how ofcials do not have unlimited power:
analogous to how the SPLM/A acquired their local legitimacy for tax-
ation before the CPA, county ofcials had to compromise with the
traders, who were able to contest these practices. This compromise in
turn became an important resource in legitimising an illegal tax. In
other words, processes of reshaping and reinventing are not linear,
but involve a constant negotiation and contestation between different
authoritative actorsaround particular issues (Cleaver ). It is im-
portant to mention that this process is nothing new: during the war,
the SPLM/A itself was not a uniform or coherent institution, but
rather a circumstantial and haphazard amalgamation of rapidly chan-
ging local and regional interests that provided a platform for local
elites to pursue their own objectives. These practices, however fragmen-
ted and localised, nevertheless had a profound impact on regulatory
practices at various levels, as described throughout the paper.
A second important issue determining the institutional corridor is the
disparity between national policies and local implementation. This is a
result of the large distance which existed during the war between the na-
tional state and the sub-national levels, as well as between the SPLA/M
leadership and the lower ranked commanders on the ground. This is
clearly shown in the rst example, which shows how national-level
policies are subverted by local (county and state) actors through a cre-
ative re-combination of different legal processes. In other words, while
a whole range of new measures are taken at the national level (often
under pressure from international donors), these often have a limited
impact on the lower levels of government. Particular measures are intro-
duced, and can in reality be used by different levels of the state, but their
power is limited; it has been shown that these measures have not
reached their original objective, instead leading to a further fragmenta-
tion of the formal regulatory space, which does not fundamentally
impact the institutional corridor.
These conclusions are not only limited to South Sudan, but speak to
more general discussions about state reform in post-conict states.
More specically, it offers insights into how post-conict governance is
characterised by a simultaneous expansion and contraction of the regu-
latory space.
On the one hand, while recent literature on statehood in Africa has
shown how statehood is profoundly negotiated
, this literature also
shows how negotiation is not consistent, as particular periods are charac-
terised by stronger negotiation than others. Periods of conict, but also
of post-conict reconstruction, are highly contested periods through
which there is increased room for negotiation and political redenition.
These are periods of rapid political and social change, during which a
multitude of actors enter the negotiation arena.
In addition to the
state, which tries to re-establish its regulatory authority, new actors,
hoping to capitalise on social and political capital accumulated during
the conict, and international donors looking to engage in post-
conict reconstruction also enter the arena (Hagmann & Péclard
:). On the other hand, post-conict reconstruction does
not only expand the negotiation arena, but is itself path-dependent on
previous governance practices. The literature on war economies, in par-
ticular, has shown the existence of a large degree of overlap between
periods of conict and post-conict reconstruction, as political and eco-
nomic interests and agendas pursued through war are typically carried
over into peacetime(Cramer :; Titeca & de Herdt ).
This holds true for regulatory practices in general, as wartime regulation
continues to impact on the post-conict situation. In other words,
post-conict governance is characterised by a simultaneous expansion
and contraction of the regulatory space.
In line with these insights, this paper has shown how there was a clear
expansion of the negotiation arena in South Sudan, as a wide range of
regulatory measures were introduced and numerous actors became
involved: intense negotiations took place between traders and the state
(in the rst and third case-study) and between foreign insurance com-
panies and the state (in the second case-study). Yet, the most important
interactions have taken place within the state: our cases, which illustrate
taxation practices at different levels of the state (national, state, and
county level), show that intense negotiations take place between differ-
ent categories of state actors. Central to these negotiations is a profound
legal ambiguity: a wide range of rules and regulations are at the disposal
of state ofcials. These rules at times contradict and overlap, allowing
contradictory interests to be represented certain practices can at the
same time be declared legal and illegal. As a result, the way in which tax-
ation and the state as a whole is being governed is necessarily patchy
and the regulation of taxation in South Sudan has a distinctly plural
character. This does not mean that taxation is not being organised,
but it does signify that certain rules and regulations are more successful
in regulating behaviour than others.
At the same time, a contraction of the regulatory space takes place in
South Sudan, as certain rules and regulations are more successful in regu-
lating behaviour than others. This is related to the ability of different
actors to engage in processes of bricolage, which as we have shown is
shaped by relations of power (Cleaver ) and the institutional corri-
dor. The cases described above overwhelmingly show the large continuity
of wartime practices in the post-conict state. New actors might enter the
institutional arena such as international donors or international insur-
ance companies and try to inuence decision-making in a particular dir-
ection. But, despite the potentially transformative role of these measures,
wartime relations of authority and patronage persist, through which the
institutional corridor remains quite narrow (Sehring ). In other
words, the pervasive ambiguity of formal institutional arrangements
does not suggest that bricolage is arbitrary; our examples clearly show
that these practices take place in an already established network of
power and representations(de Certeau :), which both limit
and enable these practices along path-dependent logics. These dynamics
have been demonstrated for a number of domains in South Sudan, such
as border security (Schomerus & de Vries ), foreign policy (LeRiche
&Arnold), land governance (Badiey ,), local governance
(Leonardi ), and so on. All of these show the large continuity of
wartime practices in the post-conict state, or how a peacetime project
is run as a wartime project(Schomerus & Titeca ), and how
various categories of actors are able to function in these circumstances.
Importantly, we have shown how these pre-established networks, rela-
tions of authority and patronage and the practical norms they repro-
duce, are not entirely xed. When an event occurs that precipitates an
open moment’–an intense period of rearrangement of social
order these institutional arrangements are also in ux. A severe eco-
nomic shock like the  oil shutdown constitutes such an open
moment, which may provide a window of opportunity for certain
reforms to be implemented that under previous circumstances would
have been circumvented or appropriated differently to simply repro-
duce a previous status quo. It also must be noted that this open
moment is not a catch-all phenomenon that describes the general
ability of the state to overcome a legacy of ambiguity and entrenched
patterns of local interest and behaviour. In this specic case, we have
shown how an elite cadre of decision makers have intervened, allowing
reforms to take place. Strategies that were used included the forceful re-
placement of a number of interface bureaucrats that had been instru-
mental in upholding previous practices, as well as leveraging the
interests and resources of external actors (donors and consulting agen-
cies) to enforce a more stringent and computerised system of registering
revenues. In line with the overall patchy and negotiated character of the
regulatory space, these strategies did not necessarily take place in a coor-
dinated or structural way, but were effective nonetheless.
. As explained by Bierschenk, interface bureaucratsare state ofcials that have a direct inter-
face with the usersof state administrations (Bierschenk :), in many ways analogous to Lipskys
street-level bureaucrats(Lipsky ), which we have chosen not to use as the term street level
may wrongfully suggest that the interaction is limited to a particular locality and may intuitively
omit interactions taking place within the Ministries or the Central Bank. Nevertheless, the two dimen-
sions of () a low-ranking state ofcial, () in direct contact with clients are the same in both
. The administrative layers of government in South Sudan include the National Government of
South Sudan, the ten federated State governments, Local County governments, Payamgovern-
ments and the lowest administrative unit, the Bomagovernments.
. For a copy of the nal draft that was released in January , please visit: http://pdfoiocn.
. Other examples of this include the Investment Promotion Act of  (Government of South
Sudan c), the South Sudan Development Plan ( Government of South Sudan ), and the
more recent passing of the South Sudan Agricultural Bank Bill. See:
. As enshrined in the Power and Wealth Sharing Protocols of the CPA, as well as in the Interim
Constitution and the  Local Government Act.
. Referenced in six different interviews with National Customs Service ofcials in Nimule and in
at least three key informant interviews conducted with ofcials from the GoSS Ministry of Finance
and Economic Planning (MoFEP) between October  and December . Also see: http://
. In practice, this proposal was required to adhere to a hold hostileprinciple of appeasing the
demands of the State Governors, State Ministers of nance and revenue authorities in exchange for
their cooperation. This entailed simply keeping hostilities with the different state authorities at bay by
calculating the share of centralised tax revenues that would be redistributed among the states on basis
of estimates prior to centralisation, not by population or income. In essence, this proposal would re-
produce the status quo of revenue inequalities between the states in a more formalised manner.
. Many State governors displayed an open reluctance and distrust towards the initiative. See:. In addition, sources within GoSS MoFEP
mentioned that most states did not record their collected revenues in a unied way, posing an
even greater administrative challenge for the proposal.
. After the South seceded from Sudan in July  it inherited the majority of the old united
Sudans oil reserves. However, the South has no reneries and the only pipeline for export runs
through Sudan. When the contentious negotiations about transit fees failed in mid-February, the
South unilaterally decided to shut down all oil production. This resulted in a % loss of government
income, a % decline in GDP over the rest of  and  months of severe austerity measures. At
the time of writing, oil production had recently resumed and is expected to be back at pre-shutdown
production capacity by .
. Interview conducted in Juba in June .
. For a detailed account of the range of state actors and different categories of traders involved
in negotiating border taxation practices in Nimule, please see Twijnstra et al. ().
. Colloquial Arabic for Jibu le anameaning give to me, formalized in the local government
act section  []E.
. According to two different members of the Magwi Local Government Clouncil (interviews,
conducted in Magwi town, March ), this tax arose out of concern that shop owners would not
be transparent about their annual revenues and also because the budget allocated to Magwi
County from the Eastern Equatoria State government was diminishing in  and .
. This practice of a %ad valorum County tax was conrmed and narrated identically by all eight
County ofcials interviewed at the various crossings at different times, as well as by all + local traders
interviewed subsequently between February  and December .
. This arrangement was conrmed and narrated identically by all state and non-state
. A GoSS Commerce and Supply Ofcial summarised this in November  in the following
way in Nimule town: [T]hese small local guys, they dont pay Customs. They just move within
Acholiland [and] when they cross the border, they pay some little gibana to the County and to the
. Such as multiple sources within the County administration including the Executive Director,
and the Commissioner representing the Local Government Council. Interviews March .
. Section  [] E (Government of South Sudan a: ). For example, multiple sources
within the County administration including the Executive Director, and the Commissioner represent-
ing the Local Government Council, were referring to this act. Interviews March .
. Interview conducted at Magwi County headquarters in November .
. Based on interviews with the Magwi County Executive Director and the Director of Accounts in
November .
. By Directorate of Intelligence, United States Central Intelligence Agency [Public domain], via
Wikimedia Commons.
.A World Bank study reported this same schedule being used by a Customs ofcial at one
of the border crossings in Central Equatoria State (World Bank Group :).
. Interview conducted in Nimule, December .
. Interview conducted in Magwi town in April .
. Interview conducted in Nimule, December .
. Transcript from Focus Group Discussion conducted with EESRA ofcials in Torit on March
. This section is primarily based on interviews with executives of eight insurance companies in
South Sudan between AprilNovember . It has also been supplemented with other interviews,
which are mentioned throughout the section.
. Conrmed during interviews with ofcials from the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) and from the
MoFEP conducted between January and May .
. Interview with the Director of Supervision in the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS), May .
. Interview with the project consultant coordinating the Insurance Association at the South
Sudan Business Forum (SSBF), May .
. Still pending at the time of writing in mid-.
. Interview with executives of three multinational insurance corporations in Juba, South Sudan,
June .
. Juba, Wau, Bor and Malakal.
. Focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted with insurance consumers in Juba town, Malakal
town, Bor town, and Wau town, November .
. These concerns surfaced during interviews with senior management staff representing UAP
Insurance, New Sudan Insurance, National Insurance Company (NIC) and Britam Insurance
Company, all conducted in May and June .
. The fourth and latest insurance company included in this study was not yet operational in
. Interview with the project consultant coordinating the Insurance Association at the South
Sudan Business Forum (SSBF), May .
. Interview with the project consultant coordinating the Insurance Association at the South
Sudan Business Forum (SSBF), May .; also conrmed during interviews with senior management
staff of leading insurance companies in May and June .
. Interview with MD of one of South Sudans largest multinational insurance rms, May .
. Due to a range of economic and political reasons that are beyond the scope of this article, the
difference between South Sudansofcial exchange rate and the going black marketrate for South
Sudanese pounds against the US dollar can be as much as three times. At the time of writing in mid-
,theofcial rate was .SSP to US$, while the going rate uctuated between and  SSP to US$.
. A copy of the  initial draft bill was obtained for this study through the South Sudan
Business Forum (SSBF) within the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Supply in June .
. Conrmed within the Insurance unit at the BoSS and by executives of the new multinational
rm residing in Juba while its licence was still pending.
. Cited in interviews conducted with the Director of Supervision in the Bank of South Sudan
(BoSS), and with two interface bureaucrats responsible for issuing insurance licences within the
BoSS-IU (Insurance Unit) in May .
. This was particularly the case between  and  (Twijnstra ).
. In at least eight interviews with employees and management staff with four different insurance
companies this explanation was referenced (one local insurance company, two companies formerly
operating from Khartoum and one international company). In addition two different state-level
bureaucrats at DG level in Upper Nile and in Jonglei State also noted the prole of ownership of
these insurance companies. Informants within the BoSS and MoFEP did not disclose this
. Interview with South Sudanese analyst in Juba, June .
. Excerpt from interview transcript with branch manager from one of the major nationally
owned insurance companies in South Sudan, conducted in Malakal in April .
. Much of the recent commentary on South Sudans current political crisis following the
December  attemptedcoup follows a similar logic (de Waal ; Johnson ; Pinaud
), but in our analysis we focus on earlier events that took place almost two years before the
current conict re-ignited: the January  oil-shutdown.
. Noted in a leaked condential memo from March  from which the World Bank later
distanced itself.
. The Citizen Newspaper,  March ..html;, March ,./ctl/Article-
. Interviews conducted in Nimule, October .
. Announced by Customs Service Director General Maj. Gen. Frederick Lokule speaking at the
World Customs Organisation in June .
. Conducted between March  and September .
. Referring to the Crown Agents consultants providing technical assistance to the Department of
Customs in Nimule; Department for Internal Development (DFID), Support to South Sudans
Customs Development, p. .
. Interview conducted in Juba, August .
. As has been described by prominent authors from inside the movement (Nyaba ; Arop
), at times when pressure from Khartoum was exerted in such a way that it affected all factions
in the South, elites were able to overcome differences and form a relatively united front against
Khartoum, such as during the end of the  ceasere when President Gaafar Nimeiry
declared all of Sudan (including the South) an Islamic state under Sharia law. This event has
been described as creating the momentum for the establishment of the SPLA. Similarly to what we
argue at the end of the article, the ability of the SPLM/A and/or the South Sudanese state to
enforce reforms during such open momentsis highly circumstantial, and should not be mistaken
as necessarily describing a consolidation of state power.
. Terms such as governance without government(Raeymaekers et al.), twilight institu-
tions(Lund ), real governance(Olivier de Sardan )ornegotiated statehood
(Hagmann & Péclard ) view governance as the outcome of complex negotiations between a
number of actors, groups and forces (Meagher et al. :).
. Arenas convey a sense of location of negotiation, within which statehood is negotiated in more
or less formalised or routinised ways (Hagmann & Péclard :).
. As we have argued, the dominant normative register that enabled this cadre of SPLM/A elites
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World Bank Group. .Enabling the state: estimating the non oil revenue potential of state and
local governments in Southern Sudan.Washington, DC: World Bank.///sudan-enabling-state-estimating-non-oil-revenue-poten
... A state with oil gets 2% of the oil revenue for "development" which is, in most cases, used by the elite especially the governor to enrich themselves at least as it can be argued with no evidence of the developmental aspect. Institutional competition can, therefore, be observed between the different levels of Government as well as between the different tax authorities within the states and counties within those states (Twijnstra & Titeca, 2016). ...
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South Sudan gaining independence in July 2011 became a great relief for the Southerners ending a long period of marginalization dating back to the 19th century. Things would however not go as expected as exclusion, nepotism, patron-client relations, rule by law and grand corruption would be the most infectious ailments that immediately affected the country. SPLM's failure to unite the country resulted in conflict on December 15th, 2013. A peace accord in 2015 brings back to Juba former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar as First Vice President. It took only two months into the implementation and fighting erupts again in the presidential palace when President Salva Kiir was meeting his two Vice Presidents. The aftermath of this conflict is a country more divided, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in numbers and a blurred vision of where the state of South Sudan is headed. Past dreams are replaced by personal, "Big Man" gains in terms of positions among the top leadership and greed has become the creed. The question on the lips of every South Sudanese is, how can the country be transformed from a proto-state that operates under neo-patrimonialism to a modern state with functional institutions?
... Parallels can be drawn to the eastern DRC, as outlined in recent work by Kristof Titeca. With Rens Twijnstra, he explores the institutional bricolage of a rebellion that, without significant external support, is relying heavily on local histories of insurgent and extra-state order (Twijnstra and Titeca 2016). If we then understand the notion of bricolage as the practise of cobbling together a set of heterogeneous approaches to politics, governance and indeed warfare, this might be the most accurate way of portraying both government and rebel approaches to controlling territories and populations in Central Equatoria. ...
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This article is a case study of armed opposition factions in the Central Equatoria region within South Sudan’s current civil war. Based on research in South Sudan and northern Uganda during the spring of 2017, the study focuses on the internal organisation, recruitment and funding processes, and political ideas of these organisations, engaging with recent theories concerning governance and civilians in rebel-controlled territories. It argues that rebels and civilians are not separate analytical categories, and that the region’s new wartime orders are embedded in common local knowledge drawn from historical practice.
... Although South Sudan got her independence on 11 th January, 2011 but studies on tax reforms have been attempted even well before her independence. Scholars have been focused on the reforms in the lop-sided tax systems (Benson, 2015;Walraet, 2008;Rolandsen, 2005;Chol, 1996), influence of negotiations over power and authority on taxation regimes (Raeymaekers 2012;Titeca & DeHerdt, 2011;Hagmann & Péclard, 2010;Raeymaekers, Menkhaus & Vlassenroot, 2008), Gibana (give to me) tax (Solomon & Bell, 2011;Selassie, 2009) and overlapping role of regulatory frameworks on tax reforms (Twijnstra & Titeca, 2016). ...
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The study has reviewed the prior literature on tax reforms and GST to synthesize the research findings and to direct the future research avenues. Literature on tax reform has attained momentum in developing countries since last two decades and in India when it has decided to implement GST from 2017-18. Adopting the Systematic Literature Review technique by accessing the academic e-journals of selective publishers and applying a filtering process, the study has reviewed 119 sample papers published during 2002-2016 by focusing objectives and results of those cited papers. Results have documented tax reforms have executed globally with multiple objectives; it has admitted few limitations, practice implications have pointed out and have sketched the road map for posterior studies especially in the transition period in India when it would shortly move to GST regime.
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This paper explores the history and ongoing transformation of the South Sudanese Sudd marshlands as a buffer zone in a variety of subsequent projects of domination and their sub-version. Its argument will be that the contemporary geopolitics of the Sudd cannot be understood properly without unwinding the historical layers of contestation and conflict around these projects of control and their reversal, projects which have sought to shape and have been shaped crucially by the area's specific ecology. For more than a century, different external ventures-colonial, nationalist, secessionist-encountered in the southern Sudanese marshlands a formidable buffer to the realization of their various projects of control. Ambitions of making the Nile water flow, establishing effective state authority , or building lines of communication, get stuck in the Sudd's difficult terrain. Building on the political ecology and wider social theory on terrain, resistance and warfare, we conceptualize the Sudd as a lively political ecology-one characterized by constant struggles and accommodations between the centripe-tal logics of state-making and the centrifugal propensities of vernacular political culture.
Using contemporary and historical approaches, this paper empirically interrogates the recent and current trajectories of the statebuilding and peacebuilding processes and politics of southern Somalia (recognised as a state) and Somaliland (unrecognised as a state). To understand how the (post-)violent politics has preconditioned the form and face of becoming a Weberian state, the paper traces the internal dynamics and external dimensions of the two entities. In so doing, it offers empirical and theoretical contributions as to why the attempts at statebuilding and peacebuilding conversations in southern Somalia fail from time to time while Somaliland by contrast appears to be different. Although comparisons and contrasts between the two entities have been varied from the outset, there are similarities as well as differences in terms of structural differences, state differentiations, competing actors, different stakes and similar practices of clan politics. If evaluating institutions and actors in the longue durée approach suggests why a state is a state in Somaliland but not in southern Somalia, assessing both the state structures and the stakes involved reveals why power struggle and resource competition have become violent in one entity but not the other. Based on research data collected mainly in southern Somalia and Somaliland, the paper contributes to the research on the political conflicts in fragile and failed states in Africa, post-war Somali reconstruction and statebuilding and peacebuilding processes in war-torn societies.
This article examines the entanglement of insecurity profiteering and the emergence of the profitable violent political marketplace in southern Somalia. Reinforcing the recent research into secretive dealings of the securitisation of the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, it is argued that the war economy has prolonged armed conflict and insecurity in Somalia in a way that is more complicated than has been assumed. Given the internal/external dimension of the Somali conflict which tends to tailor internal actors with external actors in a deeply entrenched modus operandi, the economisation of southern Somalia’s insecurity has created a politically profitable space that prolongs the armed conflict and exacerbates insecurity to generate income and excavate revenues from international aid. As the state collapsed, powerful money-oriented ‘business’ people who have been determined by the ambition to profit from conflict carved out profitable spaces to generate illicit income out of the prolonged insecurity. Whilst the government authorities claim credit for growing societal development projects, Mogadishu has nominally recovered mainly because of the economic activities carried out by diasporic Somalis. Drawing from a long durée approach, the article introduces the various ways in which the contemporary war economy started from the Cold War experience and influenced the insecurity in Mogadishu. The article is devoted to deepening our understanding of why the war-torn capital city remains fragile and volatile in terms of security for a long time. It proposes an alternative understanding of the complicated security situation in conflict-ridden southern Somalia by contextualising the nuances of what is currently happening in Mogadishu. The article finally contributes to the existing studies of armed conflicts and war economies in the context of failed states and war profiteering.
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This paper draws on the notion of state fragility in three dimensions – Authority failures, Service delivery failures and Legitimacy failures as developed by Stewart and Brown. Using Stewart and Brown’s analysis of fragile states, the authors examine how recent events in South Sudan push the country into being the most fragile state. In furthering this three-dimensional approach, we attempt two important questions. How has South Sudan succumbed to fragility since attaining independence? Who influences peace in the country? The authors grapple with these questions by investigating events in South Sudan from the period of signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA 1 2005), independence in 2011, signing CPA 2 in 2015 up to present. The paper singles out the desire for regime survival as the major cause of fragility. The authors further argue that insecurity and instability are exacerbated by spoiling behaviour of certain powers and individuals, whose activities undermine state authority and creates disorder.
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This study asks: in the general absence of a functioning and effective civil administration in Juba's huge suburbs, how have people negotiated personal disputes and neighbourhood management since conflict began in 2013? Who arbitrates in Juba, and on what terms? This study challenges top-down analyses that see political-military elites managing their ethnic enclaves of followers and fighters through nepotism and gifts. Such patronage requires the complex negotiation of responsibilities and rights, including over community safety and order. In Juba, the local authorities who mediate this have been built by men and women with extensive expertise and connections in South Sudan's long history of ‘civil-military’ governance systems. These local authorities have established lasting institutions by negotiating rights to residence in, arbitrating over, and knowing the human geography of their neighbourhoods. Their authority is rooted in this deep politics, drawing on their detailed knowledge of topographies of power in these multi-ethnic, highly military neighbourhood spaces.
Technical Report
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This study recommends conflict sensitive interventions that can improve selected market linkages between food surplus and food deficit areas. In contrast to more traditional market integration analyses, this study aims to identify specific interventions on a case-by-case basis for food surplus and deficit areas that interact with existing community livelihood strategies and the formal and informal logics governing markets in the country. Additionally, this study proposes short-term interventions that can take place within 6 to 24 months. These initiatives are proposed according to an analysis of qualitative and quantitative market linkage data and a study of market prices.
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Since its inception as a semi-autonomous state in 2005, the South Sudanese government procurement sector has been a booming business. Funded by oil income, the government procurement regimes have become instrumental institutional mechanisms for the allocation of rents within the political marketplace. This type of ‘rentier' politics is often considered to be anti-developmental in mainstream thinking about statebuilding in fragile states, while others argue that rentierism is not growth-retarding per se, but that its impact on development depends on how rents are utilized and reinvested. Taking the latter less-normative approach to rentierism as a starting point, this article begins by identifying patterns of rent allocation that characterized the government procurement sector during the 2005–2011 interim period. Following the political decision to shut down oil production in early 2012, the rent process that had sustained these clientelistic arrangements became suddenly unsustainable. In this context, another cadre of entrepreneurs comprised largely of diaspora returnees with higher technological capabilities and transnational linkages started to gain ground within the government procurement sector, signifying the emergence of a potentially ‘developmental' feature in the rent process. Notwithstanding, while the 2012–2013 austerity period arguably precipitated certain developmental features, it also uprooted the political settlement, which culminated in the December 2013 crisis, pushing the young country back to civil war.
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Since its inception as a semi-autonomous state in 2005, the South Sudanese government procurement sector has been a booming business. Funded by oil income, the government procurement regimes have become instrumental institutional mechanisms for the allocation of rents within the political marketplace. This type of ‘rentier' politics is often considered to be anti-developmental in mainstream thinking about statebuilding in fragile states, while others argue that rentierism is not growth-retarding per se, but that its impact on development depends on how rents are utilized and reinvested. Taking the latter less-normative approach to rentierism as a starting point, this article begins by identifying patterns of rent allocation that characterized the government procurement sector during the 2005–2011 interim period. Following the political decision to shut down oil production in early 2012, the rent process that had sustained these clientelistic arrangements became suddenly unsustainable. In this context, another cadre of entrepreneurs comprised largely of diaspora returnees with higher technological capabilities and transnational linkages started to gain ground within the government procurement sector, signifying the emergence of a potentially ‘developmental' feature in the rent process. Notwithstanding, while the 2012–2013 austerity period arguably precipitated certain developmental features, it also uprooted the political settlement, which culminated in the December 2013 crisis, pushing the young country back to civil war.
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South Sudan obtained independence in July 2011 as a kleptocracy – a militarized, corrupt neo-patrimonial system of governance. By the time of independence, the South Sudanese “political marketplace” was so expensive that the country's comparatively copious revenue was consumed by the military-political patronage system, with almost nothing left for public services, development or institution building. The efforts of national technocrats and foreign donors produced bubbles of institutional integrity but the system as a whole was entirely resistant to reform. The January 2012 shutdown of oil production bankrupted the system. Even an experienced and talented political business manager would have struggled, and President Salva Kiir did not display the required skills. No sooner had shots been fired than the compact holding the SPLA together fell apart and civil war ensued. Drawing upon long-term observation of elite politics in South Sudan, this article explains both the roots of kleptocratic government and its dire consequences.
This article draws on research in Tanzania to explore the socially embedded nature of institutions for common property resource management and collective action. The article challenges the design principles common in resource management literature and explores instead the idea of 'institutional bricolage' - a process by which people consciously and unconsciously draw on existing social and cultural arrangements to shape institutions in response to changing situations, The resulting institutions are a mix of 'modern' and 'traditional', 'formal' and 'informal'. Three aspects of institutional bricolage are elaborated here: the multiple identities of the bricoleurs, the frequency of cross-cultural borrowing and of multi-purpose institutions, and the prevalence of arrangements and social norms which foster cooperation, respect and non-direct reciprocity over life courses.
South Sudan became Africa's newest nation in 2011, following decades of armed conflict. Chiefs-or ‘traditional authorities’-became a particular focus of attention during the international relief effort and post-war reconstruction and state-building. But ‘traditional’ authority in South Sudan has been much misunderstood. Institutions of chiefship were created during the colonial period but originated out of a much longer process of dealing with predatory external forces. This book addresses a significant paradox in African studies more widely: If chiefs were the product of colonial states, why have they survived or revived in recent decades? By examining the long-term history of chiefship in the vicinity of three towns, the book also argues for a new approach to the history of towns in South Sudan. Towns have previously been analysed as the loci of alien state power, yet the book demonstrates that these government centres formed an expanding urban frontier, on which people actively sought knowledge and resources of the state. Chiefs mediated relations on and across this frontier, and in the process chiefship became central to constituting both the state and local communities. Cherry Leonardi is a Lecturer in African History at the University of Durham, a former course director of the Rift Valley Institute's Sudan course, and a member of the council of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Published in association with the British Institute in Eastern Africa.
First published in 1980, Street-Level Bureaucracy received critical acclaim for its insightful study of how public service workers, in effect, function as policy decision makers, as they wield their considerable discretion in the day-to-day implementation of public programs. Three decades later, the need to bolster the availability and effectiveness of healthcare, social services, education, and law enforcement is as urgent as ever. In this thirtieth anniversary expanded edition, Michael Lipsky revisits the territory he mapped out in the first edition to reflect on significant policy developments over the last several decades. Despite the difficulties of managing these front-line workers, he shows how street-level bureaucracies can be and regularly are brought into line with public purposes. Street-level bureaucrats-from teachers and police officers to social workers and legal-aid lawyers-interact directly with the public and so represent the frontlines of government policy. In Street-Level Bureaucracy, Lipsky argues that these relatively low-level public service employees labor under huge caseloads, ambiguous agency goals, and inadequate resources. When combined with substantial discretionary authority and the requirement to interpret policy on a case-by-case basis, the difference between government policy in theory and policy in practice can be substantial and troubling. The core dilemma of street-level bureaucrats is that they are supposed to help people or make decisions about them on the basis of individual cases, yet the structure of their jobs makes this impossible. Instead, they are forced to adopt practices such as rationing resources, screening applicants for qualities their organizations favor, "rubberstamping" applications, and routinizing client interactions by imposing the uniformities of mass processing on situations requiring human responsiveness. Occasionally, such strategies work out in favor of the client. But the cumulative effect of street-level decisions made on the basis of routines and simplifications about clients can reroute the intended direction of policy, undermining citizens' expectations of evenhanded treatment. This seminal, award-winning study tells a cautionary tale of how decisions made by overburdened workers translate into ad-hoc policy adaptations that impact peoples' lives and life opportunities. Lipsky maintains, however, that these problems are not insurmountable. Over the years, public managers have developed ways to bring street-level performance more in line with agency goals. This expanded edition of Street-Level Bureaucracy underscores that, despite its challenging nature, street-level work can be made to conform to higher expectations of public service.
This is a joint paper by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) and the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) Despite growing interest in the connections between taxation, development and governance, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the relationship between taxation and people’s livelihoods, particularly in places affected by war and violent conflict. Yet, it is in these landscapes that people encounter particularly fierce challenges to livelihood recovery, often finding themselves operating in a political economy environment that is at once complex and shifting, as well as brutal and exploitative. And it is also in these contexts that questions around public goods provision and state-society relations carry most weight – places affected badly by conflict tend to have urgent service-related needs, and violent conflicts can erode trust in governance actors. Through a selective review of key literature, we argue in this paper that if we are truly interested in the relationships between taxation and livelihoods, then an exclusive focus on formal taxation is inadequate. Subsequently, we suggest widening our analytical lens to include what might be referred to as 'informal tax' – that is, payments and costs (for example, in relation to labour time) which are incurred outside formal statutory arrangements, the benefits of which may be accrued by a variety of state, non-state and community actors or institutions. In reality, the lines between formal and informal taxation are likely to be blurred. Nevertheless, a broad analytical focus on taxation, which captures both its formal and informal dimensions, may be defined as: all payments – whether cash or in kind, including labour time – that are made as a result of the exercise of political power, social sanction or armed force (as opposed to market exchange). Further research is needed to explore these issues, and this working paper can be considered the first step of an ongoing joint research project by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) and Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) to address this need. You can download the working paper below, or download the SLRC's Evidence Brief: Taxation and livelihoods - A review of the evidence from fragile and conflict affected rural areas (438.418kb). This evidence brief provides an overview of the evidence base when exploring the relationship between taxation and livelihoods in conflict affected situations. It discusses the geographical, methodological and thematic nature of the evidence base, summarises key findings, clarifies what the research means for policy-makers, and provides links to relevant empirical material.