Why do some post-conflict states achieve stability and economic growth while others remain poor and unstable? Rwanda and Burundi, two neighboring states, experienced similar colonial histories, ethnic tensions, civil wars, genocides, cultures, and pre-civil war poverty. Prior to the end of their most recent civil wars, the two states seemed to be on similar trajectories. Yet Rwanda has achieved incredible success in implementing stability, economic development, and poverty alleviation in their post-war period under President Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front while Burundi has remained unstable and poor under its power-sharing agreement following the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi that ended its civil war. By comparing public administration, economic, and civil society reforms in both states, this paper argues that the centralization of power in President Kagame as well as the complete removal from political institutions of the Hutu regime that instigated the Rwandan Genocide has allowed Rwanda to institute reforms that have not be possible in Burundi, due to rent-seeking encouraged by the power-sharing agreement implemented there.




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