Decentralization and local development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Effective decentralization and localization forms an important precondition for resilient, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and efficient development around the world.

The Local Public Sector Alliance is an alliance of advocates for more inclusive and effective decentralization and local development. One of the Alliance’s objectives is to bring together the global Community of Practice around Decentralization and Local Development in order to share knowledge and ideas in an evolving global context.

As part of its global webinar series on Decentralization and Local Development around the World, the Local Public Sector Alliance—in collaboration with the World Bank Subnational Governance and Decentralization Global Solutions Group, UNDP, UNCDF, and a number of other global partners—convened a series of knowledge sharing events on Decentralization and Local Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, from December 6-16, 2021.

While countries tend towards greater decentralization and localization in the long run, the pendulum does not always swing in the same direction. What has been going on in terms of decentralization and localization in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa? No comparative assessment of decentralization in Africa has taken place since the early 2000s. Has progress been made towards more inclusive and effective decentralization or localization in different countries; has the degree of decentralization been stagnant; or are countries backsliding? What political economy forces have been shaping the progress on decentralization and localization (or the lack thereof) in the region? And what can development practitioners, scholars and civil society organizations do to encourage evidence-based decentralization and localization reforms that promote more inclusive, effective and sustainable development in Africa?

Program sessions (details below):

  • Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: The big five (Monday December 6, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • The quest for decentralization and inclusive development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends and Political Economy Drivers (Tuesday December 7, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Décentralisation et localisation en Afrique subsaharienne: tendances en Afrique francophone / Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: trends in Francophone Africa (Wednesday December 8, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for PFM and service delivery (Thursday December 9, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Decentralization and Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Ensuring a Framework for Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable Urban Development (Monday December 13, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Decentralization and Localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Is Decentralization a Road to Peace (Tuesday December 14, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Decentralization and Localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Localizing Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (Wednesday December 15, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)
  • Decentralization and Localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Kenya (Thursday December 16, 2021: 3 pm NBO – 7 am NYC/DC)

Session details for all webinar sessions–including links to videos of key presentations and discussions– are provided below.


Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: “The big five”

Over half of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lives in five countries. As such, decentralization in these five federal and quasi-federal countries plays a critical role in determining progress on inclusive development in these countries and sets the tone for decentralization and localization in the region. For these “big five”, what directions have decentralization and localization reforms taken in recent years? What have been the drivers? Is this different from the rest of the region? (This webinar session is co-hosted by the World Bank).

Monday December 6, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introductionPeter Ellis, World Bank (moderator)
Nigeria [Watch on YouTube]Chris Okeke, FCDO Nigeria
Ethiopia [Watch on YouTube] Zemelak Ayele, Addis Abeba University
South Africa [Watch on YouTube] Nico Steytler, University of the Western Cape
DR Congo [Watch on YouTube] Theodore Trefon, Royal Museum for Central Africa
Kenya [Watch on YouTube] Jane Kiringai, Kenya Commission on Revenue Allocation
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

The quest for decentralization and inclusive development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends and Political Economy Drivers

There is a lot of energy behind inclusive, community-led development and people’s empowerment in Africa. This energy is unlikely to result in inclusive development unless the public sector organizes itself in a decentralized manner, in way that allows the public sector to respond to demands and needs expressed from the bottom up. What political economy forces have been holding back the decentralization agenda, and how can different stakeholders advocate for a more inclusive and responsive public sector? (This webinar session is co-hosted by the World Bank).

Tuesday December 7, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introductionManuel Vargas, Practice Manager, World Bank (moderator)
A political economy perspective [Watch on YouTube]Nicholas Awortwi, ILGS, Ghana
Civil society perspective [Watch on YouTube]Freddy Sahinguvu, SNV
Development partner perspective [Watch on YouTube] Abdu Muwonge, World Bank
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

Décentralisation et localisation en Afrique subsaharienne: tendances en Afrique francophone
Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: trends in Francophone Africa

La décentralisation dans de nombreux pays d’Afrique francophone trouve ses racines dans le système administratif français. Cependant, la France elle-même a considérablement évolué au cours des cinquante dernières années vers un système plus décentralisé basé sur la déconcentration. Comment cela se compare-t-il à la tendance en Afrique francophone ? / Decentralization in many countries in Francophone Africa find their roots in the French administrative system. However, France itself has evolved considerably over the past fifty years towards a more decentralized system based on devolution. How does this compare to the trend in Francophone Africa? (This webinar session is co-hosted by UNDP).

Note that this session will be conducted in French; interpretation into English will be provided.

Wednesday December 8, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introductionArmand-Michel Broux, UNDP (moderator)
Decentralization in France: Implications for Africa [Watch on YouTube] Guy Gilbert, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS)
Discussant [Watch on YouTube] Francois Paul Yatta, UCLG-Africa
Case study: Guinée [Watch on YouTube] Carlos Barry, UNCDF-Guinée
Case study: Sénégal [Watch on YouTube] Médoune Gueye, PNUD Sénégal
Case study: Mali [Watch on YouTube] Daouda Coulibaly, PNUD Mali
Discussant [Watch on YouTube] Francois Vaillancourt, University of Montreal
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

Decentralization and localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: implications for PFM and service delivery

While the crucial role of PFM in efficient, effective and equitable service delivery is widely acknowledged, the direct link between PFM reforms and improved service delivery outcomes has proven difficult to demonstrate in practice. This is particularly true in decentralized systems where there are many different actors performing many different finance functions along the delivery chain. There is an increasing interest in better understanding which reforms, under what conditions, can really contribute to improving services, and how these improvements can be measured. (This webinar session is co-hosted by ODI).

Thursday December 9, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introductionJamie Boex, Local Public Sector Alliance (Moderator)
Local Government Finance and PFM in Africa [Watch on YouTube] Julia Dhimitri, PEFA Secretariat
Decentralization, PFM and Service Delivery: Lessons from Uganda [Watch on YouTube] Gundula Loeffler, ODI
Discussant [Watch on YouTube]Seth Terkper, Fmr. Minister of Finance, Ghana
Discussant [Watch on YouTube] Felipe Bardella, IMF
Discussant [Watch on YouTube] Andrew Lawson, Fiscus Ltd.
Discussion / Q&A Moderator, panelists and audience

Decentralization and Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Ensuring a Framework for Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable Urban Development

Countries in Africa are rapidly urbanizing, with cities functioning not only as the engines of economic growth but also as spaces for social transformation. In order to ensure that city governments promote resilience and sustainable development while acting in an inclusive and responsive manner, cities need to be effective local governance institutions supported by an empowering intergovernmental framework. What reforms are ongoing across the region to achieve resilient, inclusive, sustainable and equitable urban development? (This webinar session is co-hosted by the International Growth Centre and the World Bank).

Monday December 13, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introduction [Watch on YouTube]Astrid R. N. Haas, LPSA (moderator)
Urban finance as a constraint to urban development: challenges and solutions [Watch on YouTube] Jaffer Machano, UNCDF
Financing urban development: key lessons from South Africa [Watch on YouTube] Danga Mughogho, South African Cities Network
Decentralization and urban development: a Ugandan perspective [Watch on YouTube] Gertrude Rose Gamwera, Uganda Local Government Association
Urban development in Zambia [Watch on YouTube] Gilbert Siame, University of Zambia
Strengthening urban institutions in Africa: The World Bank’s Experience [Watch on YouTube] Martin Onyach-Olaa, World Bank
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

Decentralization and Localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Is Decentralization a Road to Peace in Africa?

Is decentralization a road to peace in Africa? What is the role of decentralization and local governance in reducing or preventing conflicts? There are several important and interesting questions to ask in relation to this topic. Decentralization is often put into peace agreements but does it contribute to the stability it is thought to provide and does it promote peace? Where does this assumption come from and is there any evidence that supports the assumption? Are the needs and participation of youth better ensured within a decentralized structure and administration? (This webinar session is co-hosted by UNDP and DeLOG).

Tuesday December 14, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introduction [Watch on YouTube] Dr. Roselyn Akombe, Teamleader for Governance and
Peacebuilding, UNDP RSCA (moderator)
The nexus between decentralization and sustaining peace Jannel B. Galvanek, Head of the Sub-Saharan Africa Unit, Berghof Foundation

Katharina Jautz, Project Manager in the Yemen Unit, Berghof Foundation
Discussant: Peace agreements and decentralization in South Sudan [Watch on YouTube] Prof. Dr. Julia Duany, Expert in Peace, Gender and Federalism, South Sudan
Discussant: Peace agreements and decentralization in Central African Republic [Watch on YouTube] Dr. Decky Kabongi, Researcher on the security and development nexus in countries of the Great Lakes Region
Discussant: Peace agreements and decentralization in Mozambique:
Cândida F. E. Moiane Zonjo [Watch on YouTube]
Dr. Adriano Nuvunga [Watch on YouTube]
Cândida F. E. Moiane Zonjo, National Director of Local Administration, Mozambique

Dr. Adriano Nuvunga, Director of the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) & Steering Committee of the Mozambique Human Rights Defenders Network (RMDDH)
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

Decentralization and Localization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Localizing Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

The global climate crisis has become one of the major obstacles to the world’s sustainable development, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, vulnerable communities and people are bearing the worst consequences of climate variability and change, albeit they have contributed least to the crisis. Yet, if empowered and given a voice, they can be a decisive part of the solution. Local governments are in a unique position to promote climate change adaptation and mitigation and build resilient communities. This session aims to share knowledge of the role of decentralization and local governments in climate efforts, financing for local climate action and measuring local climate financing in Sub-Saharan Africa. It will bring together practitioners in this field to showcase how decentralization and financing contribute to local climate adaptation and mitigation through innovative, systematic approaches and country examples. (This webinar session is co-hosted by UNCDF).

Wednesday December 15, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introductionDavid Jackson, Director of Local Transformative Finance, UNCDF (Moderator)
Decentralization and climate finance [Watch on YouTube] Jesper Steffensen, Senior Partner, DEGE Consult
Climate resilience monitoring and evaluation [Watch on YouTube] Ayesha Dinshaw, Manager, Climate Resilience, WRI India
Delivering capacity building for local government and climate adaptation results for local community [Watch on YouTube] Landing B Sanneh, Chairman of Mansakonko Area Council, The Gambia
Discussant, Luc Gnacadja [Watch on YouTube]Luc Gnacadja, Former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Former Minister of the Environment, Housing and Urban Planning of Benin, Special Representative of LoCAL
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience

Kenya – The Biggest Bang: Key Success Factors and Challenges Going Forward

The 2010 Constitution provided a remarkable opportunity to fundamentally change the relationship between government and citizens in Kenya. The Constitution enabled a shift from centralized to decentralized and from “top-down” to “bottom-up” in a way rarely seen in other countries engaging in decentralization. It is now eight years since the first county governments and county assemblies took office which offers a good opportunity to take stock of the State of Devolution through the lens of achievements and challenges in two central areas, improved public financial management and enhanced public participation. The session will focus on experiences in public financial management as an important tool to improve public service delivery and, the efforts made in strengthening public participation, governance, and accountability. (This webinar session is co-hosted by the World Bank and UNDP).

Thursday December 16, 3 pm NBO (7 am NYC/DC)

TopicContributor
Session introduction Muratha Kinuthia, Senior Social Development specialist,
The World Bank, World Bank
Citizen Engagement and Public Participation [Watch on YouTube] H.E. Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Governor of
Makueni
Public Financial Management [Watch on YouTube] Selly Yagan, Commision of Revenue Allocation
Discussant: Judy Oduma [Watch on YouTube]Judy Oduma, CEO County Assemblies Forum CAF
Discussant: Wanjiru Gikonyo [Watch on YouTube] Wanjiru Gikonyo, National Coordinator, The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA)
Discussant: Odhiambo Akoum [Watch on YouTube] Odhiambo Akoum, Public Policy and Fiscal Decentralization Expert
Discussion / Q&AModerator, panelists and audience