Hold the date: Decentralization and local development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Map of Africa

Effective decentralization and localization—including subnational governance systems that empower and encourage local leaders to promote inclusion and equity—form an important precondition for resilient, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and efficient development.

With this understanding in mind, the Local Public Sector Alliance wants to take stock—on a region by region basis—of the state of decentralization and localization around the world. Next up: Africa. What is the state of decentralization and local development in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Decentralization and Local Development in Africa – Knowledge Sharing Week, December 6-10, 2021

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—is pleased to convene a series of knowledge sharing events on Decentralization and Local Development in Africa, including:

  • Regional overview of decentralization and localization reforms in Africa. A panel discussion by experts from the World Bank, UNDP, and other regional experts on trends on decentralization and localization in Africa.
  • Decentralization and localization: Experiences from Kenya. A presentation and discussion of the reform experience from Kenya.
  • Researcher/ practitioner exchange. A final knowledge sharing event will provide an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to have an exchange on policy-relevant research on decentralization and local development in Africa.

Details and registration information for the specific knowledge sharing events on decentralization in Africa will be made available by November 7, 2021. Pre-register here to receive program updates:

Decentralization and local development in Africa: Outstanding Paper Awards

As part of its ongoing effort to promote high-quality, policy-relevant research on issues related to decentralization and local development in Africa, the Local Public Sector Alliance is offering a number of awards for outstanding papers on decentralization and local development. Although the award is open to all, the award is targeted at young scholars and emerging researchers from around the world.

A US$ 500 prize will be awarded to the winner for the best research paper submitted on a topic related to decentralization or localization in Africa, while US$ 250 will be awarded to two regional runners-up. In addition, the winning paper will be considered as part of the global award. The author of the Global Outstanding Paper will receive a total award of US$ 1000.

The awards are open to recent research papers (whether unpublished, working papers or published) covering a range of fields and topics related to decentralization and local development in African countries, including—for instance—research studies related to the inclusive and responsive nature of local governments in an African country. Other relevant topics might include analyses of the administrative capacity of local governments or local administration; analyses of local government finances or intergovernmental fiscal relations; studies analyzing multi-level governance arrangements or functional assignments; or studies related to the vertical or intergovernmental aspects of public service delivery efficiency or the localization of the SDGs or sustainable development in one or more sectors (e.g., the local provision of education, health, water and sanitation, climate, urban services, and so on). Papers are generally expected to focus on a single country, although comparative studies will also be accepted.

The Sub-Saharan Africa region includes a large number of different decentralization practices, among others, a number of federal or quasi-federal countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and South Africa. Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are unitary states pursuing various degrees of decentralization, among others, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The submission deadline for research papers on decentralization and localization in Africa is November 7, 2021. Further details and application materials are available online here.