A growing number of African countries are considering passing or implementing reforms that include some form of decentralization. There is thus a demand for clear and accessible materials that would assist policymakers, practitioners, students and members of the public to better understand the various concepts and mechanisms associated with decentralization. A few countries on the continent are considering or implementing federalism, while many more are weighing up or are already implementing decentralized systems of government. Moreover, the African Union has placed decentralization on the agenda through the adoption of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development in 2014.
With these trends in mind, leading experts on decentralization and federalism at the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights (DOI) at the University of the Western Cape recently prepared a series of ten Fact Sheets on decentralization and federalism. Given that all countries have local authorities, these Fact Sheets will focus primarily on the local government level.
The concepts that are unpacked by the fact sheets are complex, multifaceted and often start with theory. The aim is to present these topics in such a way that they make sense to a range of audiences. For example, the extent to which local governments have autonomy and how such autonomy can be measured will differ fundamentally from one country to the next. Similarly, the mechanisms that governments adopt to supervise municipalities will very across countries. The objective is to identify, explain and distinguish key concepts in a way that is relevant to the African context.
These informative, high-quality Fact Sheets are written by Professor Jaap de Visser, Professor Nico Steytler and Dr. Tinashe Chigwata, all based with the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights (DOI) at the University of the Western Cape.
The following fact sheets are currently available from the Dullah Omar Institute:
Factsheet 1: Decentralization: Definitions of key concepts
Factsheet 2: Federalism and federations
Factsheet 3: Local government: Factors and reasons in favor of decentralization
Factsheet 4: Local government autonomy
Factsheet 5: Local government powers
Factsheet 6: Local government finances
Factsheet 7: Supervision of local government
Factsheet 8: Local government and cooperative government
Factsheet 9: The role of traditional authorities in local governance
Factsheet 10: African charter on decentralization, local governance and local development
Visit the the Dullah Omar Institute’s website for the Factsheets, as well as for their other recent publications: