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Comparative Assessment of Decentralization in Africa American University November 14, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparative Assessment of Decentralization in Africa American University November 14, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparative Assessment of Decentralization in Africa American University November 14, 2011

2 Background to the Study Comparative Assessment of Decentralization in Africa (2010) Final Report: Comparative Assessment  Lessons for Decentralization & Democratic Local Governance  Focus more on conditions than programming  Programming implications currently under study (2011) Country Reports: 10 country case studies  Stand-alone studies and inputs into Comparative Assessment  Based on 10 desk studies & 5 in-country studies  10 desk studies: U.S.-based & locally-based academics  5 of the 10 desk studies selected for in-country follow-up  USAID provided prior guidance, for comparability Comparative Assessment Study

3 Desk Studies (10)In-Country Studies (5) Botswana Mali Mozambique Nigeria Tanzania Case Study Countries Comparative Assessment Study Botswana Burkina Faso Ethiopia Ghana Mali Mozambique Nigeria South Africa Tanzania Uganda

4 Findings: USAID Goals Stability Development Democracy Decentralization can and has enhanced stability in some cases; provides political “stake” to different groups Decentralization can improve public services (with in-country variations), but has not clearly enhanced economic growth Decentralization has enhanced local responsiveness in some countries; reform accompanies democracy improvements The Three Main Goals

5 Findings: USAID Objectives Authority Autonomy Accountability Capacity Authority has been transferred via new institutions: legal frameworks, elections, and revenue transfers Autonomy has been increased, but remains limited in political, fiscal, and administrative dimensions Accountability is enhanced, but it is often stronger upward through state and party rather than downward to locals Capacity did not change consistently with decentralization; local governments performed similarly to the center The Four Intermediate Objectives

6 Findings: USAID Objectives Strong achievements in this area in many cases Political: elections for SNGs in all cases  Routinized, but not universal in all cases (Mozambique, e.g.) Administrative: legal frameworks for decentralization  Major responsibilities often devolved: health, education, e.g. Fiscal: SNGs have some formula-based revenue transfers  Also some limited right to raise revenues from own sources Authority less meaningful due to limits in other areas  Formal/legal changes de jure vs. real changes de facto  Authority without autonomy leaves SNGs weak  Deconcentration often used to control devolution  There can be good reasons for this, but limits political decentralization Authority

7 Findings: USAID Objectives Autonomy at subnational level is quite limited  Much less robust than authority Political constraints  SNGs often under control of deconcentrated units  Dominant-party states constrict SNG autonomy Administrative constraints  Deconcentrated units can control elected SNGs (see above)  Central government regularly controls civil service Fiscal/resource constraints  Limited own-source revenues for SNGs  Reliance on central government transfers  Unfunded/underfunded mandates and expenditure controls Autonomy

8 Accountability is stronger “upward” than “downward” Political accountability  Downward: elections have been institutionalized  Upward: dominant parties strongly condition local action  Limited downward: influence of civil society limited Fiscal accountability  Most revenues are raised by the center and distributed  Center exerts considerable control over local expenditures Administrative accountability  Monitoring, standards, earmarks, conditional grants, etc.  Civil service often responds to national directives  Planning, budgeting, etc., often subjected to top-down control Findings: USAID Objectives Accountability

9 Findings: USAID Objectives Capacity is an enduring challenge  Fiscal: revenue collection/tax bases weak (esp. local level)  Administrative: planning capacity low (esp. local level)  Political: civil society capacity also lacking in some cases Low local capacity should not imply centralization is needed  Local technical abilities often lower, but other factors compensate  Local administrative officials often adequate for devolved tasks  Closer links to society and greater responsiveness possible  Need to consider local capacity vs. center’s shortcomings  Long histories of central government weakness, poor performance  Caution with central governments claiming low local capacity  Can seek to justify limiting decentralization to retain prerogatives Capacity

10 Major Comparative Findings More progress on Authority vs. other objectives  Decentralization needs further implementation after legislation Achievements  Political: regular subnational elections  Fiscal: formula-based transfers (less central discretion)  Administrative: transfer of responsibilities Limitations  Political: dominant parties and state bureaucracies  Fiscal: limited own-source revenue and tight spending controls  Administrative: civil service often remains centralized USAID’s 4 objectives: opportunities and threats  Several mechanisms for action  Also “deficit” in any one area can undermine whole process Conclusions

11 ContextsCountry examplesRecommendations Histories of conflictMozambique Ethiopia Support mobilization of local resources along with central monitoring Federal structuresNigeria South Africa Support coordinating institutions across sectors and levels Strong local institutions Ghana Uganda Facilitate communication between local officials and civil society Dominant partiesBurkina Faso Tanzania Prioritize intra-party dialogue and training of permanent local staff Legacies of centralismBotswana Mali Support decentralization that requires more local capacity over time Illustrative Programming Implications

12 Comparative Assessment of Decentralization in Africa American University November 14, 2011

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