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State and governance : the limits of decentralisation

Document type: report
Download file(s): 115618 (277 KB)
Abstract: This report offers a reflection on the relationship between State and governance in Africa. It does so for 2 reasons: (1) it is difficult to understand what has happened on the continent since independence without making sense of the evolution of the postcolonial State; and (2) the historical record outside Africa suggests that the success of decentralization ultimately rests on the quality of State governance. It is shown that the extent to which decentralization will contribute to better aid delivery and enhanced development rests on the quality of ‘governance’ – that is, the efficiency of central government. The lessons of the experience of those countries where decentralization has had a positive impact suggest that devolution of power and the control of resources at the local level can only work to improve conditions when the State itself is committed to State and governance. The limits of decentralization. Commitment to development, however, is not measured by official statements; it is demonstrated in practice by the continuous efforts to improve State efficiency. In the end this is the only way in which politicians can improve the legitimacy of the State and demonstrate accountability to their own people. Therefore, the impact of decentralization is likely to be proportional to the quality of State governance.
Authors: Chabal, P.
Series Title: SNV publications
Category: General
ISSN: H0702-01
Keywords: decentralization , governance , aid programmes
Language: eng
Organization: SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation
PAGE: 16
Place: The Hague
Publisher: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Year: 2007
Region: Africa South of Sahara
Right: © 2007 SNV
Subject: Development Cooperation General
Title: State and governance : the limits of decentralisation