Promotion of decentralisation processes in Togo (ProDeGoL)

Project description

Title: Good governance and decentralisation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Togo
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale, de la Décentralisation et des Collectivités Locales (MATDCL)
Overall term: 2012 to 2021

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Context

Over the past few years, the democratisation process in the Republic of Togo has made progress. Although there are still shortcomings in the country’s governance and respect for human rights, encouraging steps have been taken. In 2016, Togo decided to adopt a decentralisation roadmap. In order to implement this process, the country then passed an implementation agreement in 2017, which provides for a national monitoring committee. Togo has also created new municipalities. On 30 June 2019, the first municipal elections in 32 years took place, giving democratic legitimacy to the decision-makers in the municipalities. The basic requirements for the gradual decentralisation of the country have therefore been met. 

However, various challenges remain. The roles and division of tasks between the state levels have yet to be clarified. The stakeholders lack an understanding of how to implement decentralisation and deconcentration. Neither can they draw on much experience from exchanges with other municipalities. The financial support that municipalities receive from central government is too limited. Furthermore, many local authority officers are underqualified and the municipalities are poorly equipped. 

Objective

The Togolese Government is successfully implementing the decentralisation process at national and municipal level.

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Approach

Since 2013, the project has supported the Togolese Government in improving the general conditions for developing and implementing the decentralisation process. The project advises the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralisation and Local Authorities (MATDCL) in particular, but also the Ministry of Economy and Finance. At municipal level, it provides support for the improvement of municipal services. Local development planning, the registration of births, deaths and marriages, citizen participation and local finances are just some of the areas covered by its advisory services.

In all thematic areas, the project works together with the relevant stakeholders and supports the implementation of the initiated integrated processes, such as the preparation of manuals setting out municipal administration procedures.

The project’s objectives correspond to the priorities of Togo’s development policy. Their implementation contributes towards achieving the goals of the national development plan and the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 Agenda.

Since July 2017, the project has been jointly financed by Germany and the European Union (EU) to leverage synergies (Decentralisation and Local Governance Programme (ProDeGoL)). Since then, it has been operating in all five regions of the country and advises a total of 13 municipalities.

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Results

  • Reforms for the decentralisation of Togo are paving the way for Togo’s citizens to participate in public administration. Citizens’ bureaus have been established with the support of the project. These bureaus and other exchange formats promote citizen participation in local development processes. 500,000 residents in the partner communities can now follow key decisions and contribute to decentralisation.
  • Capacities for planning and funding investment projects in the municipalities have been developed. The municipalities now work with development plans. A participatory process took into account the interests of various demographic groups. A priority area is the integration of equality criteria. The needs of women, in particular, will be considered in municipal planning and budgeting in future. 
  • The municipalities are capable of implementing measures to improve the living conditions of their residents, as well as improving and monitoring services. Better access to municipal services is now available to 1.5 million residents. The administration of the registry offices guarantees 500,000 citizens the right to a legal existence and ensures school education for their children.
  • Ministerial employees responsible for implementing decentralisation are increasing their knowledge and enhancing their skills in training courses. Coordination between the different stakeholders in the decentralisation process has improved, among other things by setting up a dialogue body on local finances.