Supporting decentralisation and municipal development
Title: Supporting decentralisation and municipal development (PDDC V)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); European Union (EDF)
Lead executing agencies: Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Governance (MDGL), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance (MEF), Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (MISP)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
Benin has set about reforming its territorial administration with the aim of consolidating democracy and further reducing poverty. Significant progress has been made since this process of decentralisation and territorial administration was launched some 15 years ago. Milestones include the establishment of the legal framework for decentralisation, the introduction of a uniform mechanism for financial transfers regulating national financial equalisation between the state and municipalities, and the creation of important institutions, such as the Training Centre for Municipal Administration and the National Association of Municipal Authorities. Nevertheless, despite these achievements diverse challenges still need to be met.
The municipalities receiving advice under the programme are better able to carry out the tasks of providing municipal services that have been transferred to them.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the programme is working to enhance the knowledge and skills of all stakeholders in the decentralisation process. This is primarily being accomplished by means of advisory services in 35 of the country’s 77 municipalities. The lead executing agency at national level is the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Governance. Other partners involved in the programme include various decentralised services, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security, the National Commission for Local Finances, the National Association of Municipal Authorities of Benin, the Training Centre for Municipal Administration, the Beninese ‘House of Civil Society’, and other national and local civil society organisations and networks.
To improve living standards for the population in partner municipalities and facilitate better access to basic services, the programme is carrying out activities in the following areas:
- support for municipalities in drawing up lessons learned with regard to implementing the 2030 Agenda at local level and contributing these as an input into the national and international debate;
- advice at national level on better structuring of the financial relationships between the state and municipalities. At the same time, the programme is helping municipalities to generate their own local revenue (taxes and duties);
- tailored advisory services for each of the partner municipalities and also for national structures, particularly the Training Centre for Municipal Administration;
- thanks to cofinancing by the European Union, promotion of effective civic participation at local level, gender equality and transparency in the use of public finances.
National strategies take into account the contribution of the municipalities and of civil society to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The municipalities receiving advice under the programme have improved capacities for collecting taxes, fees and levies. National procedural regulations are facilitating higher rates of municipal tax revenues. In particular, cooperation between tax authorities and municipalities has improved. Revenues in the 25 partner municipalities rose by an average of 16 per cent between 2016 and 2017 – the average for all of the 77 municipalities in Benin is 1.18 per cent.
With regard to the 10 new municipalities, own revenues in 2019, compared to those in 2017, have increased from 2.41 per cent to 48.57 per cent in five out of 10 communes, including more than 10 per cent in at least four municipalities.
The effectiveness of administration in these municipal authorities has also increased. They are setting up facilities such as citizens’ offices to improve their services. The municipalities are planning climate change adaptation measures to an increasing extent and are implementing these in a participatory manner. They are also providing specific support for disadvantaged groups.
Municipalities are facilitating dialogue with civil society and encouraging public participation. At the same time, civil society organisations are performing their watchdog function effectively and constructively with regard to the activities of municipal authorities.