Decentralisation and municipal development

Programme description

Title: Decentralisation and municipal development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Burkina Faso
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale, de la Décentralisation et de la Sécurité (MATDS)
Overall term: 2005 to 2017 

Burkina Faso. Inauguration of the regional administrative institute in Fada and 2015 graduation ceremony. © GIZ


Decentralisation has been enshrined in the constitution of Burkina Faso since 1991. The country has been implementing the devolution process in stages since 1995. The municipal elections of 2006 resulted in the creation of 13 regional parliaments and 351 urban and rural councils. As of 2014, all relevant responsibilities have been formally transferred to the local authorities.

The new distribution of responsibilities between the different levels of government still poses major challenges for the successful structuring and implementation of the decentralisation process. The same applies to the complex negotiation process involving the population, civil society, municipalities, and local and national state bodies. The severe shortage of financial, specialist and human resources within municipal administrations is currently making it virtually impossible to provide basic services which meet people’s needs.


Local authorities offer improved, needs-based services.


The programme is assisting with the implementation of the decentralisation process in four areas.

  1. It advises the ministry responsible for the decentralisation process and the Secretariat of the National Decentralisation Commission on strategy development and management issues. National actors are equipped to support local authorities more effectively and to use a jointly developed system for monitoring and analysing the progress of the devolution process. Associations of local authorities are empowered to represent their interests at national level.
  2. As of 2016, the programme will be working in 30 [Rev.1] municipalities to help local decision-makers, civil society representatives and local media organisations to introduce different types of municipal accountability and to adopt a participatory approach to local development measures within the scope of municipal investment plans. One area of focus is the needs of women and girls. Initiatives are being implemented jointly by the consulting firms AMBERO and GKW.
  3. The programme is assisting with the development of initial and further training modules and standardised learning content. Continuing education institutions offer this material to regional and local experts, elected representatives from local authorities, and municipal supervisory officers to develop their skills in implementing decentralisation measures.
  4. With a view to increasing the financial resources of local authorities, the programme has been working since 2016 to assist the partner ministry, the finance ministry and other ministries with the introduction of a transparent, needs-based distribution key for the transfer of central state funding. It has also been advising local actors since 2016 on the development of a common strategy for increasing the revenue generated by local authorities.

The government’s ‘National strategy for capacity development of actors in the decentralisation process’, ‘Strategic framework for implementing the decentralisation process’ and ‘Strategy for accelerated economic growth and sustainable development’ provide the framework for the decentralisation process.


The ministry responsible for decentralisation is increasingly assuming its leadership role. Since 2013, 11 manuals and 23 sets of guidelines have been produced in cooperation with the programme and distributed to the municipalities by the ministry. The national strategy for capacity development of municipal civil servants is being implemented, with state administrative colleges assuming responsibility for training. Building on the programme’s experience of delivering local advisory services, good practices have been fed into the development of 50 training modules. Cooperation between local authorities and local service providers has improved as a result of training.

The population and the coordination offices of local civil society are increasingly being involved in planning and monitoring processes in the partner municipalities. Strategies for improving communication between the state and its citizens are also being pursued in all municipalities, and a growing number of civil society organisations are providing the population and local authorities with an account of their activities. Since 2013, budgeting in the partner municipalities has met all the stipulated criteria. The people’s satisfaction with services increased from 37 per cent in 2009 to over 58 per cent in 2015.