Support for decentralisation and poverty reduction

Programme description

Title: Programme to support decentralisation and poverty reduction
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Burundi
Lead executing agency: Ministère du Développement Communal
Overall term: 2011 to 2014

Context

Since the end of the civil war in 2000, decentralisation has become a crucial element of political reform in Burundi. The participation of citizens in local development has been strengthened through the transfer of decision-making processes from central government to municipal level. Civic engagement is seen as the basis for stable social co-existence and sustainable social and economic progress in Burundi, where poverty remains prevalent.

Much good progress has been made but the country still faces many challenges. The Ministry of Communal Development does not yet have sufficient capacity to manage political processes or create the legal and institutional architecture that is needed. Most staff dealing with decentralisation issues are inexperienced and inadequately trained. In addition, lack of funds is preventing local authorities from providing their populations with the requisite civic services or satisfactory services in the areas of health, education and drinking water.

Objective

Local authorities in Burundi are providing their citizens with better services.

Approach

To achieve this objective, GIZ provides advice on aspects of decentralisation to key stakeholders including the Ministry of Communal Development, provincial governments and local authorities. The focus is on boosting the capacity of these institutions and providing support for the development and implementation of effective strategies.

With advisory support from GIZ, the Ministry of Communal Development is drawing up and implementing a national education and training programme for administrative staff. At the same time, local strategies are being developed in cooperation with the 17 municipalities of the two pilot provinces Gitega and Mwaro to increase the municipalities’ revenues and promote transparency and accountability with regard to expenditure.

Advice is also being provided to local value chains involving produce such as bananas, potatoes and milk to enhance local economic potential and lay the foundation for future growth in the municipalities.

As part of the Energising Development Initiative (EnDev), which is being implemented with support from the Dutch and German governments, GIZ is also promoting access to energy for rural households and municipal infrastructure.

The consulting firms PEM/AMBERO/IP jointly support the implementation of the project

Results achieved so far

Annual surveys carried out by GIZ in Gitega and Mwaro provinces have shown a significant rise in the population’s satisfaction with local administrative services, with satisfaction levels increasing from just over 35 per cent (2010) to nearly 64 per cent (2012).

The revenue generated by the 17 participating municipalities has risen by an average of 50 per cent. Greater financial resources allow the municipalities to employ more administrative staff, for example, and to be more proactive in implementing their development plans.

The local business development advice that is being provided to small agricultural businesses has significantly increased their productivity, which has in turn created many new jobs. The number of external seasonal workers in Gitega and Mwaro increased tenfold from 2011 to 2012.

Burundi. A municipal administration office © GIZ

As part of the EnDev initiative, 122 solar-powered, multi-functional power stations were installed in 2013. Even remote areas now have access to electricity for charging batteries and mobile phones and providing power to hairdressing salons, for instance. Over 5,000 households are now using solar lamps and 4,000 energy-efficient charcoal-burning stoves have been distributed.