Support for decentralisation reforms in Ghana
Title: Support for Decentralisation Reforms (SfDR)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD)
Overall term: 2007 to 2021
The Ghanaian Government is committed to decentralisation in order to promote democratic development and the improvement of public services. Although progress has been made in the decentralisation process, some challenges remain, such as existing regional differences. Even though regional, municipal and local stakeholders are considered relevant to development and are responsible for providing public services, government funding is insufficient and sometimes unreliable. The potential for mobilising locally raised revenue is not being harnessed. At the same time, citizens and the population at large are barely involved in planning processes, which is necessary to ensure transparent and fair allocation of resources to citizens’ needs and priorities. Although the government has high ambitions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the regional and local levels are not sufficiently involved and therefore cannot provide the necessary data for reporting processes and evidence-based policy-making.
Selected districts (local authorities) have improved the collection, management and data-driven planning of their finances to implement the 2030 Agenda.
The Support for Decentralisation Reforms (SfDR) project supports the implementation of decentralisation reforms in Ghana in 60 municipalities nationwide. A multi-level approach is used to promote coordination mechanisms between regional, local and national stakeholders. Since the project was launched, co-financing agreements have been concluded with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). To this end, the programme is involved in four fields of activity:
- Strengthening the institutional capacity of municipalities in revenue management
- Improving municipal planning and budgeting
- Improving cooperation between key stakeholders in the decentralisation process
- Improving data-based development planning to implement the 2030 Agenda
SfDR has developed software (dLRev) that the partners have tested and approved and the government has recognised as a standard programme for local revenue management. To date, 229,000 companies and properties in 36 partner districts are registered in dLRev. 43 partner districts increased their turnover on average by 66 per cent between 2015 and 2018. 46 partner municipalities have improved the processes for ensuring public participation, for example by making pre-announcements and through moderation of discussions in, or translation into, the national language. Since 2016, more than 24,000 citizens (47 per cent women) have been involved in district-level public decision-making. In addition, a local governance platform has been set up to ensure a coordinated exchange between experts and decision-makers in the decentralisation process. A web-based monitoring and evaluation platform for collecting data from local authorities has been developed and piloted to feed into the government's SDG reporting system.