Supporting decentralisation and local development

Programme description

Title: Support to decentralisation and local development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale et de la Décentralisation (MINATD)
Overall term: 2012 to 2017

Context

The decentralisation of government tasks has been enshrined in Cameroon's constitution since 1996. The adoption of decentralisation laws (2004), the establishment of national coordinating bodies (2008) and the increased formal transfer of areas of responsibility to the municipalities since 2010 have been the most important steps.

Although the legislative framework is now firmly in place, implementation still faces diverse challenges. The administration continues to be extremely centralised, and the transfer of sector-specific responsibility to the municipalities is making only slow progress; they have minimal autonomy in planning and financial matters. The municipalities often lack sufficient funds, and the actors at decentralised level are inadequately prepared for their tasks.

Many decisions thus remain at central level and priorities are set without consulting the municipalities. The people have poor access to basic public services, such as health care, water supply and basic education. Their opportunities to influence locally relevant decision-making processes are very limited.

Objective

The population has greater opportunities for participation and better access to basic services as a result of effective implementation of decentralisation and efficient national and local administration.

Approach

The programme supports the actors and institutions involved in the decentralisation reform to enable them to make proper and appropriate use of the authority, responsibility and resources transferred to them. It sees itself as a catalyst and facilitator of these processes.

GIZ provides advice to government and non-governmental actors in working out the legal and strategic details of the decentralisation process at national level and in coordinating the processes at national and municipal level. The aim is to ensure that the functions transferred to the municipalities are assumed promptly and to an acceptable standard. The programme also encourages the involvement of civil society actors in the decentralisation and local development processes. Networking between the stakeholders plays an important role in all activities.

The programme consists of three components:

  1. Implementation of the decentralisation policy
  2. Local planning, programme design, budgeting and monitoring; improving the local economic framework
  3. Local governance and improved basic municipal services.

The consulting firm AMBERO/PEM is responsible across all areas of activity for support in setting up a monitoring and evaluation system and managing a pool of experts.

Results

Decentralisation has become part of the country's development strategy; implementation of the decentralisation policy has been agreed on between the relevant actors. The national coordinating bodies now use the data from the monitoring and evaluation system of the national decentralisation process as the basis for making decisions on the allocation of financial resources to the municipalities.

Participatory planning has been integrated into regional and local administrative workflows, and a standard procedure has been adopted for processes at national level. Around 4.5 million people now have greater opportunities for political participation. Increased participation by women and a growing recognition of their capabilities can be observed, particularly at municipal level.

By setting out to improve the availability and quality of social services, the programme has been able to reach the poorer, primarily rural population directly. For example, improved management of water points has given around 1.5 million people better access to clean drinking water, thus reducing water-borne diseases such as cholera.

In the basic education sector, shortcomings have been overcome and services and school conditions have been enhanced thanks to more active participation by parents on committees. A total of 600,000 schoolchildren have thus gained better education opportunities. In the partner municipality Mbangassina, for instance, the success rate for the primary school certificate rose from 37 per cent in 2013 to 85 per cent in 2015.