Promotion of national decentralisation and good governance

Project description

Title: Promotion of national decentralisation and good governance
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Niger
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning
Overall term: 2018 to 2020

Context

As a way to reduce poverty and enshrine democratic procedures, the Government of Niger has been working since 2011 on further reforms to strengthen local administrative autonomy and has published a strategy paper on national decentralisation policy. These reforms also take priority in the national development strategy. The country has adopted the legal framework for decentralisation and has created important institutions such as the training and continuing education centre for administrative staff and community representatives. Communities, regions and deconcentrated state institutions are working better together.

Despite these advances, various challenges still remain, in particular relating to sustainable financing, efficient and transparent management of communities and regions, and the provision of qualified staff. The development of a transfer mechanism creates further challenges. This mechanism is intended to simplify the allocation of subsidies, enable investment and share out finances equitably among communities. Communities and regions are not yet able to provide efficient public services or offer citizen-centric administration, while local people and communities are not sufficiently involved in municipal decision-making and the development processes taking place within the context of the decentralisation reforms.

Objective

Communities and regions in Niger are being provided with more responsibility and financial resources and the Government is overseeing the take-over of these new tasks. In this way, the communities can deliver efficient and citizen-centric local services, where the people actively participate in municipal decision-making.

Approach

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project supports the decentralisation reforms in Niger in three areas:

  • coordinating reforms on a national level and basic and further training;
  • Local economic development
  • Local governance and civic participation in the partner communities.

At national level, the project is working with the directorate-general for decentralisation on national strategies and the legal basis for decentralisation. In addition, the national institutions (interministerial committees, national finance agency, directorate for decentralisation of the Ministry of Interior, Public Safety and Decentralization , etc.) are being advised on how to better organise financial relations between the state and communities. For example, the project is advising the national finance agency on developing a finance transfer mechanism and is developing practice-oriented basic and further training programmes with new learning formats with the training and continuing education centre. The project is advising six partner communities about local economic development in order to capitalise on existing potential.

As part of the project, the consulting firm Eco Consult is advising 51 partner communities in the Agadez, Tahoua and Tillaberi regions about effective civic participation, transparency in the use of public funds and gender equality.

Training measures and coaching sessions ensure that mayors, administrative staff in communities and regional councils are qualified for their new tasks. Women and representatives of other disadvantaged groups are being given support though mentoring and training.

The project is supporting cooperation between local and national actors in the decentralisation process through its work with national ministries, regional councils, communities and civil society groups.

Further information