Decentralisation and state reform (PADRE)
Title: Sustainable water and sanitation in Mali
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministère de la Décentralisation et de la Réforme de l’Etat
Overall term: 2015 to 2019
The 2012 crisis revealed that decentralisation is crucially important for governance in Mali, yet at the same time highlighted the glaring weaknesses in the implementation of the decentralisation process. Following Mali’s failed peace agreement of 1992, the Algiers Peace Accord signed in June 2015 gives the country a second historic opportunity to pursue the decentralisation process in order to build the momentum required for a fundamental reform of the decentralised unitary state. The Peace Accord has given strong regional authorities a key institutional role in overcoming the country’s political tensions and security crisis on a sustainable basis.
Government and administrative bodies take advantage of the improved institutional framework and decentralisation instruments to strengthen the financial and economic situation of the regions.
The PADRE project is advising relevant public bodies at national, regional and local level. Apart from working with state actors and institutions and with regional authorities, it is also involving organisations of the business community and civil society in its activities. In addition to its advisory services in the capital, Bamako, the project is working in the regions of Ségou, Mopti, Kayes and Gao to develop approaches for nationwide dissemination. In compliance with Mali’s national strategy for further decentralisation, support is being provided in four priority fields of activity:
- Improving the institutional framework for decentralisation
The aim is to enhance the skills and performance capacity of the Malian institutions responsible for decentralisation. Key government ministries, such as the Ministry of Decentralisation and State Reform, the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, are being advised on how to structure core reforms. The advice covers issues such as regionalisation, internal financial relations and fiscal decentralisation, and the process of transferring greater resources to regional authorities. The project is also helping the municipal training centre to design practical training modules.
- Fiscal decentralisation, local finances and financial control
The transfer of finances to regional authorities is to be increased. To this end, instruments, mechanisms and procedures for revenue generation by regional authorities and management of the revenue chain are being strengthened.
- Strengthening the economic performance capacity of the regions
In order for regions to fulfil their role in regional economic development, they need to be able to create an environment that is conducive to investment. The project is also promoting the performance capacity of the private sector.
- Strengthening mechanisms of state control and civil participation in public investments undertaken by regional authorities
The project is devising and mainstreaming control and quality assurance mechanisms for municipal construction projects. It is also promoting and establishing a culture of civil participation in municipal investment decisions and accountability. Women receive support in defending their interests, and the role of civil society umbrella organisations in ensuring public control and accountability is being strengthened.
- In the context of regional economic development, the regional councils of Kayes, Mopti and Segou have been strengthened in their ownership function and in their ability to competently plan, implement and operate economic infrastructure. Thus, between 2015 and 2017 22 business-related infrastructure projects in Mopti and Segou, implemented by EU direct financing, were realized with technical advice from GIZ: Municipal livestock markets, slaughterhouses and small-irrigation areas for vegetable cultivation. Today, the three regions are at the forefront in implementing the Malian state's regionalization agenda, and they are capable to mobilize direct financing (most recently, in 2018, they acquired € 3.8 million EU direct financing for the three regions).
- The local population begins to exercise their rights and obligations as citizens. They are taking first steps towards civil participation and demand accountability from their local councils. PADRE has so far recorded 93 interpellations, specifically in relation to basic services, and at least 55 percent of them have been successful and have led to concrete actions by local authorities.
- The introduction of women’s forums, which serve as consultation platforms, ensures that women’s needs are given greater consideration in municipal planning. A total of 61 per cent of the projects submitted by the forums have been incorporated into municipal planning.
- Transparency and accountability of local tax collection has improved significantly in the 15 partner communities. Thanks to the quarterly (instead of only annual) accountability mechanism, tax revenues have increased substantially already by middle of the year. Action plans on local finances enabled an increase of tax revenues between 60 and 193 percent in half of the partner communities.
- Thanks to regular inspections carried out by public bodies in 133 communities, there have been fewer breaches of administrative, financial and technical regulations in the context of regional authority investment projects.
- The training module on governance in fragile contexts, which was developed by PADRE in collaboration with the Training Center for Local Governments (in French CFCT) and which is particularly designed for community representatives and the interim administrations deployed in the northern regions of Mali, is now part of CFCT’s official catalogue.