Support for municipal development in Cameroon

Project details

Title: Support for municipal development in Cameroon
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: Ministère de la Décentralisation et du Développement Local (MINDDEVEL), Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development (MINDDEVEL)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Context

In its strategy document for growth and employment (Document de Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi, DSCE), the Cameroonian Government identifies decentralisation as a key element in promoting democracy and combating poverty. The principle of decentralisation has been anchored in the Cameroonian constitution since 1996. A decentralisation strategy was developed in 2015, and a Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development (MINDDEVEL) was created in early 2018.

Even though many powers – in the areas of basic services and infrastructure, for example – have been transferred to municipalities, important decisions continue to be taken without the adequate involvement of municipalities. Reforms have not been implemented fully and, in addition, municipalities do not have the necessary funds even in cases where they have formally been assigned their own sources of income. In the years 2012 to 2014, only a small fraction of the state transfer payments due to municipalities were actually transferred.

However, progress has already been made on strengthening the financial position of municipalities. For example, MINDDEVEL has implemented a fundamental reform of financial equalisation with the support of the Prime Minister. A working group from the Finance Ministry and the former Interior Ministry (MINATD) was tasked with developing a new system for financial equalisation in time for budget planning in 2017. Presently, however, municipalities are not carrying out their duties with regard to sustainable municipal development to a sufficient extent. One of the main reasons for this is the ongoing inefficiency of the administration of municipal finances.

Objective

Municipalities fulfil their tasks for sustainable local development more effectively.

Approach

In cooperation with MINDDEVEL, this project is focusing on strengthening consultation mechanisms with specific approaches for disseminating positive experience with advice through national networks. The project includes four areas of action:

  • Improving conditions for efficient administration of municipal finances and achieving transparency in municipal budgets;
  • Improving cooperation between municipalities and State institution in charge of implementing decentralisation at the national, regional and divisional level;
  • Maintaining, controlling and managing public infrastructures with the aid of improved budgeting and the citizen participation;
  • Strengthening the capacity of Multipurpose Telecommunication Centers to provide demand-driven digital services.
  • The project is active in two regions in Cameroon: the North and the Southwest.

Results

The re-organisation of municipal financial equalisation mentioned above is implementing the principle of subsidiarity as a first step towards municipal self-government. As a result, this new project is aiming to strengthen the financial situation of municipalities and to support their ability to maintain their own infrastructure. In addition, the project intends to improve cooperation between municipalities and Decentralised State Services and to close the digital divide in rural areas. Civic participation in municipal processes is being promoted, particularly the participation of women. The improvements in the provision of various basic services – in water supply and basic education, for example – that were achieved by the predecessor project are being taken into account and built upon. There is close coordination here with German financial cooperation (KfW) in the area of good governance and with programmes in other sectors that are active in the same areas of intervention.

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