Decentralisation as a contribution to good governance
Title: Support of decentralisation as a contribution to good governance
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
The first decentralisation reforms were introduced by the Rwandan Government in 2000 with the aim of improving local services and increasing citizen participation. However, these efforts also reflect the lessons learned from the genocide of 1994. Policy-makers are trying to create conditions for internal stability, stronger social cohesion and a reduction in poverty.
The reform efforts are part of an overall strategic framework. The Vision 2050 developed by the government will be implemented in the form of seven-year plans, which together make up the National Strategy for Transformation. The government is striving to leverage and manage local funds more effectively, review the transfer of finance from the national to the local level and improve public service delivery at local level. In addition, the population should be more involved in planning processes and monitoring. A further aim is to strengthen the mechanisms of national and local accountability.
Although the districts are taking on a more important role in the delivery of services, funds from their own sources and transfers from central government are not sufficient. The country also lacks a clear institutional and planning framework that defines the conditions under which the various areas should be decentralised, what type of decentralisation (deconcentration or devolution) is wanted and which areas should be given priority.
Local governance is strengthened in terms of funding and decentralisation as well as accountability and participation.
The project provides the Rwandan partners with support for measures that increase their domestic revenues at local level. This is done in two ways: firstly, by tapping new local sources of revenue or improving existing ones, and secondly, by increasing the decision-making autonomy of the districts with regard to how they use the domestic financial transfers. The aim of these interventions is to stabilise the financing of local service provision.
The project also aims to create a systematic framework for the transfer of central government functions to the districts. This can result in service delivery with a stronger focus on citizens. In order to do this, the project will bolster the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), which acts as the lead executing agency, in fulfilling its interministerial and intraministerial coordination role and provide it with the technical skills needed to carry out decentralisation.
Capacity-building measures for strategy development are centred around an interministerial steering committee. The members of the committee are empowered to set out the general principles of decentralisation and define minimum criteria that need to be met in order to implement reform in the various areas.
Furthermore, the project focuses on increasing the districts’ accountability to citizens and on boosting citizen participation in local planning processes. In so doing, it uses analogue and digital applications that complement each other. Particular value is placed on citizens’ participation in local planning processes, which are used to implement performance development measures at regional level. These encompass training measures on various subjects such as accountability mechanisms, the role and tasks of local councils and constructive relationships between citizens and government.