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Assessing the Institutional Environment of Local Governments in Africa

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Africa’s cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, over 3% per year on average. The continent’s urban population is expected to double over the next 20 to 30 years, with the majority of Africans living in cities. With the political, social and economic role of cities growing increasingly important, governance has emerged as a major issue. As a result of decentralisation laws, local governments are expected to play a crucial role in the urbanisation process. How effectively they are able to do so, however,depends largely on the transparency of the policy framework and on how much leeway they are given by national governments. Local governments must be empowered with the functions and resources necessary to innovate, promote local development, and be accountable to their citizens. Against this backdrop, the pan-African organisation of local authorities, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A), and the Cities Alliance have come together to produce – on a regular basis – an assessment of the enabling environment for well-functioning cities and local authorities in African countries. Three years after the publication of the first evaluation in 2012, the 2015 edition of Assessing the Institutional Environment of Local Governments in Africa provides an updated analysis. The report highlights the progress and constraints of decentralisation, outlines potential ways to improve its implementation and rates each country according to the city enabling environment provided by the national government.

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