Decentralisation in Commonwealth Africa

Experiences from Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania

image of Decentralisation in Commonwealth Africa
The aim of a well-designed decentralisation programme is to deliver effective services to all citizens and to deepen democracy through active popular participation in local governance. Through detailed case studies of decentralisation policies in five sub-Saharan African countries – Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania – this book examines the challenges presented, lessons learned, and recommends ways to improve policy implementation.

It is clear from the analysis that there is no ‘one size fits all’ design of decentralisation policy. Policy-makers worldwide can use the lessons learnt and good practices presented here to better inform and advance their own decentralisation agenda.




By the end of the last century, most African countries, like other countries in the world, had revisited decentralisation policies and programmes as a part of their overall governance and macro-economic reforms. The objectives were to ensure macro-economic stability and to improve governance by making it more participative, self-governing, transparent, efficient, equitable and accountable, as well as to deliver effective and sustainable services to all citizens. Decentralisation is one of the reform initiatives adopted by many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This report analyses and assesses the decentralisation policies of five sub-Saharan African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania. The countries are Commonwealth countries in western, eastern, southern Africa. The reports are based on three main sources: national reports submitted by each country, rapid research undertaken by independent African consultants to validate and update these reports, and a review of the main findings of the rapid research by a stakeholder workshop organised in Gaborone, Botswana from 26–28 October 2010.


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