Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 34 Nos. 3

Decentralisations in Practice in Southern Africa

Published on 1 July 2003

Decentralisation, like good governance or sustainable development, is one of those concepts everyone from the World Bank to top officials in national governments seems to think is a “good thing”. But the meanings attached vary widely. And while donors and governments all want to support it – it is now part of the well-worn lexicon of development clichés – it has palpably failed in many instances to deliver the results claimed of it. Why then is it so popular and what does it entail in practice?

The Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa programme case studies illustrate that decentralisation is rarely a singular process but consists of multiple processes that occur in different spheres of activity, taking on a variety of forms which may push outcomes in different directions. For example, in any one area we may observe attempts at local government reform, creating a new tier of locally-elected councils, alongside an array of decentralised committee structures including catchment, borehole, grazing, woodlot, or wildlife management committees or councils, with varying forms of membership and authority.

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This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 34.3 (2003) Decentralisations in Practice in Southern Africa

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Team, S. (2003) Decentralisations in Practice in Southern Africa. IDS Bulletin 34(3): 79-96

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IDS Bulletin, volume 34, issue 3


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