Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Southern Africa \ Local government service delivery

Equitable and efficient service delivery is at the heart of local government’s mandate. The resources in this section focus on the management and delivery of key strategic, corporate and technical services, ranging from those for which local government has direct responsibility, to shared service provision, and services for which local government is a partner.


  • Climate change management and adaption
  • Environmental management
  • Social services
  • Spatial/development planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Waste management and sanitation
  • Water and utilities
  • Partnerships for service delivery
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure


Institutional Collective Action During COVID-19: Lessons in Local Economic Development

At this point, little is known about local government responses to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. This crisis is happening on Main Streets around the nation. This article examines how some local governments are taking collective action in partnership with other governments as well as with organizations at the local and regional levels. What is unique is that collective action is rare as it relates to traditional economic development practices, yet it is occurring and leading to offerings of multi-institutional grants and low-interest loans. However, some newer supply- and demand-side actions are the result of a lack of resources and need for expediency. Practitioners can learn about the collaborative economic development actions that governments are taking and how these partnerships can stabilize their local economies.

Author: Darrin H. E. Wilson Brad A. M. Johnson Eric Stokan Michael Overton Publisher: Wiley Online Library Publication year: 2020

Land-based financing in sub-Saharan African cities

Decentralization reforms and rapid urbanization place increasing pressure on African urban authorities. In response, land-based finance has been gaining popularity within development discourses as a method of increasing local autonomy and financing local government infrastructure provision. This paper discusses the conceptual basis for land-based finance, the instruments that form part of this approach, and the actual application in several African cities. Drawing on three case studies (Addis Ababa, Harare and Nairobi) and a high-level scan of 29 developments in various African cities, we show how land-based finance is being implemented in practice and discuss the potential for wider uptake. We conclude that African city governments are using land-based financing, albeit in inconsistent ways. We argue that urban authorities should consider the more extensive and progressive use of land-based financing instruments, despite the constraints imposed by both technical and political conditions. A progressive agenda for local government finance in African cities should take land-based finance seriously, as well as the local practices and institutional arrangements through which it operates.

Author: Stephen Berrisford, Liza Rose Cirolia, Ian Palmer Publisher: Sage Publication year: 2018


This report – an outcome of an expert group meeting held on the challenge of local government financing in developing countries – documents both the challenges and solutions related to the ability of local governments to mobilize revenues from local resources. The report also identifies successful governance mechanisms for efficient and equitable provision of public services in metropolitan areas of developing countries, and shares experiences and methods to making public service provision more viable in peri-urban areas of large cities and in smaller urban centres of these countries.

Author: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Publisher: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Publication year: 2015

Municipal Finances A Handbook for Local Governments

This book reviews lessons learned about intergovernmental relations, metropolitan finance, financial management, revenues management, expenditures management, public assets management, external funding, and municipal finances performance measurement. It spans the arc from decentralization to transparency and accountability and travels the less-charted waters of assets management, creditworthiness, response to financial crisis, reporting mechanisms to various levels of government and civil representation. 

Author: The World Bank Publisher: The World Bank Publication year: 2014

Local Government Finance: The Challenges of the 21st Century, Second Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy

This report builds on the 2008 First Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy (GOLD I), which provides a broad based overview of local government systems around the world. GOLD II focuses on a specific aspect of decentralization—the fiscal architecture and performance of local governments. This topic was chosen for GOLD II because fiscal architecture is fundamental to ensuring that local governments can deliver public services and function successfully in meeting other essential responsibilities.

Author: United Cities and Local Governments Publisher: United Cities and Local Governments Publication year: 2010

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