Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Dullah Omar Institute fact sheets on decentralisation

25 August 2021

The form and extent of decentralisation varies greatly from one country to another. Depending on the country, there are also varying degrees of upward and downward accountability, and different ranges of central government control. Decentralisation can, therefore, look quite different, depending on the particular country - and, not only in Africa, but across the world. What does remain clear, however, is that local government - as the sphere of government closest to the people - is best placed to address the needs of the people.

Toolkits explaining concepts and mechanisms

On 16 August 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute of the University of Western Cape launched a set of fact sheets on Decentralisation in Africa. Currently, various governments are passing and implementing a number of decentralisation reforms. This has generated a great demand for simple, accessible materials and toolkits for policymakers, practitioners, students and community members to better understand the various concepts and mechanisms associated with decentralisation.


In response to this need for accessible material, the Dullah Omar Institute has developed a short guide on the decentralisation context; this can be read and combined with more detailed toolkits. Given the importance of municipalities to local government, these fact sheets provide a focus on the sector through identifying, explaining and distinguishing key concepts, and in a way that is relevant to the African context.

Valuable policy resource 

At the launch of these exciting new documents, Professor Jaap De Visser, Professor Nico Steytler and Dr Tinashe Chigwata gave a short overview of the guidelines. CLGF’s Acting Secretary-General, Ms Lucy Slack, congratulated the Dullar Omar Institute on the successful completion of the factsheets and said: “The short guide is a useful addition and will be a valuable resource to policy makers, researchers and students”. She also noted that it may be of assistance to read the fact sheets alongside other texts, such as the CLGF Handbook country profiles and more detailed texts, as decentralisation is country specific.


The factsheets are available at the Dullah Omar Website. More detailed country specific material on decentralisation is also available on the CLGF website.


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