Published by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa) with the support of Cities Alliance (CA), the study on the institutional environment offered to cities and local authorities aims to alert national governments of African countries to the urgent need to establish an enabling environment for the initiative and autonomy of action of cities and local authorities.
To assess countries following more a favorable environment that they offer to their cities and local authorities, 10 criteria were chosen covering five areas – local governance, local capacities, financial autonomy, local efficiency, and national institutional environment – which correspond to key elements of the institutional environment of cities, in a context of decentralization and democracy.
The results of the ranking for each criterion are also expressed as an overall rating leading to the ranking of countries in 4 colours:
1. Green (score above 30): countries with the most favourable environment for the action of local authorities and cities, according to the selected standards;
2. Yellow (score between 25 and 30): countries whose environment is rather favorable to the action of cities and local authorities, but for which some elements need to be improved;
3. Orange (score between 20 and 25): countries whose progress towards an enabling environment for cities and local authorities requires major reform efforts;
4. Red (score below 20): countries whose environment is generally unfavourable to the action of cities and local authorities.
For the first time, 50 African countries are evaluated on an overall score of 40, in terms of the flexibility they offer to their local communities. The assessment shows that the scores of three quarters of countries remain below average and still have much progress to make in terms of structural reforms.
The second edition (2015) provides an opportunity to monitor the quality of the institutional environment offered to cities and to highlight the major changes during 2012-2015. This edition shows that the conditions spurring local community action in Africa improved between 2012 and 2015 by around 6 percent. Twenty-three countries experienced a similar increase, mainly Southern Africa and in East Africa. The improvements are based on four criteria: financial transfers from the central government to local and regional governments, transparency in the management of local affairs, citizens’ participation, and frameworks put in place for capacity building on behalf of local communities.
Urban strategies are, paradoxically, among the criteria that make the least headway. Recognition of the role of cities in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has particular resonance in Africa, a continent with one of the highest rates of urban growth. With only a few months to go before the next Habitat III Conference, the international community is preparing to adopt a New Urban Agenda at a time when the African Union makes cities one of the drivers of the structural transformation of the continent.
About UCLG Africa: United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) is the umbrella organization of African local government. Its headquarters are in the City of Rabat. UCLG Africa brings together 40 national associations of local governments from all regions of Africa, as well as the 2000 cities that have more than 100,000 inhabitants. It is the African section of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). UCLG Africa represents nearly 350 million African citizens.About this Content