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Decentralisation: good governance and local action


District security officer, appointed by the government in Kampala, Uganda.

Decentralisation involves devolving powers and transferring financial resources away from the national level to districts and municipalities so that state functions can be performed better. Efficient, decentralised governmental and administrative structures are key elements of good governance. Strengthening local self-government is thus a key part of political reform processes in many partner countries of German development cooperation. With regard to many issues, city councils have a closer relationship with many of their citizens and their needs than a country’s central government does, and are therefore able to involve them more directly and comprehensively into planning and decision-making processes.

Decentralisation supports democratic development, local economic growth and green action in cities, and reduces the potential for social conflict.

In the context of development cooperation, helping newly established administrative units and parliaments at local level to fulfil their duties is one of the areas where Germany provides support. Training is given to staff in city council administrations as well as to elected representatives. Supervisory and monitoring mechanisms are introduced to prevent and combat mismanagement and corruption.

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