Strategic Priorities and Operational Challenges for European Support for Democratic Decentralisation in the Context of the new ACP-EU Partnership Agreement

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    Since the end of the 1980s, African governments have launched a new generation of democratic decentralisation programmes aimed at establishing new frameworks for self-governance at a sub-national level.

    These ambitious political and administrative reforms are attracting substantial interest and support from an increasingly diverse range of European donors. The European Union, bilateral cooperation agencies, NGOs, and sub-national and local governments are all interested in the way in which development cooperation affects democratic decentralisation and local governance. In addition, because of their systemic nature, these reforms will fundamentally change the framework for development cooperation in other areas.

    Experts agree that democratic decentralisation and local self-governance provide new opportunities for pursuing poverty reduction and local development objectives. However, there is an acute awareness that the benefits will not automatically accrue to the poor and politically marginalised.

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