Africa has about 16,000 local and regional governments (LRGs). These local and regional governments were created following the adoption and implementation of decentralization laws which respond to the specific characteristics of countries: to their ancient or contemporary history, to the acting of national actors and to the internal spatial and socio-economic disparities, among others. These communities are of different types: rural or urban municipality at the basic level, “département” or equivalent at the intermediate level, community located immediately below the central state level (federal state, region, county, province, etc.). All of these types of LRGs’ have in common that they enjoy legal personality as a public body distinct from that of the central state, and financial autonomy. They are generally administered by elected assemblies, are led by an elected or appointed executive, and have their own administration.
These LRGs are grouped into national associations which are the representative body for the voices of local and / or regional elected representatives. There are currently 48 of them across the continent. The role of these associations is to contribute to strengthening decentralization, to represent and defend the interests of member communities with public authorities and national and international partners, and to promote good governance. Local and regional authorities can also be grouped according to type and size (rural or urban; rural towns, intermediate/secondary cities, large cities, etc.) according to the geographical area of belonging, or according to the dominant function (port cities, cities tourism, etc.). In some countries, associations exist per level of community (municipalities and regions for example), per types of community (urban and rural for example) or even per geographic spheres (regional associations of local or regional governments).
Read more here in the May LEDNA Newsletter.