Decentralization as an Institutional System, Prospects and Retrospect: Case of Four Weredas of Tigrai

Sintayoh Fissha, Meheret Berhanu


Following the demise of the Derg regime in 1991, the most important reform agenda of Ethiopia was to restructure the country and its civil administration along ethnic lines, and to establish ethnicity as the defining principle of political, social and economic discourse. Consequently the country’s political map was redrawn along ethnic lines, which gave way to “Regional states”. The regional states secured administrative and legislative power within a federal framework. . Success stories of decentralization encouraged policy makers to launch fiscal decentralization which extended the regions’ planning and resource allocation powers to each district (wereda)level. This apparently enabled them to improve service expansion and development.

Despite this general perception this study seeks to critically review the impacts of decentralization (both fiscal and administrative) on districts considering four weredas of Tigrai regional state (northern part of Ethiopia). To conduct this study both primary and secondary data sources was and analyzed using simple descriptive, and statistical method of analysis. Results obtained based on the three variables (measures effect of decentralization on community participation good governance, and minimizing revenue expenditure gap) reveals positive progress. Indeed, there are promising changes related to administrative matters and of community participation in designing and implementation of development plans. These changes also are enhanced individuals’ participation in productivity, which expedited poverty reduction as well, as indicated by the growing improvements in local livelihoods. However, the gains of decentralization on governance and minimizing revenue expenditure gap are far from satisfactory. As long as the real participation of locals and problems of local capacity remains at stake but is still suffered more from resource limitations. This study recommends some adjustments with the decentralization approach, and appropriate implementation modalities so as to solve the procedural and skill related problems, and to minimize misuse of resource in a way that assists to be more effectively.

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