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


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 on the effects of decentralization this study seeks to critically review the impacts of decentralization (both fiscal and administrative) on districts considering four weredas of Tigray regional state (northern part of Ethiopia). Both primary and secondary data sources were collected 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 show signs of positive progress.  Indeed, there are promising changes related to administrative matters and of community participation in designing and implementation of development plans. Not only do these changes enhanced individuals’ participation in productivity but also 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 and where local districts still suffered more from resource limitations. This study recommends to solve the procedural and skill related problems to make decentralization work out more effectively.

Corporate Author: 
Worku Gebeyehu and Demirew Getachew (Editors); Ethiopia Economics Association
Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: 

Local government;

Secondary Descriptor: 

Decentralization in government;

Geographic Descriptors: 
Ethiopia - Tigray
Cataloge Date: 
Broad Subject heading: 
Decentralization in government
Serial Key Title: 
Proceedings of the first Regional Conference of the Tigray Regional State Economic Development
Publication catagory: 
Content type: 
Publication date: 
2013-03-01 00:00:00
Conference Place: 
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: 
Current frequency: 
Conference date: 
July 14, 2012