Sources of Order and Disorder in Africa: Local Governance in State-Centric
-The links between the design of political institutions the and the patterns of governance
that variations in structural characteristics generate.
-Governance arrangements used to manage public affairs.
-Africa viewed as “over-centralized”, subjected to predatory regimes, facing deficits in
policy and governance.
-Local governance ignored.
-What factors encourage the emergence of self-governing regimes even under states
based on Hobbesian notions of sovereignty and centralized government and administra-
Africa’s Governance “Deficit”
-Governance: the process by which human beings manage their collective or public
lives. The way they manage conflicts and provide public goods.
Governments (organization) are formal structures that engage in governance (process),
structured by written and unwritten rules.
1)define procedures to identify desired outcomes (set goals)
2)classify actions that are relevant to these outcomes as required, prohibited, or allowed
3)identify persons and procedures to observe and report on rule-governed actions (es-
4)identify persons and procedures to apply rewards and sanctions to individuals as ap-
propriate given their actions and the rules (establish courts)
5)define procedures to change outcomes desired, rules and procedures, as agreed to
by those living under the governance regime (establish learning mechanisms.)
-Configurations of the rules are called governance regimes.
-Regimes focused on resources, developed and managed by the poor. Pro-poor impact
whereas national government intervention tends to be orientated towards benefitting the
-National government intervention could cause conflict outsider/locals when it doesn’t
respect the local initiative.
-In Africa, central governments weigh heavily on local governance (sometimes interven-
tion in the local management.) Sources of Order and Disorder in Africa: Local Governance in State-Centric
When they don’t intervene, they provide them with support.
-Local governments are too large to correspond to Tocqueville’s idea of cooperation (or-
-Areas that have no historical ties. No reference to local conditions and needs.
-Therefore, they can’t provide public goods and deal with conflicts. (ex: ethnic conflicts)
-In Nigeria, corruption of the police and the courts.
-In Uganda, education policy undermined the education program originally implemented
by the local governments, which caused a decline in primary education.
-The center can’t provide public goods and services nor control the conflicts since it
doesn’t have enough information about the local states and chooses policies for the
-A main cause of the central state’s inefficiency: the government is seen as lacking legit-
imacy and not embodying moral behavior by its agents nor moral obligations by the pub-
lic to obey it. This is caused by the coercive and amoral nature of colonial rule and then
the lack of public legitimacy of post-independence elites.
-Power through patron-clientage and coercion.
-Reasons behind poor living conditions. (basic services not provided)
Diseconomies of scale, absence of regimes of varying size and functional specialization
to nest within one another to respond to diverse production functions, lack of opportuni-
ties for public entrepreneurship.
-National regimes are very poor in managing the principal-agent relationship.
-Local governments that are smaller than those currently established and with direct re-
lationship to local people, have the advantage over larger units of governments. They
can link decisions to outcomes. They can build historic links built on trust. No bureaucra-
cy. Free riders easier to identify and to tax. Tighter control by principal over their agent.
->diminish exclusions from the political scene.
-Division of majority group over localities.
Comparative case analysis: The emergence of local governance in Africa
-Many informal local governance regimes emerged in Africa and succeeded in providing
public goods and managing conflicts.
-Five situations taken as examples:
1)resource management in drought-prone areas of northeastern Nigeria
2)collective-good provision and production in rural Chad: the case of education
3)Uganda’s local governance structure: a tale of three levels Sources of Order and Disorder in Africa: Local Governance in State-Centric
4)primary education in Uganda: service delivery by multiple governance structures
5)regional conflict a