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UCLG GOLDIII: AFRICA REPORT Analysis of basic service governance and the role of local authorities in improving service delivery. Dr. Michael Sutcliffe, City Insight (Pty) Ltd, L ead Researcher Ms. Sue Bannister, City Insight (Pty) Ltd, Researcher and Presenter.

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UCLG GOLDIII: AFRICA REPORTAnalysis of basic service governance and the role of local authorities in improving service delivery

Dr. Michael Sutcliffe, City Insight (Pty) Ltd, Lead Researcher

Ms. Sue Bannister, City Insight (Pty) Ltd, Researcher and Presenter


The study: Governance and provision of basic services: Water and Sanitation, Electricity, Public Transport and Roads, Solid Waste



  • Identifying the needs of Local government
  • Understanding how service delivery can be improved
  • How can Local Government meet challenges and improve access

Call for information

Reviews of

existing studies







First draft



the african context
The African context
  • Over the past ten years whilst Africa’s population has grown by 25% from around 817 million to just over 1 billion, its cities have grown by almost 40%.
  • In 2010 over 15% of Africans live in conurbations of over 1 million people.
  • We have come from less than 2 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 in Africa in 2000 to over 44 per 100 in 2010.
  • Connecting the continent is far outpacing the provision of other basic services.
african local government s role in the p rovision of basic services in general
African Local Government’s Role in the Provision of Basic Services in General
  • Electricity: Generation, Transmission and Distribution generally done nationally, although in South Africa municipalities successfully distribute electricity
  • Water and Sanitation: Generally Bulk Water controlled nationally, with local governments often involved in distribution
  • Public Transport and Roads: Generally shared between National and Local governments
  • Solid Waste: Generally Local governments
status of service provision and access to services in africa water and sanitation
Status of service provision and access to services in AfricaWATER AND SANITATION
  • Almost two-thirds of Africa has access to improved water and just over 40% have access to improved sanitation
  • Across Africa around 85% of all people living in urban areas have access to water and around 55% have access to improved sanitation.
  • There remains an unacceptable gap between access to improved water and sanitation across different regions, for the rural, poor and women.
  • Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any other place on the globe.
  • Individuals living in the United States use on average 100 to 175 gallons of water per day in the home, whilst the average African family uses only 5 gallons of water per day
  • The rising global temperatures accompanying climate change have intensified the hydrological cycle that leads to dryer dry seasons
  • Together with economic scarcity people lack of the necessary monetary means to utilize adequate sources of water.
role of local government in delivering water

Local reticulation

Macro Infrastructure

Bulk distribution

Operate, bill



National water utility


Regional water Utlity

Private operator:

largely management contracts


Local Govt

Local Govt

Local Govt

water sanitation and local government
Water, sanitation and local government
  • Hundreds of utilities have been established by governments to collect and distribute bulk water. They range in size from serving 11 million people to ones serving only 50000 people
  • These utilities vary enormously in terms of capacity and infrastructure.
  • On average, the non-revenue water loss is well over 30% and results from water theft, evaporation, inefficiencies, leaks and the like.
  • Generally around 30% of utility business managed by private sector, usually through the use of service contracts.
  • Contractors here who deliver water are at times private operators, they manage standpipes, own water trucks and tankers, own boreholes and small reticulations and handcarts.
  • Contractors dealing with sanitation are involved also in many tasks such as honey suckers, sludge treatment works, owning and managing toilets and showers and the like.
status of service provision and access to services in africa electricity
Status of service provision and access to services in AfricaELECTRICITY
  • Generation and distribution of electricity in Africa remains one of the most serious constraints on almost every facet of the continent’s development
  • Generation, transmission and distribution primarily by national governments
  • Uneven distribution patterns – across Africa one finds South Africa (40%) and Egypt (21%) dominate with 52 countries only producing 39% of the electricity in Africa.
  • Within countries huge urban-rural imbalances
  • Poor distribution levels and ageing infrastructure
  • Massive reliance on solid fuels which means health problems, deforestation and increasing effects on climate change
  • Privatisation model has not worked
role of local government in delivering power








Purchase from another international gov/ utility – regional cooperative agreements

Single national utility


National utility

Regional Utility

Regional Utility


  • Local Gov
  • South Africa, Morocco and a few others


electricity and local government
Electricity and Local Government
  • Larger Local governments are best placed to ensure effective distribution of electricity. In the case of South Africa, most municipalities are involved in the distribution of electricity serving over 4.5 million customers and revenues of over USD10 billion. The well established municipalities can generate revenue from electricity distribution to assist in funding other operations.
  • Inputs should be made to interregional bodies such as West Africa (SAPP, encourage the development of lobby groups of municipal governments to make inputs to those regional bodies. For example, in the delivery of electricity, inputs should be made by relevant local government associations to structures such as West Africa (Benin, Burkina, Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo), Southern Africa Power Pool and North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco and Europe) This will strengthen the role of local government and also ensure that a more developmental agenda, focussed on ensuring access to electricity, is set and followed by these agencies.
  • Ways should be found to reduce the use of solid fuels, thereby improving the health of people, slowing down deforestation and reducing the carbon emissions to the atmosphere.
  • Whilst full privatization in the delivery of basic services is unlikely to add any benefits, local governments could work with IPPs to enhance generation, transmission and distribution of electricity within municipal areas or even parts of municipalities.
status of service provision and access to services in africa public transport
Status of service provision and access to services in AfricaPUBLICTRANSPORT
  • 80% of public transport provided by the private sector – mostly without any support from government. Public Transport is least affordable to those who need it most.
  • Minibus dominates – with significant disadvantages (safety, emissions, congestion and costs)
  • Weak legal system to regulate transport operators
  • Road safety problems and weak enforcement system
  • Congestion issues
  • Overlapping responsibilities
  • Problems in road infrastructure shorten the life of motor vehicles and buses – significantly increasing costs. Added to the problem of many imported second hand vehicles.
  • Few examples of mass transport – BRT projects are beginning to emerge. Studies have shown that with formally organised transport 4.5 fewer vehicles are needed.
  • Low density sprawl on the outskirts of cities is not conducive to efficient public transport.

Public Transport

Quality of infrastructure

Amount of infrastructure

  • Most common modes (and averages from a study of 14 cities)
  • Buses (7)
  • Midi/minibuses (30)
  • Four seater vehicles – shared (8) or individual (12)
  • Motorcycles (12)
  • Bicycles --?
  • Walking (37)
role of local government in delivering public transport


Contract operator






National dept develops policy

National Police

National gov funding

National utility runs PT service in major cities and between smaller cities


Private sector


Local traffic police

Local Operator runs service

Local Govt

Local Govt funds entirely or jointly

transport and local government
Transport and local government
  • Initially many parastatals -> bankruptcy -> withdraw from PT and growth of private sector operators.
  • Very few LG’s are involved in the provision of PT. (Approx. only 11 countries have city involvement in the direct provision of public transport). Metropolitan transport authorities have had success
  • Commonly LG can develop local legislation to control how pt operates within a city.
  • Source of income for LG in traffic fines, parking fees, licensing
  • LG can create the conditions for smooth and efficient public transport
  • Need for integrated planning for different modes and need for related infrastructure
status of service provision and access to services in africa transport infrastructure
Status of service provision and access to services in AfricaTransport Infrastructure
  • Road fatality is third highest cause of death in Africa – majority are pedestrians
  • Dominated by planning for vehicles – not pedestrians nor bicycles
  • BRT systems are rare
  • Road network poor, % of paved roads is inadequate (average 33%), road width is inadequate – especially to cope with informal traders and pedestrians. Sidewalks often missing.
  • Road system a product of colonial planning
  • Transport infrastructure cant keep up with rapid growth in cities
role of local government in delivering roads

Macro planning







National Road fund

National dept of Transport

Roads agency or private sector

National dept of Transport or Roads agency

National dept of Transport or Roads agency

Roads Agency (usually only national roads)


Regional or provincial roads agency

Local Govt procures or acts as developer


Local Govt

Local Govt Plan

Local Govt funds entirely or jointly

Private sector or local goverment

roads and local government
Roads and local government
  • Very little integration between land use planning, service delivery, housing delivery and transport planning.
  • Institutional complexity, with overlaps and gaps – roads can be built without planning as to who will maintain them.
  • Devolution has not been accompanied by necessary funding nor skills capacity
  • Transport planning and urban roads planning are usually done by different agencies
status of service provision and access to services in africa waste collection management
Status of service provision and access to services in AfricaWASTE COLLECTION & MANAGEMENT

Various ways of collection :

  • LG service:
    • Door to door collections – rare and tend to be focused on upper income and formal housing
    • Central containers
  • Private sector - large operators or sme’s – either privately contracted or subcontracted by LG or national gov
    • Door to door
    • Block collections
  • DIY
    • Burning, burying or throw into street or ditches


  • Complex institutional arrangements
  • Very low collection rates – 25% in Kenya
  • Erratic collection
  • Potentially huge sanitation and health risk
  • Reclaimers common – but problems occur where they ‘control’ dump sites and sorters are allowed to wonder amongst toxic or medical waste. In places of extreme poverty reclaimers do not work, due to the low value of the waste
  • Illegal dumping common – to avoid dump site costs
  • Health problems and water contamination problems where LG does not service adequately.
  • Medical waste problems common
  • No compaction, no sorting
  • Industrial waste either treated by company or dumped illegally
  • Insufficient or ageing fleet to convey waste – also access difficulties in some informal settlements or where roads are not in good condition
  • City growth has not been met by growth in solid waste management
  • Recycling initiatives rare, but they have been instituted in some cities 
  • Landfill
    • Tend to not be well managed, no gas control – there are some exceptions to this
    • Often old quarry sites used or simply dumped on outskirts of town
    • Shortage of landfill sites
    • Fires and gas explosions common – causes problems for surrounding communities
    • Some projects have implemented or are looking at conversion projects, using the gas for energy.
role of local government in delivering solid waste management




Collections or

Contract service provider






cleansing solid waste and local government
Cleansing, solid waste and local government
  • Most local governments are charged with this function – at least for collection, if not for landfill management – except for small island states
  • National or regional often deal with overall management of solid waste issues and managing landfill sites – many of which are under Health dept.
  • Cleaning of public places done by many LG’s – especially where the city has a tourism element
  • Very little community awareness
  • Institutional structure within LG: either department, or Authority. Contract with privatization – often for as long as 10 yrs
  • Many councils get subsidy from national for cleaning service. Where this doesn’t happen, Local councils self subsidize or collect specific charges from residents and businesses. Here where revenue collections are poor and recourse for non payment inadequate, it can affect the sustainability of the system.
  • Opportunities for recycling, CDMs, etc.
trends in the modalities of delivering services
Trends in the modalities of delivering services
  • Help here please
    • Privatisation trend
    • Central government control trend – government ownership and management
    • Setting up national utilities and a few local utilities
climate change war and poverty achieving mdgs
Climate change, War and Poverty: Achieving MDGs
  • Study evaluates the ability of African cities or countries to achieve the MDGs.
  • Climate Change, War and Poverty are the two single most critical constraints to the achievement of the MDGs.
  • However, in many African cities there are many opportunities to achieve the MDGs more sustainably, although key shifts in local governance functions and powers need to be made
improving the delivery of services
Improving the delivery of services
  • Main reasons for poor or no delivery?
    • Implications of weak government is that the poor pay more for services as they have to buy it from the private sector
    • Private sector a mixed blessing – the trend towards reclaiming waste means that at least some waste gets collected. But in the case of PT it becomes uncontrolled and dangerous
    • War!
    • Recent changes – many LG’s are still developing capacity
    • Low willingness to pay for public services
    • Informal settlements – very difficult to service.
  • What can be done to improve it?
    • Need for clear concurrent and other competencies of Local Government
    • Facilitating Do It Yourself strategies, such as working with IPPs to address these shortfalls in the provision of basic services.
emerging conclusions 1
Emerging conclusions (1)
  • That local government’s role in the provision of basic services should be clarified, strengthened and provided with resources. Each country should have a clear sense of policy, legislation and regulations for each sector and it should be guided by the principle of the management of state resources at the lowest appropriate level.
  • That the inter-country coordination of initiatives to deliver basic services need to be strengthened.
  • That there appears not to be very much coordination within countries between different governmental authorities dealing with the provision of basic services. More effective monitoring and evaluation of the delivery of basic services at a governmental level is required.
emerging conclusions 2
Emerging conclusions (2)
  • That the focus on full privatization in the delivery of basic services is unlikely to add any benefits, but the successful involvement of the private sector (IPPs, Green Economy, ICT) in the delivery of basic services should be encouraged.
  • That rates of women’s participation and community empowerment in the delivery of basic services must be improved.
  • That there must be an intensive focus on the building of municipal management capacity within these basic services’ sectors and in government as a whole.