Youth For Growth

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs convened Global Food Security Symposium from March 21-22, 2018. The theme of this year symposium was Youth for GrowthThe symposium was officially started with the opening remark by Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council. The President reminded that the council has convened the symposium since 2010 with the purpose to bring leaders from across sectors of all society to solve problems and find solutions for a goal that is within reach to end food and nutrition security for all. Because food insecurity is one of the most pressing and important issues facing united states and the world,  the council is committed to convening studies and dialogues on the topic of global security, global agriculture development, food security, and nutrition.

In recent years the council has focused on exploring how agriculture will respond to the changing climate, the role of agriculture improving nutrition, the global trend of urbanization and what the implication of that trend is for farmers and urban consumers alike. This year, the council focused on the people who will be addressing this issues for a reminder of a still very long lifetime, young people.

The world is now home to the largest population of young people in history, with over 2.3 billion people—a third of humanity—between the ages of 15 and 34. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) across Africa and South Asia, a large share of the growing population is comprised of adolescents and young adults. In India, about 1 million people turn 18 every month. Similarly, Africa’s youth population is expected to double by 2050, with 1 billion people projected to be under 18 years old. Today, more than 60 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is below age 25.

When it comes to jobs and employment opportunities, many of the young people reside in rural areas where agriculture and food supply chain is the primary employer. Due to this and other reasons, it is essential agriculture continues to develop and progress. 

The full video of the symposium can be found at the link:  

2018 Annual report on Youth for Growth: Transforming Economies through Agriculture can be found here:   

Decentralization, Health System and Gender Issues in Zambia

The Decentralisation Policy: In 2003, the Government launched the National Decentralisation Policy, which aims at devolving specified functions and authority, with matching resources, to local authorities at a district level. Under this environment, the role of the center would be to provide policy, strategic guidelines, overall coordination, monitoring, and evaluation while implementation and supervision of the programmes would be through the local authorities. The Decentralisation Implementation Plan was approved by the Cabinet in late 2009, and the country is heading towards a full-scale devolution.

Functions:- The new decentralized structure of governance that will be established by the law, through which services will be delivered. The new structure will comprise four levels namely National, provincial, District and sub-district.

Decentralisation will riot necessarily imply that all authority will be transferred to local authorities. The Central Government (including line ministries) will retain a core of functions over essential national matters and ultimately have the authority to redesign the system of government and to discipline or suspend decentralized units that are not performing effectively. Specifically, the Central Government will retain the overall responsibility of:

  1. general and legislative Policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation and provision of advice to Councils on their operations;
  2. setting national performance standards;
  3. controlling arms, ammunition and explosives;
  4. national defense and security;
  5. regulating banks and financial institutions, promissory notes, currency, and exchange;
  6. citizenship, immigration emigration. refugees, deportation, extradition, and designing of passports and national identities;
  7. copyrights, patents, trademarks and all forms of intellectual property, incorporation and regulation of business organizations;
  8. control of state land and minerals;
  9. declaration of public holidays, working and shopping hours;
  10. preservation of national monuments, antiquities, archives and public records;
  11. foreign relations and trade, regulation of trade and commerce;
  12. national and local government elections;
  13. guidelines on national census and statistics;
  14. control of publications of national surveys and mapping;
  15. control and management epidemics, pandemics and disasters;
  16. airports, aerodromes, and airstrips;
  17. national development projects and programmes;
  18. correctional policy and maximum security prisons;
  19. trunk roads and highways;
  20. prosecutorial functions;
  21. high school and tertiary education; and
  22. Any other functions delegated by Parliament.

Functions at the Provincial level, functions to be performed include:

  1. coordinating and consolidating district plans into provincial development plans for submission to the center;
  2. monitoring the utilization of resources and implementation of development programmes in the province;
  3. coordinating and auditing of local institutions; (d) preparing provincial progress reports for the central
  4. The government on the implementation of development programmes and projects;
  5. ensuring implementation of Central Government policies and regulations;
  6. implementation of National development projects and programmes which cut across sectors;
  7. ensuring proper utilization and maintenance of Government buildings, equipment, plant and other infrastructure; and
  8. any other functions delegated from the center.

The Government shall decentralize with matching resources, some of its function & to the district, which shall perform these functions through democratically elected councils. The Councils will raise part of their own revenue and receive grants from central treasury and line ministries to perform the devolved functions such as’.

  1. coordination of decentralized structures, including Health and Education Boards;
  2. disaster management;
  3. community development;
  4. primary health care;
  5. primary and basic education;
  6. water and sanitation;
  7. rehabilitation, maintenance, and construction of feeder roads;
  8. infrastructure development and maintenance;
  9. planning and implementation of development projects and programmes;
  10. mobilization of local resources;
  11. preparation of progress reports for the province;
  12. management, conservation of natural and wildlife resources;
  13. environmental services;
  14. provision and maintenance of public amenities; land
  15. allocation and utilization;
  16. trade and business licensing;
  17. agriculture extension services;
  18. bye-laws;
  19. community Police Service;
  20. community Prisons Service;
  21. youth and juvenile delinquency; and
  22. any other functions as delegated from the center.

Zambia’s Health System

Zambia’s health policy, created in 1992 and becoming operational with the Health Services Act 1995, is intended to ‘provide people of Zambia with equity of access to cost-effective, quality healthcare as close to the family as possible…’(MOH 2005:1). The aim of the policy was to provide a service that was responsive to local needs by decentralization of decision making to districts and promote peoples’ power through encouraging local representation on health management boards. The Ministry of Health (MOH) was given responsibility for policy, financing, and regulation, and a new organization, the Central Board of Health (CBOH), was tasked with service implementation (ACCA, 2013).

However, following 10 years of implementation, the health policy had become outdated and the Health Services Act was repealed in 2006 leading to the abolition of CBOH structures and creation of a unified four-tier health system under the MOH. The four levels as indicated on National Health Strategic Plan 2011-2015 document include:

  • The MOH Head Office at the Centre, responsible for policy guidance and oversight, regulation and defining standards;
  • The Provincial Health Offices (PHOs), responsible for coordination, monitoring, technical supportive supervision, and quality assurance and performance management at provincial level;
  • The District Health Offices (DHOs) at a district level, as the focal point for services delivery, providing supervision, coordination, planning and management support to Health Posts, Health Centres, and 1st level hospitals; and
  • The health service delivery facilities, which are the backbone of the system, providing “treatment and care services” to the general population at the community level.

In addition, national units were established to oversee specific health programmes, including the National Malaria Control Center, Reproductive Health Unit, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Unit, and National Aids Council.

Health Care is provided by a multitude of providers, including the MOH, church organizations, the private sector (both nonprofit and for-profit) and alternative providers. The vast majority of health facilities (1489) are owned and operated by the public sector. These are supplemented by 122 mission health facilities and 271 private health facilities (ACCA, 2013).

The health services delivery system in Zambia is focused on providing health services as close to the family as possible using a Primary Health Care approach. Zambia operates a pyramid classification structure of health care provision (National Health Policy, 2012):

  • tertiary or specialist care is provided in Level 3 hospitals
  • provincial-level care is provided in Level 2 hospitals
  • district-level care is provided in Level 1 hospitals
  • community-level care is provided through community services, health posts, and health centers.

The structuring of the health system suggests that a managed hierarchical referral system is in operation, but owing to undeveloped communication systems and limited availability of ambulances, referral systems between the different levels of care are often poor.

The Zambian health policy stipulates that every Zambian with an income should contribute to the cost of his/her health. However exemptions exist based on age (children under 5 and adults over 65), diseases (TB, HIV/AIDS, Cholera and dysentery; safe motherhood and family planning services; immunization; and treatment of chronic hypertension and diabetes) and other factors. This is aimed at enhancing equitable and appropriate delivery of health services to all Zambians, but in practice is not implemented due to lack of resources (1).

There is inequitable access to basic health services in Zambia between provinces and between urban and rural areas. In urban areas, 99 percent of households are within 5 kilometers of a health facility compared to 50 percent in rural areas. In Zambia, household expenditures on health vary according to location. Poor households spend the highest proportion of their income on health, which can be up to 10% of total expenditure when in-kind costs are included (2).

Many of the key determinants of health are outside the direct scope of the health sector. There is often poor access to safe water and sanitation, malnutrition accounts nearly half (42%) of all deaths in under five children; lack of education, particularly among females; gender discrimination; Climate variability and change. Other key factors include poor road networks (particularly in rainy seasons), an insufficient number of vehicles for transportation, and limited access to electricity (ACCA, 2013).

Organization and management structures;

Since 2005, the health sector has been undergoing a major restructuring process. Through this process, the sector has established a comprehensive organization and management structures at national, provincial, district and community levels, intended to facilitate efficient and effective management of health services. However, the organization and management structures have very weak linkages with the community that existed before the repeal of the NHSA in 2006, over the past two decades decentralization in the health sector has an increasingly familiar theme, commonly linked to a wider public sector and governance reforms. The intent was to bring decision making, responsibility, and accountability, closer to where health care services are provided, in order to realize increased efficiency (National Health Policy, 2012).

Gender situation in Zambia

Zambian Government Policies and Laws on Gender

  • At the policy level, there have been some improvements towards gender equality. In 2012, the Ministry of Gender became an independent ministry and the National Gender Policy was formulated in 2014. This policy lists the strategy and actions to be implemented by government ministries and agencies in 15 different fields to achieve gender equality, although there are no formal commitments in terms of indicators and annual budgets. The Ministry of Gender is in the process of drafting a monitoring report for this policy and there is no clear picture concerning the progress of this policy (JICA, 2016).
  • In 2005, the Penal Code was revised making the punishments for (sexual) violence against women and children stricter, and the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act was enacted in 2011. However, the actual enforcement of these laws and policies has been slow and acceleration of their enforcement is sought.
  • At present, deliberations on the Gender Equity and Equality Rights Bill are in progress along with those to revise the Constitution. The intended revision of the Constitution includes (i) revision of the text in line with the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other human rights-related documents, and (ii) rectification of the dual structure of statutory law and customary law to realize gender equality. The bill in question aims at (i) incorporating the spirit of the human rights-related documents in national laws and policies, and (ii) establishing the Gender Equity and Equality Commission as an organization to supervise the implementation of gender equality

Population (UNDP, 2016)

  • The total population of Zambia is 16.2 million
  • Females account for 50.7% of the total population and males accounting for 49.3 percent.
  • 77.5 percent of households were headed by males while 22.5 percent were headed by females

Gender inequality index (UNDP GII, HDR 2016) 

  • The UNDP Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions namely reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity. Zambia has a GII value of 0.526 ranking 139 out of 188 countries in the 2016 index assessment. This high level of gender inequalities arises because only 12.7 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women. However, the number of women who have reached at least a secondary level education account for 52.3 percent of adult Zambian women compared to 48.9 percent of Zambian men, this is the area where Zambia showed significant improvement in the last five years.  For every 100,000 live births, 224 women die from pregnancy-related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 90.4 births per 1000 live births. Female participation in the labor market is 69.8 percent compared to 80.9 percent for men (1).


Statistics show that employment in Zambia is dominated by the informal sector with females being the majority. There has been an increase in the percentage of persons in formal employment from 11.0 percent in 2008 to 15.4 percent in 2012 (1).

  • The percentage of females in the formal sector increased from 6.0 percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2012 while that of males increased from 15.0 percent to 22.3 percent.
  • There are more females (52 percent) than males (48 percent) employed in the Agriculture, forestry & fisheries industry (2).

In the Republic of Zambia, there exists a deep-rooted concept of an unequal gender relationship in which men are considered to be superior to women. This biased view regarding gender equality originates from not only traditional cultural and social norms but also from the dual structure of statutory law and customary law. Rights, which are supposed to be protected under statutory law, are not necessarily observed and women endure unfair treatment in terms of child marriage, unequal distribution of property, etc. Meanwhile, there have been some positive developments at the policy level, including the establishment of an independent Ministry of Gender, the introduction of specific gender policies and revision of certain provisions of the Constitution, which epitomize gender inequality (currently being deliberated) (Jica, 2016).  

According to a report published in 2015, Zambia ranks as low as 11th of 15 countries surveyed among Southern African Development Community (SADC) members in the areas of women’s participation in politics. In terms of political empowerment as a global gender gap indicator, Zambia ranks 102nd of 145 countries.  

While the net enrollment rate for girls in primary education is similar to that for boys, the dropout ratio for girls increases as they advance to higher grades (especially 7th grade and thereafter), mainly due to pregnancy (JICA, 2016)  

As 78% of women are engaged in agriculture, women constitute an important labor force for agriculture. However, their role is often to assist men in family farming or production for home consumption due to (i) their little access to production equipment and land compared to men and (ii) their prominent role in household work and child-rearing. Outside the agricultural sector, many women are employed in the informal sector (JICA, 2016)

Marriage at a young age, teenage pregnancy, and violence against women are quite common and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is higher for women than for men. Because of women’s limited decision-making power, women are negatively affected regarding their sexuality and health.  The Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) for 2013-14 reported that 43% of women in the age bracket of 15 to 49 have experienced violence at the age of 15 or older (JICA, 2016)

Gender Index

In Zambia, marriage, child custody, property rights, and inheritance are governed by a dual legal system statutory and customary laws. The marriage act provides the minimum age of marriage at 16 for both men and women, with parental consent needed under the age of 21. These rules, however, apply to statutory and not customary marriages; under customary law, it is legal to marry a girl child who has attained puberty.

Regarding parental authority, there are no legal restrictions on women becoming heads of households and equally the new draft constitution grants women equality in marriage.

According to  ZDHS 2013-14,  

  • One in three currently married women who earn cash for their work makes independent decisions about how to spend their earnings.
  • Fifty-nine percent of currently married women whose husband receives cash earnings say that they decide jointly with their husband about the use of his earnings.
  • Seventy-four percent of women participate in decisions regarding their own health, as compared with 89 percent of men.
  • One in two (53%) women participate in four specified decisions pertaining to their own health, major household purchases, purchases for daily household needs, and visits to their family or relatives.
  • Empowerment is strongest among women who participate in all four specified decisions, who agree that wife beating is not justified for any reason, and who agree that a woman can refuse sexual intercourse with her husband for any reason.
  • Contraceptive use is positively associated with all three empowerment indices measured in the 2013-14 ZDHS.

Women Empowerment

  • According to the ZDHS 2013-14, 8.4 percent of women aged 15-49 years compared to 3.7 percent of men of the same age group had never attended any level of formal Education.
  • More males compared to females were literate, 82.7 percent and 67.5 percent, respectively.
  • 48.8 percent of the total number of women aged 15-49 years were currently employed compared to 72 percent of men in the same age category.
  • 34.7 percent of married women with Cash earnings decided how their earnings were used, 49 percent decided jointly with their husbands, 16 percent said that their husbands decided how their earnings were used.
  • The men (22.5 percent) were more likely than women (9.4 percent) to have sole ownership a house. 30.4 percent of women-owned assets jointly. 58.0 percent of men and 53.8 percent of women did not own a house (ZDHS, 2013-14).



ACCA. (2013, April). Key Health Challenges for Zambia. Retrieved from

The Republic of Zambia. (2012, August). National Health Policy

The Republic of Zambia. Ministry of Health. National Health Strategic Plan 2011-2015. Retrieved from

Zambia Health System. Retrieved from.

Zambia Demographic and Health Survey. 2013-14. Retrieved from

Zambia 2002. The National Decentralization Policy ‘’Towards Empowering People’’ Retrieved from

Zambia Central statistics office. Gender Status Report 2012-14. Retrieved from

JICA. JDS. 2016. Country Gender Profile: Zambia Final Report. Retrieved from


Community-Led Development and Its Rationale


Patriarchy and ‘’top-down’’ development approaches have resulted in little or no change to the poor in the bottom. Instead of focusing on what strengths, assets, and capacities the communities possess, the approach solely has been trying to address the gaps and vulnerabilities without working to utilize or build upon the strengths. As a result, the existing indigenous skills and knowledge that are appropriate to the context were often ignored and less valued. Since the design, planning, and implementation of these projects didn’t consider the needs and wishes of the communities it usually becomes impossible to ensure sustainability upon their phase-out. As a result, dependency, lack of ownership and little or no impact have been the common features of many short-term, ‘’top-down’’, quick-fix development programs.

The most important issue with international development is delivering required resources to the right place at the right time and ensuring those resources are being integrated in a sustainable manner. The greatest failure of international development to this day is the wasting of resources due to lack of proper understanding of the contextual factors and its realities. It is this lack of accountability and meaningful investment—“the tragedy of aid”—that William Easterly criticizes in his book The White Man’s Burden (Easterly, 2006). He argues that while a significant amount of resource was allocated for the projects in developing countries, there is “shockingly little” growth to show for it. This can occur when bureaucratic interventions by governments, non-governmental organizations, or transnational conglomerates impose “top-down” solutions that fail to take into account both the needs and wishes of the bottom. Conversely, if solutions to community issues are identified and rectified by community-developed remedies—ones that better understand the delicate intricacies of local issues—success and sustainability are much more likely.

According to the Voices of the Poor study (Narayan and others 2000), based on interviews with 60,000 poor people in 60 countries, poor people demand a development process driven by their communities. When the poor were asked to indicate what might make the greatest difference in their lives, they responded: (a) organizations of their own so they can negotiate with government, traders, and NGOs; (b) direct assistance through community-driven programs so they can shape their own destinies; and (c) local ownership of funds, so they can end corruption. They want NGOs and governments to be accountable to them (Gillespie, 2004).

Based on this evidence and lessons from its many years of working with developing countries, the World Bank initiated community-driven development (CDD) and currently supports approximately 400 projects in 94 countries valued at almost $30 billion (Wong, 2012). CDD programs operate on the principles of ‘’transparency, participation, demand-responsiveness, greater downward accountability, and enhanced local capacity’’. The World Bank recognizes that CDD approaches and actions are important elements of an effective poverty-reduction and sustainable development strategy (World Bank, 2017).

The CDD and community-led development (CLD) have enormous overlaps, commonalities and share similar principles however the former approach is mainly project focused whereas the community-led development focuses on improving systems by changing mindsets, building capacity, ensuring self-reliance to achieve sustainable development.

What is Community-led Development?

The Hunger Project and many other organizations came together and have initiated a movement of 32 like-minded organizations committed to the success of the SDGs-called ‘’the movement for community-led development.’’ Calling for enhanced power and capacity of communities to take charge of their own development.  The movement has its own conceptual framework with each member organizations having developed their methodologies based on its principles. But what’s community-led development?

Researchers and organizations have defined community-led development in various ways however they all agree in the principles and that the approach puts the communities on the driving seat as agents of their own development with some external support from CSOs or government. Inspiring Communities which is an organization that catalyzes locally-led change in New Zealand defined the movement for community-led development (CLD) as ‘’the process of working together to create and achieve locally owned visions and goals. It is a planning and development approach that’s based on a set of core principles that (at a minimum) set vision and priorities by the people who live in that geographic community, put local voices in the lead, build on local strengths (rather than focus on problems), collaborate across sectors, is intentional and adaptable, and works to achieve systemic change rather than short-term projects (Inspiring Communities, 2013).’’

Torjman & Makhoul (2012) defined ‘’CLD as a unique approach to tackling local problems and building on local strengths which are guided by several core principles.’’ Some of the guiding principles are it ensures the voice and views of citizens, seeks to empower community members, co-creates a governance process, sets aspirational goals or visions. Despite their differences, community-led development approaches are bound together by a set of guiding principles, assumes that all communities and their members have strengths, skills, and resources on which to build, frameworks for change and translation of aspirational goals into specific steps. Community-led development is not a straight pathway. It is a process of continual learning and checking of progress against objectives (Torjman & Makhoul, 2012).

Community-led development focuses on step by step process of empowering communities to take charge of their own development. Evidence shows that community building, capacity building, ownership building, creating impact and ensuring self-reliance to bring sustainable development can best be addressed through community-led development. The community-led development allows people to participate in and feel ownership for their own development, gives an opportunity to the communities to prioritize urgent needs specific to their own community and builds trusting relationships, positively impacting perceptions regarding the capability of actors and the impact of their efforts (Mercy Corps, 2010).

John Coonrod (2015) says ‘’Community-led development is more than participatory projects. It requires a long-term process that empowers citizens and local authorities to transform entrenched patriarchal mindsets and take effective action.’’ The movement is inspired by SDG #16 calls for building participatory, effective, accountable institutions “at all levels” – which must start at the level closest to the people.

CLD is a social innovation as it intends to address the development related social issues of the society in a new bottom-up approach which is a gender-focused and transformative process. Community-led development has strong relevance to good governance, peace and security, and humanitarian response, as well as to urban and rural social and economic development. As a result, it’s crucial to allocate funding and other resources for long-term development programs that are integrated and focus on empowering the local communities through community-led initiatives. The external forces such as CSOs and central government should acknowledge the capacities and strengths of the indigenous people. Thus, they should focus on supporting the processes by listening to the needs and wishes of the communities until and after the communities ensure their local self-governance, resilience, and self-reliance.



Coonrod, J. Development (2015) 58: 333.

Narayan-Parker, D., & Patel, R. (2000). Voices of the poor: can anyone hear us? (Vol. 1). World Bank Publications.

Mercy Corps. (2010, June). The Benefits of Community-Led Development Programming in Insecure Environments: Findings from Iraq and Afghanistan. LEAPP

Gillespie, S. (2004). Scaling up community-driven development: A synthesis of experience. International Food Policy Research Institute, Food Consumption and Nutrition Division, FCND Discussion Papers, (181).

Inspiring Communities. (2013). Learning by Doing: community-led change in Aotearoa NZ. Publisher: Inspiring Communities Trust, New Zealand.

Torjman, S., & Makhoul, A. (2012). Community-led development. Caledon Institute of Social Policy.

The World Bank. (2017, Sept 22). Community-Driven Development. Retrieved from

Wong, S. (2012). What have been the impacts of World Bank Community-Driven Development Programs? CDD impact evaluation review and operational and research implications. World Bank, Washington, DC.



Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP)

Image result for Citizens' Charter logos

Photo: World Bank

Developing countries struggle to improve quality of their service delivery. Citizens also find it difficult to hold the government and other service providers accountable because they lack the know-how on the procedures and expectations that govern service providers’ performances. In addition to the disconnect it creates between citizens and service providers, its lack of responsibility hinders governmental effectiveness and creates a room for corrupt practices. Therefore, as part of good governance, it’s imperative to put a system in place to provide citizens with the information they need to challenge and hold those who are involved in service delivery accountable for delivering the intended results (1).

Citizen Charters (CCs) are public agreements between citizens and service providers that clearly systemize expectations and standards in the realm of service providers. Introduced by the UK in the early 1990s, CCs are now being used in a wide range of countries including the United States, Kenya, India, Jamaica, and Mexico are notable among these programmes – to improve the quality of service delivery and enhance public sector management (2).

The Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CAPP) is a National Priority Programme (NPP) of the National Unity Government (NUG) designed and launched on 25 September at a ceremony attended by over 400 representatives from donor communities, international organizations, and local Community Development Councils (CDCs) (World Bank, 2016). The Citizens Charter is the first ever inter-ministerial, multi-sectoral NPP, where ministries have collaborated on a single program, with presidential oversight. The key service delivery ministries involved are Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL), with oversight by Ministry of Finance (MoF). MRRD has a key role and will be responsible for the infrastructural development and strengthening CDCs and Cluster CDCs (World Bank, 2018). Thus, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance are the main implementing agencies for the rural and urban areas (1).

The CCAP was built on the successful community development initiatives undertaken under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) in the past 13 years. The Charter is a commitment of partnership between the state and the communities, which is to provide all citizens in Afghanistan with basic services, based on community prioritization. The project will support the first phase of the Government of Afghanistan’s 10-year Citizens’ charter National Priority Program and will target one-third of the country in all 34 provinces. The project aims to reduce poverty and enhance living standards by improving the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened Community Development Councils (CDCs). These services are part of a minimum service standards package that the government is committed to delivering to the citizens of Afghanistan (World Bank, 2018).

Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project will seek to address key limitations of line agency efforts and National Solidarity Programme (NSP) to date and respond to financial constraints to national development investments. First, it will bring the rural and urban community level work together under one umbrella. Second, consolidating service delivery under the citizens’ Charter brings many advantages to Afghanistan’s development planning. There will be increased emphasis on linking CDCs with local government institutions and ministries following a systems-based rather than project-based approach.

The CCAP which will run over four years is planned to have a total budget of $628 million. The Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) administrator, signed a Financing Agreement of $400 million provided by donors through ARTF. The government co-financed $128 million from its own resources. The remaining $100 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), is approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors (2)

The project comprises four components (Afghanistan, 2016);

  1. Service standard grants will support two types of grants to CDCs: (i) rural areas service standard grants, and (ii) urban areas block grants.
  2. Institution building CCAP aims to build strong Afghan institutions from national to local levels, capable of planning and managing their own development. This component will support capacity building; technical assistance, and community facilitation services.
  3. Monitoring and knowledge learning includes learning activities from village to national levels, exchange visits across communities, especially for women, and support for thematic studies and evaluations.
  4. Project implementation and management; will support the management and oversight of CCAP at the national, provincial and district levels in rural areas and the municipal management units in the four regional hub cities.

In recent years, World Bank support for Community Driven Development (CDD) has increasingly focused on creating national platforms to enhance service delivery and address poverty. The program aims to reach 8.5 million in its first phase, providing people access to basic services for water, roads, irrigation, electricity, and monitoring of education and health services. The project works through a participatory community-driven development approach aimed at increasing citizen satisfaction and trust in government. The inauguration of the CCAP marks the end of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), through which mobilized almost $2.05 billion and worked through more than 35,000 community elected Community Development Councils (CDCs) in all 34 provinces of the country to finance over 88,000 community-level infrastructure programs in the areas of water supply and sanitation, rural roads, irrigation, power, health, and education. The CDCs played a major role in implementing rural projects and solving conflict and problems in their communities (3).

According to the World Bank, under the CCAP, the CDCs will be entrusted with even greater responsibilities. Through the project, they will work to reduce poverty and bring prosperity to their communities. Each CDC will implement development projects of the ministries of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Agriculture and Livestock, Health, and Education.

Parallel to the work that rural CDCs will carry out, urban community development councils, created under the municipality framework by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), will also implement environmental and greening projects, roads and drainage improvements, women’s livelihood projects, and potable water and electricity provision in their communities. Both urban and rural development councils are responsible for monitoring project implementation, maintenance, and accountability, as well as building relations with the government. In addition to overseeing implementation of infrastructure projects, CDCs will monitor and report upon service delivery from other line ministries at the community level (4).

The CCAP will require 50 percent of the CDC to be women. The councils themselves will be responsible to ensure equal share and participation of women in their structures and activities.  Due to the CDCs rich experiences in program implementation and local governance for the last ten years, there is a reasonable expectation that the CDCs will implement the projects more efficiently.

Most of the country’s population live in rural villages and are facing various challenges such as lack of health services, poor quality education, minimal access to power, poor water facilities, lack of economic opportunities and others. Insecurity is the biggest challenge that threatens the smooth implementation of the program throughout the country. However, if the security situation improves, the implementation of the program can be possible in turbulent areas. All the parties involved are hoping peace and security to be restored so that the programs are implemented in a peaceful atmosphere.


The World Bank. (2018, January 16). Flagship Afghan Rural Program Lays Strong Foundation. Retrieved from

The World Bank. (2016, October 10). Afghanistan Government Inaugurates Citizens’ Charter to Target Reform and Accountability. Retrieved from

The World Bank. Citizen Charters: Enhancing Service Delivery through Accountability. Retrieved from

The Republic of Afghanistan. (2016, December). Citizens’ Charter National Priority Programme

Fiscal Decentralization in Ethiopia


Legal and Constitutional Framework

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Devolution of power, responsibilities, and resources from central to local governments has been the foundation of decentralization reforms in developing countries like Ethiopia. The 1995 Federal Constitution is the basic document that lays out the legal and institutional framework for decentralization in Ethiopia. The decentralization reforms focus on strengthening local governments as institutions of democratic governance and efficient service delivery. It also outlined the respective spheres of authority and responsibilities of the Federal Government and the Regional States 1. Since then, Ethiopia has been enjoying the federal and decentralized system of the ethnic-based federal governance structure. The country follows a federal system where the government power is divided between central government and nine regional states of governments as well as two special administrative cities. The regions are divided into zones, woredas/urban administrations, and kebeles (village areas, with an average population of 5,000) creating a four-tier level of government. The city administrations of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa have different structures but are considered equivalent to regions 2.

The Federal and Regional constitutions, as well as the subsequent proclamations, delineate different expenditure and revenue assignments to the federal and sub-national level of governments. Thus, the principles of fiscal decentralization, which is emanated from federal and regional constitutions, devolve fiscal decision-making power to lower tiers of governments, minimize vertical fiscal imbalances and provide complementary resources for effective and efficient delivery of public services. The government also attempted to introduce decentralization to reflect expenditure and revenue assignments and overseeing mechanism at the district level. Thus, in Ethiopia, two waves of fiscal decentralization have been in place, one from the federal government to regional states and the other reform regional states to Woredas with the view of revitalizing the Regional constitutional mandate for Woredas 3.

The prime legal basis for fiscal decentralization is the 1995 constitution, Article 97 & 52 which provides autonomy for revenue and expenditure responsibilities to Regional states respectively. Article 62 indicates the prevalence of budget subsidy and hence the approval of budget subsidy formula by the House of Federations. Article 94 states the need for providing loan and assistance to support regions and areas. The proclamation No. 33/1992 enacted through Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) is the other legal document that describes the expenditure responsibilities of the subnational governments (SNGs) 4.

The fiscal decentralization strategy in Fiscal Year elucidates the landscape for the general and specific grant to different tiers of government. It incorporates the principles governing fiscal decentralization, i.e., to devolve fiscal decision making power to lower tiers of governments, minimize fiscal gaps and provide the complementary resource for effective and efficient delivery of services. In addition to this line, the specific objectives of fiscal decentralization in Ethiopia are also mentioned as follows 5.

  • To devolve fiscal decision-making power to lower tiers of government.
  • To enable regional and Woreda governments/administrations provide standard services in accordance with their functional assignments
  • To narrow the horizontal fiscal gap and ensure horizontal equalization
  • To promote efficiency in the allocation of financial resources.
  • To maintain consistency between macroeconomic stability and fiscal decentralization.

Fiscal Decentralization

The Ethiopian government fiscal year starts on 8th July and ends on 7th July. Both Ethiopian calendar and fiscal years fall in two Gregorian calendar years. The parliament approved $13.9 billion budget for the financial year 2017/18, the amount represents an increase of nearly 17 percent on the previous year keeping up with the trend of ever expansionary fiscal policy. Of the total, $4.9 billions are allocated for capital expenditures while $3.55 billions are stated for regular expenses including administrative, economic and social services 1.

The allocation of budget for the nation’s development reckons national development priorities and the corresponding implementation capacity of various sectors and projects on the basis of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). This includes institutions and projects that are integral to the national economy such as ministries, agencies, commissions, and departments as well as major mega projects that hinge on promoting the country’s industrialization.

Based on the propositions by the House of Federation (HOF), 36.6% of the allocated budget was redirected as subsidy grants to the nine decentralized regional states and two city administrations. The HOF considers the revenue potential and expenditure needs of the regional states, thus Oromia is entitled to $1.44 billion out of $4.2 billion subsidy fund followed by the Amhara and southern (SNNPR) regional states each securing a check for $906.3 million and $843.5 million respectively. Somali Regional state is the next biggest earner $418.6 million followed by the Tigray regional state $252.9 million, Afar region $126.6 million, Benishangul $76.5 million, Addis Ababa $59.4 million, Gambella $55.9 million, Dire Dawa $37 million and Harari $31.9 million1.

Apart from the subsidy grant, the government allocated a total of $254 million to support regional states in their effort to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Oromia received $87.4 million from the support for SDGs fund while Amhara got $54.8 billion, south $51.2, Somali $25.3 million and so on. The combined budget dedicated to regions under the subsidy and support for SDG categories is about 38.7 percent of the overall budget while the others (recurrent and capital) accounting for 25.5 and 36.5 percent each.  

Priority projects

In keeping with the overall aims of the second Growth and Transformation Programme (GTP II), budget spending is targeted at a number of areas, including industrial development (notably textiles, chemicals, and agro‑processing), which would increase the value of exports; and education, so as to adapt the population for an increasingly industrialised economy.

In terms of its sectoral distribution, about 61.8% of the budget is assigned mainly to finance infrastructure developments such as road, education, agriculture, water, health and rural electrification projects. Large sections of the budget will be spent on manufacturing, export and urban development, with the specific intention of transforming the economy sustainably.  The education sector gets the significant amount on the top of the budget, $1.6 billion. Agriculture and defense are the institutions receiving another biggest budget in the fiscal year, $435 million each.

On the revenue side, the government aims to collect nearly $8 billion domestic revenue from taxes and non-tax sources in the fiscal year. The government also expects to secure $1.65 billion from foreign assistance, loan and/or credit. Despite the uncertainties associated with the ongoing political instability and El Nino effect, the government expects to maintain the two-digit GDP growth in the fiscal year.


World Bank. (2010, August) Ethiopia Public Finance Review. Retrieved from

Assefa, D. (2015) Fiscal Decentralization in Ethiopia: Achievements and Challenges. Retrieved from

Ethiopia. (2017) Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Fiscal Year Budget Retrieved from

Asrat, S. (2017, June 17) Budget Breakdown. Retrieved from