Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Unpacking the politics of development in Freetown  
Jamie Hitchen (University of Birmingham)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to better understand how 'competing' centres of power in Freetown shaping development trajectories, who is driving and funding them, and how they are shaped by, and shape, political dynamics.

Paper long abstract:

In 2004, Sierra Leone launched an ambitious decentralisation programme with the promise of taking government closer to communities, increasing participation and improving development outcomes. However, almost two decades since the return of popularly elected local councils, this ambition is yet to be realised, with political tensions underlining centre-city relations, especially when the latter is controlled by a party different from the council. Nowhere have these tensions manifested themselves more than in Freetown, given the city's political, economic and social importance and unrivalled role in the national political settlement. While the central government has sought to retain influence at the city-level by resisting functional devolution, stymying initiatives that would support independent revenue generation for the city and even creating new positions to counterbalance the authority of the elected Mayor, this paper argues that the contestation between the city and the centre is just part of a highly complicated political settlement that makes implementing a reform agenda very difficult. The council itself is not a monolithic entity, with various blocs having interests that need to be managed, whilst the city's business community and groups of residents also leverage political connections to advance their own development agendas. Understanding how these 'competing' agendas look at these issues, who is driving and funding them, and how they are shaped by, and shape, political dynamics will be a key contribution of this paper. Its findings can improve development actors understandings of the political terrain upon which they work.

Panel P11a
The political economy of urban reform in Africa: from analysis to action
  Session 1 Wednesday 6 July, 2022, -